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Villaraigosa's former DWP general manager joins L.A. law firm

September 28, 2010 | 10:29 am

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s former head of the Department of Water and Power has taken a job at a Los Angeles-based law firm that has performed legal work for city agencies over the last decade.
H. David Nahai, who abruptly resigned as the DWP’s top executive last October, will join Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard and Smith as a member of the firm’s energy, environment and water practice, and its real estate practice.
In recent years, the firm has represented the city in lawsuits involving the Angels Flight railway in downtown Los Angeles, efforts to seize property in South Los Angeles using the power of eminent domain and a dispute with a tenant of the city’s airport in Van Nuys, according to city records. Nevertheless, Nahai said he would focus on building the firm’s business with private sector companies and among certain public sector agencies -- not the city of Los Angeles.
“The idea of working with the city does not figure into my thinking at the present time,” he said Tuesday.
Nahai left the DWP under fire from both the mayor’s office and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18, the DWP’s powerful employee union. As a lawyer with Lewis Brisbois, he will maintain his own consulting practice and continue as a senior adviser to the Clinton Climate Initiative, which focuses on efforts to address the issue of global warming.

During Nahai’s tenure at the DWP, first as a commissioner and then as general manager, the utility increased the amount of renewable power it uses, from 3% of its energy portfolio to 15%. The utility also embarked on a successful effort to persuade Angelenos to use less water.
-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall