Blog: City Controller Dodges Records Request From Reporter

How can Controller Greuel claim to be the taxpayer's watchdog and carry on about transparency and accountability when she is unwilling to follow state law?

Kevin James is a Candidate for Mayor Of Los Angeles www.kevinjamesformayor.com

What is the City of L.A.'s chief accountant hiding?

Randy Economy, an investigative reporter at the Los Cerritos Community News ("LACCN"), is making quite a name for himself for exposing the mega multi-million-dollar County Tax Assessor scandal  that has already landed one appraiser in jail facing 60 felony counts, with numerous other officials likely to follow. As a result of Economy's work, County Tax Assessor John Noguez was forced by public pressure  to take a leave of absence while the criminal investigation of his office continues.

L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley told  Economy that the tax assessor scandal "is the biggest in his 40 years as a prosecutor."

After breaking the story months ago, Economy has been hot on the trail of numerous emails linking public officials to the growing scandal that the L.A. Times says has increased to multiple targets and will result in grand jury indictments in the near future. Economy has become an expert at using the State's Public Records Act (Government Code Section 6250) to request and obtain the records that are at the center of this rapidly-expanding investigation. The investigation hasalready revealed  hundreds of millions of dollars in unlawfully lowered property values from potentially hundreds of properties located in and around the City of Los Angeles.

In order to continue his probe, on June 11, 2012 (four weeks ago), Economy sent a Public Records Act request to Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel seeking the calendars and agendas of the Controller. According to Economy, his records request has been completely ignored by the Controller -- even though state law requires the Controller to respond. Economy said, "Controller Greuel's office has ignored my records request and my attempts to follow up in search of a response." Economy added, "I am interested in seeing if the City Controller, who is the City's chief auditor and accountant, met with any of the key players in this investigation and I also want to know if Controller Greuel participated in any meetings relating to any of the key properties that are now at the center of this scandal." Economy reiterated that "County officials also ignored my requests at the beginning of my search, but good government requires a response by the Controller and production of the documents."

The public is entitled to a timely response by Controller Greuel. The fact that a full month has passed and LACCN's records request has not even been acknowledged by the Controller is inexcusable. The Controller's website states that one of her missions  is to be "the taxpayer's watchdog" and she regularly touts "transparency" and "accountability."

How can Controller Greuel claim to be the taxpayer's watchdog and carry on about transparency and accountability when she is unwilling to follow state law that requires her to respond to investigative reporter Economy's records request and to turn over the responsive documents?

Economy has already proven that he will not back down. If Controller Greuel has any doubt about Economy's commitment to exposing this corruption by public officials she can ask her friend, former Tax Assessor John Noguez, to whom she provided a "key endorsement"  in 2010 and from whom she has received campaign contributions  dating back to 2007 and 2008.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Skraeling July 12, 2012 at 08:42 PM
gordan, it will be a long wait before you read anything of substance in the LA Times...the Times is most certainly NOT a source of news for LA..sad to say....most people already know that and have cancelled their subscriptions which are 40% of what it was.
Jeff July 14, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Just a simple question fundamental to any reporting. Did Kevin contact Wendy Greul's office and not get a response regarding this issue or just the reporter. I am not defending Ms. Greul or the system just the checks and balances. Is Kevin doing the reporting or is it the reporter.After all, Kevin is running for Mayor as is Ms. Gruel. I am sure both have skeletons that will be displayed in the mayoral run.
John Fallingleaf July 15, 2012 at 01:31 AM
economy, the reporter that wrote the request, sent it to her office, followed up, and was ignored. James is calling attention to the ignored request. this is the same reporter who exposed John Noguez. I'm sure the last thing Wendy wanted was a public records request from the same reporter exposing other LA corruption, who in his search for more info on the noguez scandal, wants to see her calenders.
Skraeling July 15, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Wendy Gruel was horrible for most of her time representing Studio City, she would be an even worse mayor..she is just climbing the steps we have created for term limited politicians to advance their careers. If she had anything to offer, we would know about it by now....she doesn't...amition is all she has...
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