In a decision that supports transparency, Superior Court Judge James Chalfant made it clear that the accounting records of the Joint Institutes of Safety and Training are subject to a full audit by City Controller Ron Galperin.
It will be early May before the ruling truly takes effect, but the clock is now running for IBEW union boss Brian D’Arcy to cough up the records. It will be interesting to see what delaying tactics D’Arcy attempts while he contemplates an appeal.
After all, records might be difficult to recover: paper files may have been damaged when an IBEW-maintained water pipe burst, or a power surge caused by a faulty IBEW-installed circuit breaker may have fried the computer hard drives – talk about water and power! I’m sure Brian and his boys will think of something to impede the audit.
But while we wait for the big guy to play out his cards, there are other angles that need to be investigated.
For one, the DWP managers who served on the nonprofits’ boards, including Ron Nichols.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Judge Chalfant stated that the DWP managers had provided “no supervision” and “little control” over the nonprofits’ spending and therefore share the blame for the controversy.
Exactly what do they know? Did they sleep through the board meetings?
It was reported that Nichols claimed he was threatened with legal action by D’Arcy if he ever spilled the beans. But can that story be substantiated? Is Nichols trying to cover possible gross negligence on his part?
Everyone connected with the nonprofits must be questioned under oath. The sooner, the better. Otherwise key figures may become subject to selective amnesia.
It would be nice to know what the nonprofits’ boards had in store for the $11.8 million stashed in the trusts’ bank accounts – an amount that is almost triple the annual $4 million allocation they receive.
Think of it, their testimony, if received before Galperin starts his field work, could independently corroborate any audit findings pointing to a pattern of abuse. This could facilitate the filing of criminal charges.
And let’s not stop with the board members and others associated with the nonprofits.
The CPA firm who conducted the last audit should have its records and personnel subpoenaed as well. CPA firms do not have the same level of protection as lawyers do when it comes to client confidentiality.
$40 million over ten years may not sound like much to elected officials in our city, but it is indicative of a corrupt culture.
And it is our City Council members, past and present, who are the true enablers.