THE EASTSIDER – As I was doing research for this article as a followup to last week’s article on ‘What Do Kevin De Leon and Jose Huizar Have in Common?”, it seemed clear that the issue of these funds goes way beyond Huizar and De Leon.
So I did a little research. An Eagle Rock friend sent me a document from the City Clerk called COUNCIL DISTRICT PUBLIC BENEFITS TRUST FUND REPORT, for the period of January 2022 to June 30, 2022. and it was eye opening, to say the least. You can find it converted to text at the end of this article.
Buried in the Report was the statement that “In accordance with Council File 07-0608, our office publishes a semi-annual activity report on the website of all City Council Public Benefit Trust Funds that details each financial transaction as follows...”
So I went to Council File 07-0608, which was by CD 11’s Bill Rosendahl, and sure enough, buried in the File History was
- REQUEST the City Attorney prepare and present an Ordinance to create a special trust fund to be known as the "Council District 11 Public Benefits Trust Fund" for the receipt, retention and disbursement of gifts, contributions and bequests for the support of police and all other public benefit and community activities within Council District 11. The Fund is to be administered by the City Clerk, with expenditures from the Fund to be authorized by the Councilmember representing Council District 11; all gifts, contributions and bequests going to this Fund which exceed the sum of $5,000 in value shall be submitted to the Council for acceptance or rejection. All such gifts, contributions and bequests to the City which do not exceed the sum of $5,000 in value shall be submitted to the Council member representing Council District 11 for acceptance or rejection.
2. INSTRUCT the City Clerk to publish a semi-annual activity report on its website of all City Council Public Benefit Trust Funds that details each financial transaction as follows...”
If you go to the LACityClerConnect, type in the Search area “Public Benefits Trust Fund” and have a good time. There are a ton of records, and the Trust Funds go back at least to 2004, from a summary look.
Finally, we come to the semi-annual Reports. Turns out that there is a link on the Office of City Clerk website to these, and you can find it here.
Evidently only the latest Report will show when you press the link, but there is likely a repository of all the Reports in there somewhere. We’ll see one of these days how to obtain back Reports.
Since these files are all PDF, they don’t embed into a text document that well. So here is the latest Trust Fund Report converted to text. Take a look at some highlights, with apologies for formatting errors.
OFFICE OF THE CITY CLERK
COUNCIL DISTRICT PUBLIC BENEFITS TRUST FUND REPORT For the period of January 1, 2022 to June 30, 2022
|CD1 Public Benefits||889|
|CD 6 Public Benefits||50C|
|CD 9 Public Benefits||48X|
|CD 10 Public Benefits||50R|
|CD 11 Public Benefits||50B|
|CD 13 Public Assistance||904|
|CD 14 Public Benefits||57L|
“The Council District Public Benefits Trust Funds are established for the receipt, retention and disbursement of gifts, contributions, bequests and City fund appropriations for the support of police and community activities within the respective Council Districts.
In accordance with Council File 07-0608, our office publishes a semi-annual activity report on the website of all City Council Public Benefit Trust Funds that details each financial transaction as follows:
b. amount of each donation received/or appropriation details on actual expenditures (how and where funds were spent)
d. method to select service provider
And regarding our very own CD 14 and Kevin De Leon...
Council District 14 Fund No. 57L
Balance 12/31/2021 $1,150,741.70
Interest earned $ 7,497.33
CF 18-0269-S6 $ 100,000.00
CF 18-0269-S7 $ 150,000.00
CF 19-0258-S2 $ 2,141,301.20
Total Revenue: $2,398,798.53
No Activity $ 0.00
Less Total Expenditures: $ $0.00
Cash Balance as of 06/30/2022: $3,549,540.23
Encumbrance C-134470 $(50,309.53
Total Encumbrances $(50,309.53)
UNCOMMITTED BALANCE AS OF 06/30/2022: $3,499,230.70
* The expenditures for Fund 57L are authorized by the Councilmember per Ordinance 179985. All of the service providers listed during this reporting period were selected and approved by the Councilmember.”
Ok, enough from me, other than a big thank you to Kevin De Leon for acting so unscrupulously that he got himself in deep you know what. And, of course, got me to dig deep into how the City Council really works.Thanks, Kevin :-)
It puts the Public Records Act portion of the LA City Clerk in a different light. While they do have to maintain and cough up many of these records, their primary client is the City Council, who evidently have little interest in transparency.
So when you see a whole bunch of indecipherable language in something a Council Office is doing, there’s a reasonable chance that it is hiding something. Feel free to ask your Councilmember to explain.
(Tony Butka is an Eastside community activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in government and is a contributor to CityWatch.)