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Naked City: Another DWP Scandal, Gatto’s Gutless Play

Your DWP at Work: They Drink, Go to Sex Clubs and Steal Your Money

Shocked and amazed — that’s the official position of the Department of Water and Power over revelations that its employees are accused of running a six-year, $3 million scam with the utility’s credit cards.nakedcity.jpg

“We are outraged by these alleged crimes and will seek to
recover at least $3 million that was stolen over a six-year period,” DWP spokesman Joe Ramallo told the LA Times.

Prosecutors filed one felony count of conflict of interest, one
felony count of misappropriation of public funds and two felony
conspiracy counts against Anthony Carone, 49, and Akbar Fonooni, 55.

They allegedly used about a dozen DWP  to buy at least $3 million in products — including furniture for executive offices — between 2003 and 2009 at inflated prices from dummy companies they set up..

Four felony charges also were filed against Troy Mitchell Holt, 45,
whom investigators described as a friend of Carone. At least $1.4
million in purchases were routed through J.J. & R. Sales, a company
set up by Holt, authorities said.

Assemblyman Gatto Squelches Mayor Sam – What’s He Afraid of?

The most viewed and emailed story at today is “Mike Gatto forces blogger to remove postings.”

Kevin Modesti tells the story on the front page off how the San Fernando Valley are Democrat, elected in a special election in June and facing Sunder Ramani again on Tuesday, has his lawyer threat Mayor Sam’s mastermind Michael Higby with a cease and desist letter and threats of a libel suit.

Like most bloggers, Higby didn’t have the money to fight and took down the five items about Gatto written by Scott “Red Spot” Johnson.

“If he was in fact libeled, he’s entitled to use
the courts just like anybody else,” said Peter Scheer, executive
director of the San Rafael-based First Amendment Coalition. “But he
needs to remember he’s now a public official, and public officials have
to have thick skins.

“If (Gatto) is going to threaten lawsuits every time somebody posts something he doesn’t like or may be false and
defamatory, he’s going to spend all of his time in court and none of his
time being an effective assemblyman.”

Thanks to the wonder of the Internet, the stories are still available in cached copies on Google so you can see for yourself what Gatto didn’t want people to read.

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18 Responses to Naked City: Another DWP Scandal, Gatto’s Gutless Play

  1. Hank says:

    Ron – do you ever proof-read your blog – you made more typos than a third grader would be allowed on a simple composition – words missing, incomplete sentences, noun/verb inconsistencies, etc. – it’s very hard to read. So slow down, take a deep breath, pour another cup of coffee, then re-read your material before hitting the ENTER key………………

  2. Anonymous says:

    The District Attorney has failed the people of Los Angeles by refusing to charge public officials for knowing violations of public integrity laws. All of the current scandals did not just happen yesterday. They are the result of years of passive refusals of the District Attorney to charge crimes of malfeasance, misfeasance and similar crimes of our public officials.
    Confident in the DA’s protection, corrupt practices have flourished in Los Angeles County.

  3. Sandy Sand says:

    Hank, Ron’s just funnin’ with us to keeping us on our literary toes.
    DWP: Shocked! Shocked! I say. That skullduggery could be going on at the DWP. As shocked as gambling at Rick’s joint. Why shouldn’t the employees steal; the execs do.
    Heads should roll in the accounting department and an investigation be conducted to see how many of them were in cahoots with these guys.
    The rate payers should get a cut of the $3.2 mil if they ever reco-op the loses. How are they going to get the money back? Have a fire sale on e-Bay of all the property stolen through the misuse of the credit cards? Sounds like a fools errand.
    Gatto: What was surprising is that when I read the story early this morning were the comments. An amazing number of people took Gatto’s side against Higby.

