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D.A. sends Andrea Alarcon child investigation case to Trutanich

December 20, 2012 |  3:06 pm

City commissioner Andrea Alarcon

Prosecutors in Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey's office concluded Thursday that the child endangerment investigation focusing on city commissioner Andrea Alarcon does not rise to the level of felony charges, but that the case should be sent to the city attorney's office for possible misdemeanor prosecution.

Michael Gargiulo, head deputy of the district attorney's Family Violence Unit, said in a two-page report that Alarcon left her 11-year-old daughter unattended for three hours on Nov. 16, the night of a gala at City Hall. Because the girl was found by security officers within 45 minutes, she was not in circumstances that would have caused "great bodily harm" -- conditions that could have made Alarcon, who is president of the Board of Public Works, the subject of a felony prosecution, he wrote.

"This matter is more appropriately filed" as a misdemeanor child endangerment case, "which does not require that the circumstances be likely to produce great bodily injury or death," Gargiulo wrote. A spokeswoman for Lacey would not discuss the matter further.

Alarcon, an appointee of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, was a block from City Hall with two adults when she was approached by her daughter, the district attorney's report states. Alarcon, 33, instructed her daughter to go back to City Hall and wait for her -- and told her she was "walking two individuals to their car and would be back in 10 minutes," Gargiulo wrote.

The girl returned to City Hall. But Alarcon was not located until after 1 a.m. at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Little Tokyo, the report said. Alarcon "appeared intoxicated" when she arrived at the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Division to get her daughter, Gargiulo wrote. Law enforcement sources previously have told The Times that Alarcon did not show up until about 2 a.m.

Alarcon did not respond to a request for comment. How her case will be handled is now an open question.

The LAPD initially referred its investigation into Alarcon to City Atty. Carmen Trutanich on Nov. 19. At that time, Trutanich referred the matter to the district attorney's office on the grounds that Alarcon is a client of the city attorney and that her case could pose a potential conflict of interest.

"So we will review the district attorney's evaluation worksheet" on Alarcon, said William Carter, Trutanich's chief deputy. "And we'll more than likely refer it to the attorney general for consideration because of the same potential conflict of interest issue."

Alarcon, who earns $130,000 annually in her City Hall position, went on a leave of absence last month, saying she was seeking professional treatment. She is the daughter of Councilman Richard Alarcon, who is being prosecuted by Lacey's office on charges of perjury and voter fraud.

Andrea Alarcon is also facing a misdemeanor child endangerment charge in a San Bernardino County DUI case that occurred last year. Her daughter was in the car Dec. 30, 2011, when Alarcon was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving by the California Highway Patrol near Running Springs.

In that case, prosecutors recently offered Alarcon a deal that would require her to plead guilty to drunk driving and child endangerment -- which would result in probation, a fine, a mandatory DUI class and a 52-week program for child abusers, but no jail time. Prosecutors said Alarcon had a 0.19 blood-alcohol level on the day of her arrest. The legal limit is 0.08.

Alarcon's attorney, Michael Scafiddi, told The Times two weeks ago that he may challenge that evidence. He had no comment on the report issued Thursday by the district attorney's office in Los Angeles.

That report offered few additional details on the Alarcon investigation. Gargiulo wrote that Alarcon's daughter could be seen on City Hall security cameras after she walked back to City Hall the night of the Nov. 16 party, which was held by the group Project Restore in honor of Villaraigosa.

Forty minutes later, City Hall security officers asked the girl what she was doing there so late at night. "The child told officers she was the daughter of Ms. Alarcon and was looking for her," Gargiulo wrote.

Security officers contacted the LAPD, which in turn called the Department of Children and Family Services, according to the report.

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-- Andrew Blankstein and David Zahniser

Photo: City commissioner Andrea Alarcon shown in 2011. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

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