Sat, Apr

The LA Model: Trickle Down Deceit


CALLING IT LIKE IT IS--Call it the Eric Garcetti Trickle-Down Theory of Dishonesty, where the city’s top executive has so consistently told half-truths to the public that mendacity has drip, drip, dripped down to his voluntary Commission appointments.

There was Garcetti’s $1,400 per plate DC fundraiser for his re-election coffers on the eve of the LAPD Commission ruling on the Ezell Ford killing, which he told Black Lives Matter protestors was a trip to raise money for housing.   He also claimed that veteran homelessness would be eradicated in LA by the end of 2015, at which time he admitted was still rampant because the problem was twice as bad as he originally thought.

In recent weeks, I exposed at Huffington Post his awkward, dishonest Tweets about Super Bowl LV coming “back to Los Angeles,” and here on CityWatch his untruthful claim that LA was on the verge of becoming a “No Kill” city, despite doctored statistics and there being no such thing as a no kill city anywhere in the U.S.

So, it was no surprise last week that City Council, as predicted, unanimously confirmed Garcetti’s re-appointment of Roger Wolfson to the LA Animal Services Commission despite having a 41% absentee/tardiness record in 2015, on track for worse in 2016 and his ongoing failure to pay his overdue dog licenses or their late fees.  In fact, City Council failed to ask Wolfson a single question as he sat in the front row with his arm wrapped behind LAAS GM Brenda Barnette. (Photo above.)

Wolfson’s story about his background in the legal profession does not add up, especially between June 10, 2013 and June 17, 2015, and in his City Council file resumes.

On that 2013 date, in a gushing LA Times article about plays he puts on in his backyard, Wolfson said, “I’m not a doctor or lawyer, but I want to be a pillar of my community.”

But on June 17, 2015, Wolfson described himself in an interview with TheNewHollywood.com as “a civil rights attorney.”

According to Wolfson’s City Council file, which contains an overkill list of every speech he says he ever created or delivered, he was indeed an attorney, describing himself as a founding partner of Haft, Harrison and Wolfson, a NY law firm founded in 1999, which he started after working as an attorney at the law firm he says was founded by his mother and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman.

Wolfson’s resume, which appears to be identical for both of his Garcetti appointments, lists him as a member of the New York, Connecticut and District of Columbia Bars, but is unclear as to whether he is presently licensed to practice law before any of them.

According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch, Wolfson was suspended in 2000 for failure to pay a client security fee.  He is presently listed as retired and therefore cannot practice law there.

In Washington D.C., records reflect that Wolfson is suspended due to his failure to attend continuing education courses and/or pay dues, and might not be able to practice there, either.

(NOTE: Attorneys not actively practicing law often list themselves as “inactive.”  Suspensions, whether administrative or disciplinary, are considered a permanent black mark on an attorney’s record.)

And according to the New York State Unified Court System, Wolfson’s license lapsed in April.

Wolfson also lists himself as a member of the United States Supreme Court Bar Association, which is largely considered a vanity membership, except for those who actually practice law before the SCOTUS, which Wolfson does not appear to have done.   Its Public Information Office did not respond in time for this article.  Wolfson and the Mayor’s office did not respond to a request for an interview.

In the world of Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles City Council, the truth glass is almost always half bull. 

(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a contributor to CityWatch, Huffington Post, KFI AM-640, LA Times, LA Daily News, and Los Angeles Magazine.  He blogs on humane issues at: ericgarcetti.blogspot.com/.)