  4. We need an Inspector General.

  5. Bob G says:

    I think the Mayor Sam’s story is low comedy. Gatto says that he asked MS to correct the record and further claims that he got no reply. So he has a lawyer send Higby a letter and the result is that Higby immediately removes every reference to Gatto from his web site.
    The gutless play is by the web site, because Higby had a chance to stand by his stories. Instead he makes a couple of wimpy excuses — first that he can’t afford defending a lawsuit, and second that he doesn’t really control what goes into the site.
    The first is a perfect example of being able to dish it out but not take it. Higby has continued to publish pieces about Gatto that lead with a very unappealing picture of a crying baby, followed by all kinds of nasty remarks. That kind of stuff is protected speech under the Constitution, although it probably could be used in court to demonstrate malicious intent (how could it be anything else?). But to follow it up with accusations that turn out to be false or about somebody else who happens to have the same name is to show lack of due diligence.
    When given the chance to correct statements that Gatto alleges are lies, Higby turns tail and runs away. What would be appropriate at this point would be for Higby to publish a full retraction of each and every charge that was false, along with an apology. We don’t seem to have seen that as yet, have we?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hank, Ron does more good for the residents of this city then the local media and everyone else in between. So if he makes a mistake or two we don’t give a shit. We understand clearly what he’s informing us about. I say Ron should start his own newspaper. IT would outsell all the tabloid trash out there today. DWP again, doesn’t surprise me. All the morons on city council voted for that rate hike and remember Parks pretending he was out when in fact he was in the building and didn’t go to chambers to stop it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    “Bell police officers say their corruption allegations went nowhere in D.A. Cooley’s office”, as reported by LA Times. What is scary about this story is that an honest police officer who reported the corruption to Cooley’s office lost his job while our “crime fighter” who now wants to be AG did nothing till election time. It is a good lesson about why there is so much corruption in LA. Honest people have nowhere to turn and no support from the people who should be prosecuting corruption.
    Seems to be the same story in every city. We can’t expect an end to corruption when the whistle blowers are treated as the problem or “trouble makers”, a favorite term in bureacracies in City Halls, where business as usual rules.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The retraction that I made today are the first and only that will be made regarding my posts on Assemblyman Mike Gatto at Mayor Sam.
    Plain and simply, Gatto can not stand the truth, period.
    The voters of the 43rd Assembly District are be deprive of their right of information from citizen journalists, who dare write the truth about Mike Gatto.
    Blogger, journalists, and members of the other mediums of media, need to draw a line in the sand. Thus, protecting our rights to state the truth about our political figures.
    Scott Johnson in CD 14

  9. Scott Johnson says:

    I am cut and pasting my retraction for the sake of the dialog.
    For the record, a post written at Mayor Sam by myself, stated that “a Mike Gatto” had been evicted from a 901 Levering Ave. 15, Los Angeles, California 90024. Further, I stated that “a Mike Gatto” was subjected to a court judgment for $1,355.00.
    Upon further review with my sources, it has been concluded that the “Mike Gatto” mentioned in the post, is not the current Assemblyman Mike Gatto. For that, I apologize for my mistake.
    It should be noted, that there was never was any communication from the Mike Gatto Campaign, for a retraction, prior to the “Cease and Desist Letter” from Assemblyman Gatto.
    It is my paramount priority when writing for Mayor Sam to present the correct facts went musing on a chosen subject or person. But like the Glendale News-Press above, it is our responsibility to make corrections when warranted.
    Scott Johnson

  10. Anonymous says:

    What happened to Cooley’s investigation into the Failure of a Mayor on his Ticketgate scandal? He’s Cooley waiting until after the election or did he forget? Someone better prod him to get moving or else all those votes are down the toliet. What should scare the hell out of a lot of people is the local media is so corrupt itself those same Bell police officers gave the story to them and they did nothing. It seems we are living on a planet of corruption, scum, sleaze bags and more and they are all elected officials and local media outlets. At least we have blogs like Ron, Mayor Sam and LA Weekly who aren’t afraid to post the truth

