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LOS ANGELES Wednesday, May 27th 2015 4:36

WAGE RAISE RAGE

  • WHO WE ARE-Nearly half of Los Angeles just gave itself a raise. Following a wave of state and local minimum-wage bills and initiatives, Los Angeles became one of the largest cities to dramatically raise its hourly base pay and join Seattle to hit the magic $15-an-hour demand pushed by labor and community groups nationwide. The City Council…
  • ​City Snookered by Westfield Billionaires

    Jack Humphreville
    LA WATCHDOG-In March of 2014, the Herb Wesson led City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti approved a 25 year, $48 million giveaway to help the $28.5 billion Westfield Corporation finance its $250 million development, The Village at Westfield Topanga. (Photo) But this subsidy championed by Councilman Bob Blumenfield was hardly necessary as The Village…
  • Slick With Denial: ‘Self-Regulation’ and the Latest Oil Spill

    Judith Lewis Mernit
    HISTORY LESSONS IGNORED-On Wednesday, May 20, the day after a Santa Barbara County fire inspector discovered a stream of contaminated crude oil flowing onto a pristine segment of the Southern California coast, a group of researchers published a study linking the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to a mass die-off of bottlenose dolphins. The 46…
  • Scaremongering about the Patriot Act Sunset

    Jameel Jaffer
    FALSE CLAIMS EXPOSED-In a last-ditch effort to scare lawmakers into preserving unpopular and much-abused surveillance authorities, the Senate Republican leadership and some intelligence officials are warning that allowing Section 215 of the Patriot Act to sunset would compromise national security. (One particularly crass example from Senator…
  • Still the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave

    Ken Alpern
    ALPERN AT LARGE-It's been another year and another successful Flag Placement at the West Los Angeles National Cemetery. Crawling out of bed in the morning on a holiday weekend to show up bright and early for a show of American patriotism and respect to our veterans and fallen heroes, the region and nation saw yet again how the Boy Scouts, Girl…
  • Retaliation: VA Police Target Veterans

    Robert L. Rosebrock
    LOS ANGELES – Recently, I was interviewed by John Ismay, an Iraqi War Veteran who is the “Veterans and Military Issues Reporter” for Southern California Public Radio. We met at the Los Angeles VA to discuss the never-ending misappropriation of land at this largest VA in the nation, within our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans. We were…
  • City Controller’s Grandstanding DWP Audit is the Real Waste of Ratepayer Dollars

    Dennis Zine
    JUST THE FACTS-City Controller Ron Galperin’s Grandstanding DWP Audit results were finally released. Unfortunately, the conclusion and political spin that came afterwards from the controller was misleading. Here are the FACTS: The DWP’s Joint Training Institute and Joint Safety Institute are administered by DWP managers and representatives of the…
  • A Place Where ‘Special Interest’ is NOT a Dirty Word

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-We need to have a new word to differentiate the villainous “Special Interest” that everyone is always complaining about and the “Special Interest” that almost all of politicians and civic and social activists have adopted as a cause. It is impossible to have passion about multiple issues. I know I have mentioned this before, but it seems…
  • Alert! America’s Small Businesses are Being Screwed by Big Business

    Robert Reich
    THE ECONOMY-Can it be that America’s small businesses are finally waking up to the fact they’re being screwed by big businesses? For years, small-business groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses have lined up behind big businesses lobbies. (Photo: small businesses in Studio City) They’ve contributed to the same Republican…

 

  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…




ICYMI-Amy Schumer shows Dave her vagina

Remembering Ann Meara: 1929-2015

The Star Spangled Banner … like you’ve never heard it before

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

LA Coliseum Scandal and Wendy’s Taste for Cash & Carry Accounting

PERSPECTIVE - CACA:  that’s my unofficial abbreviation for what I call cash and carry accounting. It’s the dark flipside of GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles).

I watched Goodfellas for the umpteenth time the other night.  CACA worked well for the wise guys; maybe for the wise guys who run our city, too.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Coliseum officials paid cash to a representative for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union, usually in straps of $100 notes stuffed in suitcases.  Give the officials credit – at least the cash was not tucked into their waist bands.

These payments, totaling at least $1 million over several years, were to cover wages and benefits for services performed by union members for rave and other events.

Whether the cash was used for the intended purposes may never be known, even with an audit.

The LA Weekly reported some extra details the Times either missed or failed to disclose:  City Controller Wendy Greuel told the Weekly before the facts surfaced that “IATSE clearly followed the rules on so many levels.”

I guess large cash payments must be part of the rules.

I am not suggesting Greuel would condone such a practice. However, by openly stating her trust in an organization that could play a major role in her mayoral campaign without really knowing how it conducts business, she displayed her  lack of judgment and blatant disregard for the public good.

It is fair for us to ask just who Greuel represents.

An article in an IATSE publication quoted an official as saying. “The locals here have worked side-by-side to help elect pro-labor candidates like Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Wendy Greuel [LA City Controller-elect and President Pro Tempore of the LA City Council, who has been a strong advocate for the entertainment industry in Los Angeles].”

Knowing the scandal-plagued history of the Coliseum, she should have been auditing payments to the organization and reconciling them back to bank records.  Such an audit would also have involved requesting independent confirmations from the union verifying the receipt and application of all payments.  If the union had failed to provide confirmations, it would have raised a red flag much earlier.

Instead, Greuel has wasted too much of her staff’s time on performance audits, the benefits of which have not been substantiated.

It is apparent that the city condones a culture of corruption.  That alone should dictate an audit strategy that focuses on operations at risk for significant fraud.

But Greuel is a friend of the city’s establishment, so her avoidance of a full-scale attack on fraud should not come as a surprise.

Other elected officials may have to come clean as well.

The Times reported there were no reports of the payment activity provided to the Coliseum’s nine-member board, including County Supervisors Yaroslavsky (a possible candidate for mayor), Ridley-Thomas and Knabe. City Councilman Bernard Parks also sits on the board.

Commission members have the same responsibility as CEOs and boards of directors.  They must insure that there are adequate internal controls in place to identify suspicious activities.  Certainly, a system that permits large cash payments in this day and age would fit the tag of suspicious.

It is time we question the capabilities of officials appointed to commissions.  Experience from serving as an elected official or mayoral appointee does not necessarily constitute the right skill set for managing an operating entity.

Didn’t we learn that lesson from our experience with the DWP?

(Paul Hatfield is a CPA and serves as Treasurer for the Neighborhood Council Valley Village.  He blogs at Village to Village, contributes to CityWatch and can be reached at:  phinnoho@aol.com) –cw

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CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 10
Pub: Feb 3, 2012

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