Public works commissioner says she’s seeking 'professional help'
Los Angeles Board of Public Works President Andrea Alarcon said Thursday that she is getting "professional help and treatment," one day after The Times reported that she is the subject of a police child endangerment investigation.
Sources familiar with the investigation told The Times that police began looking into Alarcon after her 11-year-old daughter was found last Friday at City Hall about 11:45 p.m. Alarcon did not turn up until about 2 a.m., after her daughter had been taken to the LAPD's Central Division station, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa released the statement from Alarcon, 33, less than an hour before he was scheduled to serve Thanksgiving dinner on skid row.
"My daughter is my top priority and nothing could be more important to me than her well-being," Alarcon said in the statement. "In order for me to be the best parent possible, I have decided to seek professional help and treatment. I ask that the media respect my family's privacy during this difficult time."
The statement did not specify what type of treatment or professional help she is seeking. Villaraigosa appointed Alarcon, who is the daughter of City Councilman Richard Alarcon, to the $130,000-per-year post in 2009.
The statement was released one day after Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, confirmed an investigation regarding Alarcon had been referred to her office. Gibbons said prosecutors requested more evidence before determining whether to file any charges.
Last December, the California Highway Patrol arrested Alarcon, 33, on suspicion of driving under the influence. Authorities allege that she showed "signs of intoxication" while in her car with a child. She was later charged by prosecutors with drunk driving and committing cruelty to a child by endangering her health, according to the complaint.
Alarcon pleaded not guilty to those charges and is due back in court in connection with the case next month. Michael Scafiddi, Alarcon's attorney in that case, said he expects some of those charges to be dismissed "in the near future."
The incident at City Hall took place Friday, the same night the building hosted a dinner gala for Project Restore, a group dedicated to rehabilitating historic city-owned buildings. The group's 2012 Los Angeles Heritage Awards Gala honored Villaraigosa this year.
-- David Zahniser and Andrew Blankstein
Photo: Andrea Alarcon, president of the Los Angeles Board of Public Works, is under investigation after her 11-year-old daughter was found unattended at City Hall. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times