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Paul Koretz Ignores Red Flags, Gambles $1.5M in Animal Donations

@THE GUSS REPORT-Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz may have missed the fact that 27% of his colleagues were voted out of office in last week’s local elections or are going to federal prison for years while others posture as paeans of corruption. 

Yet Koretz, 65, is a career politician who fancies himself the next LA City Controller after he soon exhausts his time on City Council despite ongoing shenanigans like those outlined in today’s column. 

Last week, Koretz once again betrayed the word “trust,” ignoring information and advice his office solicited from this column pointing out red flags in a 3-year, $1.5 million contract with no clearly stated business purpose to a vendor with vague-at-best qualifications and no paper trail. 

The vendor, The Glue, LLC, didn’t bother to call-in to Koretz’s committee hearing on the contract last week. A company that drools for a multi-million-dollar contract but doesn’t answer questions is one that fears scrutiny or is told to stay away from meetings where they are asked. 

That $1,500,000 comes from donations to LA Animal Services’ Animal Welfare Trust Fund, AWTF, which misleads the public that money donated to it comforts, cares, and heals homeless animals in the city’s deadly pounds. 

Koretz is allowing that money to be misused for vague marketing, fundraising and a website rebuild by The Glue, LLC, which claims no such experience in humane affairs or fundraising on its own exceptionally limited website. Also, a website update (which this column has vast experience in) should cost thousands of dollars, not millions. Further, it appears that The Glue has few if any full-time employees other than its founder and appears intent on outsourcing much of the work. Lastly, where the “boutique firm” conducts business is unclear, as its addresses from various sources are inconsistent; another red flag, Mr. Koretz. 

Simultaneously, Koretz is shutting down the deadly West Valley pound in another huge giveaway despite paying for that building with some of the city’s borrowed $532,000,000 in Measure F funds, which was intended to replace or repair “crowded, unsafe shelters.” 

(Note: LA Animal Services recently asked this column to refer to its deadly pounds as Pet Care Centers; a request which will not be honored while it kills healthy, adoptable animals and falsely labels doing so as euthanasia, since the vast majority of its animals aren’t suffering; they’re simply homeless. LAAS still can’t manage to simply post photos and names for every lost pet in its possession.) 

Koretz and LAAS also refused to provide this column with the Request For Proposal (RFP) they issued for the $1.5mm project and the winning vendor’s proposal response to it. 

The reason may be that this columnist used to write multi-million dollar winning proposals for two of the world’s largest consulting firms, KPMG and Arthur Andersen, and brings scrutiny that corrupt government and politicians fear. Koretz cannot explain why the project is being pursued, how its success is defined and why this fund’s money is being misappropriated once again; questions I advised him to ask, but which he largely ignored. 

To be clear, Koretz has a right to approve this garbage project but has no right to be shielded from proctologic scrutiny up his yin-yang for doing so, especially as he asks voters for the City Controller gig. 

Koretz’s colleagues Curren Price, LA’s resident bigamist, voted in favor of the project while John Lee voted against it. Their recommendation to approve the contract is likely to be unanimously approved by the full LA City Council this week without a word of discussion, making each of them fully complicit in its outcome. 

This sleight of hand smacks of how Koretz and soon-to-be-unemployed Councilman Herb Wesson misused requested information to rig the city’s bogus audit of LAAS, where Koretz “sought cover” from Wesson to hide incessant mismanagement and protect Mayor Eric Garcetti

What a fabulous crew we have representing us! 

While raiding funds intended to comfort homeless animals is prima facie unethical, there is a metric for measuring Koretz’s outcome and it is that the AWTF pulls in more than $800,000 in donations each year and has nearly $5 million unspent dollars in it as of last week, according to LAAS officials. 

Also, according to LAAS, The Glue says its efforts will double those donations, despite having no such track record. If those doubled donations don’t show up in the AWTF’s balances, the shortfalls will be regularly reported in this column and point to Mr. Koretz’s decision-making as the cause. 

This $1.5 million should be used solely to care for animals from Koretz’s latest pound shutdown or grown with the help of people with licenses, expertise, and a résumé of successful municipal investing. 

Meanwhile, Garcetti and the LAAS Commissioners should remove the word “Trust” from the fund’s name and give it the new moniker of Animal Welfare Reckless Gambling Fund, whose acronym is the appropriately frustrating AWRGF!!!

 

(Daniel Guss, MBA, was runner-up for the 2020 Los Angeles Press Club journalism award for Best Online Political Commentary and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, iHeartMedia, 790-KABC, Cumulus Media, 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 and 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.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.