  11. Anonymous says:

    Michael Higby, aka Mayor Sam, has always trafficked in insults, innuendo, and half-baked accusations that don’t stand up to critical inspection. I have no doubt he’s gleefully rubbing his hands at all the added traffic this controversy has driven to his website, and will continue his sleazy ways in the future.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Just STFU, Gatto Spin-Hole at 6:17. Noone cares.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I think this is germaine to the topic.
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 29, 2010
    CONTACT: James Fisfis,
    Documents released by the City of Los Angeles raise questions about a Los Angeles personal services contract awarded in 2002 by Councilman Nick Pacheco to Mike Gatto, a California Assemblyman now running for re-election as a taxpayer watchdog cracking down on abuses in municipal government.
    According to the documents [ORIGINALS IN APPENDIX: EXHIBITS 1 & 2]:
     On September 19, 2002, Los Angeles City Councilman Nick Pacheco awarded Mike Gatto a six month, $15,000, labor-intensive “personal services contract.” During this time, FEC records show that Gatto was still serving as a campaign staffer in the thick of Brad Sherman’s re-election campaign – a position he began in April of that year.
     On October 9, 2002 – just 19 days later – Mike Gatto submitted an invoice claiming he had performed 227 hours of work under the contract at a rate of $65 per hour. The invoice amount: $14,755.00. [SEE EXHIBIT 1]
    “These documents would raise questions in the minds of reasonable people as to whether Mike Gatto ever performed the work required under the contract.
    227 hours is a lot of work to do in 19 days, especially while you are simultaneously immersed in a Congressional re-election campaign.
    These are only questions, and no allegations of wrongdoing are being made. We believe that Mike Gatto should have an opportunity to set the record straight.” –
    James Fisfis, President, Chariot LLC.
    More questions arise from the documents released by the City of Los Angeles regarding Mike Gatto’s personal services contract.
     According to the contract language [SEE EXHIBIT 2], the in-depth analysis of constituent services required under the contract was to be performed by Gatto from September 15, 2002 through March 15, 2003. The contract required the submission of “monthly reports” by Gatto, and detailed “monthly invoices” pursuant to a work schedule. Yet, according to records released by the City Controller, Gatto submitted his $14,775.50 invoice on October 9, 2002 – not even one month into the contract.
     According to Los Angeles city records, Gatto’s personal services contract with Nick Pacheco was first presented to the Los Angeles City council on September 27, 2002 – eight days after it had already been signed.
     According to Los Angeles city records, Gatto’s personal services contract with Nick Pacheco was not approved until October 2, 2002, almost two weeks after it had been signed and just seven days before Gatto invoiced the city for nearly the full contract.
     According to FEC records, during the contract period September 15-November 15, 2002, Mike Gatto was a full-time campaign staffer. According to Congressional data, during the contract period after November 15, 2002 through March 15, 2002, Mike Gatto working full-time for the Congressional office of Brad Sherman.
    NOTE: Chariot LLC frequently releases reports raising questions as to officeholder and candidate actions. This research was not paid for by any candidate, committee, or party entity.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I am sure you will be next blog to hear from Gatto’s attorney’s.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Next up in Gatto’s sights is Phil Jennerjahn and then Ron Kaye.

  16. No_Justice says:

    The corruption reported seems very clear to the average person and yet, elected officials just march on without thought to ethics or conflicts of interest because they feel immune from punishment.
    And the impression that I have is that pubic officials are “protected.”
    Despite the questions raised in stories about the Hollywood Entertainment Office Building project, Katersky-Arnold, CRA, and the City Council, the powerful City Council President, Eric Garcetti and the CRA Commissioners refuse to answer key ethical and lack of oversight and control questions and march forward with approval. They know that they are protected.
    With DWP and the Credit Card scandal, why aren’t the managers charged? They signed off on the purchases – they approved the monthly statements of Carone and Fonooni. And the executives who received the fancy furniture knew it was wrong and now they try to cover it up.
    It seems fitting in the entertainment capital, Los Angeles, there will always be a Fall-Guy. And the guilty gets a golden parachute.

  17. Mike Gatto must be pleased with all the free publicity.

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