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Former Trutanich consultant fires back, claiming 'shakedown'

September 28, 2012 |  1:12 pm

Carmen Trutanich on February 21, 2012.

A campaign consultant who handled Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich’s losing campaign for district attorney called his former client an “extortionist” on Friday.

Campaign consultant John Shallman responded a day after Trutanich filed a lawsuit accusing Shallman of failing to provide an explanation for tens of thousands of dollars in campaign bills generated in connection with the failed D.A. bid.

“This frivolous lawsuit is nothing more than another back-alley shakedown by Carmen Trutanich,” Shallman said. “He is trying to walk away from $166,000 of legitimate, documented, and authorized campaign expenses by threatening to publicize false and vindictive attacks against me and my family.  He has all the supporting documents for these expenses,” he said.

“Trutanich's extortion attempt came last night, from a lawyer for his failed campaign for district attorney.  He offered to drop the lawsuit and keep his false allegations quiet if I completely forgive his debt. If I did not acquiesce to his illegal demand -- and thereby agree to an illegal campaign contribution -- he threatened to continue this thuggish attempt to drag my own, and my wife's, reputations through the mud. Well, the only way to deal with a thug is to stand up to him. And that's what I intend to do,” he said.

In Thursday’s lawsuit, Trutanich’s campaign committee for D.A. accused Shallman of engaging in “a pattern and practice of mismanaging campaign funds, submitting large unpaid invoices after the campaign is concluded and failing to provide adequate documentation to substantiate expenditures."

"Although defendants have claimed after the fact that they have incurred another $150,000 in out-of-pocket costs, they have failed to substantiate multiple expenses with accessible documents," the lawsuit states.

Shallman and the city attorney split professionally last summer after Trutanich came in third in the June primary contest for district attorney, despite outspending his opponents. Two months ago, Trutanich found himself with $112,000 in unpaid bills, all of it owed to Shallman.

Trutanich is now running for reelection and Shallman is handling the campaign of his opponent, Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles).


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-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Photo: Carmen Trutanich in February. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times