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Trutanich campaign fires back at criticism from ex-controller

September 25, 2012 |  4:09 pm

Carmen Trutanich
A campaign spokesman for City Atty. Carmen Trutanich fired back at former Controller Laura Chick after she urged voters in an open letter to think twice before re-electing him to a second term.

Chick, who supported Trutanich publicly in April 2009, said in a letter Tuesday that she had "made a terrible mistake." She called Trutanich a "liar and demagogue" and accused him of stonewalling auditors in the city controller's office.

Trutanich campaign spokesman John Schwada brushed aside the criticism, pointing to a 2008 lawsuit she was involved in.

In that case, former City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo sued her, saying that she overstepped her authority when she attempted to audit his office's handling of workers' compensation programs. She said Trutanich had promised to drop the lawsuit, which was later dismissed last year by the 2nd District Court of Appeal.

Trutanich said he would dismiss the case, but not in a way that left taxpayers footing the bill. (Chick had asked the City Council three years ago for $100,000 to cover her lawyers' bills and was rebuffed.)

"None of this reflects well on her," Schwada said. "As city controller she sued the city, she lost and then she wanted the city to pick up her attorney's fees. She wanted Trutanich specifically to dismiss the lawsuit. That wouldn't have had any bearing on the outcome of the case, but it would have allowed her attorney to claim he won the case and be entitled to legal fees of several hundred thousand dollars. She wasn't arguing for the principle of transparency, she was arguing for her own pocketbook."

Schwada said Trutanich was the first elected city official who opened his office to an audit by the city controller.

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-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: City Atty. Carmen Trutanich  Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

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