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Greg Smith raising money for 2013 city attorney’s race

November 10, 2011 |  4:12 pm

greg_smithA West Los Angeles lawyer with a track record of winning financial judgments for Los Angeles police officers and firefighters said Thursday that he is running for city attorney in 2013.

Greg Smith, 58, filed paperwork earlier this week to begin raising money for a citywide campaign, according to documents provided to the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission. State Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), who ran unsuccessfully for city attorney in 2001, filed similar documents in September.

Smith -– not to be confused with former City Councilman Greig Smith, who left office in June -– said he would use his experience as a litigator to help the city save millions of dollars. “I have very, very deep litigation skills and I understand the city attorney’s office, because I litigate against them on a daily basis,” Smith said. “I know the weaknesses and strengths of the deputy city attorneys and I can make a huge difference in stopping some of these large verdicts.”

“It’s better to have me on their side than against them,” he added.

In 2008, Smith represented two white Los Angeles fire captains who were transferred in the wake of the Tennie Pierce incident, in which a black firefighter ate spaghetti laced with dog food given to him by his colleagues. One purchased the dog food, while the other was the captain in charge at the time of the incident, Smith said. Both sued, claiming they faced reverse discrimination, and received a combined $1.6 million.

A year later, Smith represented Frank Lima, a Los Angeles firefighter who alleged that he faced retaliation for refusing to treat female firefighters differently during department training drills. Lima received a $4.8-million payout. Smith also represented Bobby Hill, an LAPD officer who received $3.8 million last year after he filed a lawsuit alleging he faced retaliation for complaining that a sergeant had been using racial epithets.

A lawyer since 1988, Smith also sued on behalf of three African American instructors at Antelope Valley College who claimed they were denied tenure because of racial bias. They received an undisclosed settlement, Smith said.

Smith is a likely candidate to win the support of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the rank-and-file officers’ union that played a major role in the 2009 city attorney’s race. That year, the group spent more than $745,000 in support of Carmen Trutanich in his successful bid for city attorney.

Trutanich is now raising money for a 2012 bid for district attorney, accumulating more than $500,000 even though he won’t confirm that he is running for that seat. Feuer, who has the same campaign consultant as Trutanich, has not officially declared that he is running for city attorney, despite raising money for the office.


L.A. to settle Tennie Pierce case

Black firefighter receives $1.5 million

L.A. Fire Department disciplinary system faulted

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Photo: Greg Smith. Credit: Greg Smith