Before I was rescued from the bushes outside Ron Kaye’s house and adopted by his wonderful wife Deborah, I was what you might call a “street dog,” living paw-to-mouth out of the garbage cans of the San Fernando Valley.
It wasn’t always that way. For a while, I picked up some junkyard gigs and actually made a living. I got a weekly salary and was once offered a sub-prime mortgage by Countrywide for a Reseda doghouse.
And I had a checking account, although it often was overdrawn. That didn’t prevent me from writing checks, however, and local supermarkets looking for their money were often chasing me. I was constantly being lectured about being more careful with my account.
Looks like our new City Controller Wendy Grruel needs the same lesson.
According to Rick Orlov of the Daily News, who is often referred to the “dean” of the City Hall reporters since he’s been covering the place since Sam Yorty was in high school, about $6 million in city checks dated July 24 that were sent to vendors were returned for insufficient funds.
They bounced like the ball Ron sometimes throws at me in the backyard. Six million dollars! Doesn’t Wendy know how to balance a checkbook? I bet Nick Patsaouras never asked her that during the campaign.
But Wendy is a good politician and told Orlov the problem stemmed from a “processing error’ by Wachovia Bank.
A $6 million “processing error?” Former Controller Laura Chick, who reportedly also did some junkyard gigs before running for office, had the executives of Fleishman Hillard drawn and quartered for mistakes like that.
But Wendy is, well, nicer. A lot nicer.
“We are looking at the whole situation to make sure it is an isolated incident and won’t happen again,” Wendy told Orlov. I bet she served tea and little cakes during the interview.
I bet those Wachovia executives are shaking in the expensive boots they bought with their last bonuses.
Wendy’s flack Ben Golombek added that the problem relates to the transition as Wells Fargo takes over Wachovia’s operations this year. Wells Fargo bought Wachovia for $15 billion. I bet that check didn’t bounce.
Golombek said the city and Wachovia are sending letters of apology to those who received the bad checks. I doubt they’ll be accepted in lieu of cash at Ralph’s.
I’m just a dog, but isn’t there anybody in the Controller’s Office in charge of keeping an eye on this stuff – especially if the city’s bank was recently bought by another bank?
Laura Chick would have run down to the nearest Wachovia branch as soon as she heard about the deal and counted the city’s money. She probably would have left with a free toaster, too.