THE EASTSIDER - You would think that over $200,000/year and great benefits would be a pretty good wage for LA City Council members. Evidently, it’s not enough for our ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ embattled Councilmember Kevin De Leon, Councilmember for CD14.
No sir, it’s clear that Kevin De Leon has at least two very economic reasons that he wants to keep his Councilmember status. First, there is the little matter of millions of dollars buried in what are laughingly called “Discretionary Accounts” for CD14. That’s right, millions, as I noted in a previous article.
“Record request #22-12239:
Below are the current balances for the special funds administered by the City Clerk's Office. You may want to contact the CLA's Office to obtain CD 14's Office budget:
CD 14 Public Benefits Trust Fund - $3,510,891.36
CD 14 Council Fee Subsidy Acct - $332,561.92
CD 14 Neighborhood Service Enhancements - $1,168,536.00
Council District Community Services CD 14 - $142,496.20
Council District 14 Real Property Trust Fund - $1,110,409.30”
Holy Moly! That is a ton of money. Remember, that is in addition to KDL and his staff who are still on the City payroll, even though I have yet to receive a response as to who they are and their job class.”
The second reason seems to be that he can keep using his position to take care of non-profits like the AIDS Healthcare Foundation while he sits in limbo. By the way, congratulations to the LA Times for a very detailed look at Kevin and the “nonprofit”. Here’s the link to a very good analysis by Liam Dillon, Benjamin Oreskes, and Doug Smith. Well done! And here’s a short excerpt:
“It’s pretty stunning. This is really unethical.”
Ravel said De León should recuse himself from voting on matters related to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation because of the council member’s past relationship with the organization.
De León did not respond to a written list of questions from The Times about the meeting and his ties to the foundation. He said in a written statement that he acted to address his district’s most pressing issue.
“Before taking office, I was asking myself the same question thousands of Angelenos across the city were asking themselves in the midst of a homeless crisis and global pandemic: Why are there hundreds of empty units in skid row while thousands of people in that neighborhood languish and die on the streets?” De León wrote. “So I spent many months even before I was sworn in convening dozens of meetings with city officials, nonprofits and community leaders around homelessness.”
De León’s office provided calendar records to The Times showing more than a dozen such meetings.
For his part, Weinstein said he was unaware of De León’s August 2020 gathering with city officials.”
But Wait, There’s More!
It turns out that back in January, a local attorney named David Nealy filed a Public Records Act Request with the Chief Legislative Analyst, asking for “all records ” pertaining to the CLARTS (or related) Funds by Kevin De Leon and/or Monica Garcia.
And in February 16th, the Office replied that they had responsive records which would be produced by March 3rd.
As I write this article I’m looking at a photograph of a letter dated January 10 2023, on Kevin De Leon’s letterhead, authorizing a check in the amount of $480,000 to World Harvest Charities & Family Services “out of my AB1290 COVID 19 account as a lump sum advance.”
Holy moly, Batman!
I do not personally know Mr. Nealy, but I do have a copy of his March 1, 2023 Petition for a Writ of Mandate against Kevin De Leon and Pete Brown to comply with the Public Records Act and cough up the documents that by now we all know they are hiding like the rats they are.
Kudos to Mr. Nealy. Attached to the Petition are a number of Exhibits which clearly establish a pattern of CD14 flagrantly making pitiful excuse after another as they attempt to withhold public records that would make Kevin look bad.
Included in the Exhibits to the lawsuit is one I found particularly interesting. In FY 21-22, it looks like Kevin was handing out checks for around $5000 a pop to make nice to all the local non-profits and businesses. Heck, he gave over $10,000 to TERA.
Honestly, the exhibit is a gold mine and demonstrates everything that we have known but could not prove about De Leon. He’s a walkin’ talkin’ crook on the loose.
It seems like Kevin De Leon isn’t even a real Councilmember, in the sense that the rest of the City Council want nothing to do with him and keep asking him to leave. Second, you can’t even find a list of the staff on his website! How’s that for ‘service’? Try to get the staff to return a phone call or email. Good luck.
And even as it’s evident that no one else in the democratic political establishment wants anything to do with him, he’s spending gobs of money from his discretionary funds like CLARTS to buy support from businesses, non-profits, and projects.
While there is an active Recall Petition out in circulation, I have argued the case that actually recalling him now would be a hard sell because of a recall requiring a replacement election to occur simultaneously. You can find that information here.
“With a June 2024 Primary and November 2024 election, there is time to find and organize around decent candidates, whatever their ethnicity, notwithstanding the recording that led to Kevin being asked to resign by the City Council.
Remember, in the world of politics, 2023 is the year that all the work starts on the ground, sorting out who will be the 2024 candidates. We need the time while Kevin De Leon runs around playing with himself. ”
Now I think that De Leon has a serious new risk. So what happens if he gets indicted for something that those of us looking under the certain manages to find out?
(Tony Butka is an Eastside community activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in government and is a contributor to CityWatch.)