@TheGussReport – My original title for this column was going to be “LAPD Distances Itself from Indicted Mitch Englander…..But Not Entirely.” But then I had an epiphany, though you’ll have to wait until the end of this column to find out what it is.
On Tuesday, less than 24 hours after former LA City Councilmember Mitch Englander was indicted on seven federal counts related to corruption and lying to the FBI, I reached out to the LAPD to see whether he is still a member of its reserve officer program.
That’s the program that Englander, 49, used to misrepresent his relationship with the LAPD on the ballot for his failed run for LA County Supervisor by falsely claiming “police officer” as his actual profession. Englander’s opponents challenged that claim and won.
That alone should have booted him from the LAPD reserve officer program.
But as of Tuesday, the LAPD advises that Englander’s status as a reserve officer is now “inactive” but has forfeited the trappings of it, including his uniform, badge and gun.
So, let’s borrow a trite phrase: “when (Businessperson A’s casino) chips are down, you will know who your true friends are.”
With the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office now publicly accusing the disgraced Englander of taking $10,000 in cash stuffed in an envelope handed to him in a Vegas casino bathroom; another $5,000 similarly forked-over; receiving stacks of casino chips, or a little rub & tug from a hooker in swanky hotel digs, isn’t that enough for the LAPD to say, “this is not a guy who should ever be on patrol with our badge and gun participating in arrests.”
Englander would be a walking target for blackmail and lawsuits against the taxpayers because any decent defense attorney could look at the LAPD report of their client’s arrest and see that one of the officers involved was accused of bribery, playing with hookers and then conspiring with his compadres to lie – to the FBI – about it. In other words, Englander embraces extreme risk, but on the perp side of the law.
Even if Englander pulls off a miracle and gets acquitted of every charge, or if all of them are dropped, will the LAPD still welcome him back into its ranks after all of this?
It seems so. Otherwise, he would already be out of the program rather than on inactive status.
Or, maybe that’s the LAPD’s way of gently decoupling from Englander since he may know a little too much about the LAPD and the way it operates. He may know about how the LAPD protects politicians, and not in a personal safety kind of way. The things the LAPD covers up. The favors the LAPD does for people in power. The kind of things a weasely politician-on-the-take makes note of in case he needs to save his life someday.
That’s because someone fighting for his life has nothing to lose and might turn on everyone, including those who cut ties with him.
You know the way Mitch Englander would be first in line to do.
That’s not such a far-fetched idea. That’s how the ongoing college admissions scandal started; with an unrelated criminal case where the accused is believed to have tipped off the FBI about con man Rick Singer’s scam. That’s why that scandal’s court cases are based in Boston; that’s where that original unrelated crime was charged.
Given a chance, Englander – who now faces 50 years in federal prison if convicted on all counts – would sell-out all of them, so keep an eye on those who are quiet about Englander or who distance themselves from him, but not entirely.
Like the LAPD.
Then ask yourself why.
Come to think of it, maybe that will be how Mitch Englander gets out of this entire mess; cut a deal with the feds and spill absolutely everything he knows about corruption in the City of LA from top-to-bottom.
Unless the feds already know what Englander has to offer and refuse to cut him a deal.
Did I really just predict this?
(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has contributed to CityWatchLA, KFI AM-640, iHeartMedia, 790-KABC, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal, Pasadena Star News, Los Angeles Downtown News, and the Los Angeles Times in its Sports, Opinion, Entertainment sections and Sunday Magazine, among other publishers. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Graphic above: Los Angeles Daily News.