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City Hall’s Bribery Scandal: Where Does the Buck Stop?

True to form, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has washed his
hands of the bribery scandal in the Building and Safety Department, leaving
General Manager Bud Ovrom dangling in the wind as the FBI expands its probe “as
wide and as high as they can.” bribe.jpg

Ovrom sent a nine-page confidential memo to the mayor to
alert him to the fact that the FBI probe which already nailed two
inspectors  was nowturning from the
rank-and-file to supervisors and up the chain of command.

The memo filled with fresh details of the scandal was
accidentally emailed by Ovrom to hundreds of Building and Safety employees and reported
by the LA Times.

Ovrom warned the mayor he was “unsuccessful at staying in
front of this story” and that he might lead to private contractors and
land use consultants who have “an unusually high working
relationship” with certain Building and Safety employees.

“To the extent the problem is the result of poor supervisory skills,
several factors probably contributed to that breakdown,” Ovrom wrote.
“Perhaps the most glaring is that during the last three years the
department’s workforce has been reduced by 150 positions.”

The mayor’s official response to the memo says a lot about
how things have gone from bad to worse at City Hall.

“If Mr. Ovrom has an issue with supervisors, we expect
him to solve it,” said Deputy Mayor Sarah Sheahan.”  The mayor expects every general manager to
run a tight ship.”

Actually, the record of the mayor and his top people is
anything but about expecting every general to run a tight ship.

Unprecedented in modern City Hall history, the mayor’s
record is one of browbeating general managers 
into making him look good politically even if it means lying through
their teeth or embracing policies that waste money and benefit special
interests (like private contractors and land use consultants), not the public
interest.

Sheahan is one of 200 or so well paid chiefs, deputies,
assistants and advisers who spend their days putting the mayor in front of
cameras to boast about how he personally reduced crime, created jobs, greened
our lives.

But you don’t see the mayor standing in foot-deep potholes,
cracked sidewalks, overgrown trees, closed libraries or anywhere else where the
failure of his administration is so visible that it can’t be concealed with
lies.

So when it comes to tackling the bribery scandal in Building
and Safety, the mayor is nowhere to be found.

It’s simply Bud’s problem. He’s the general manager so
manage.

Between inspectors caught red-handed taking bribes and the mayor running away from all responsibility, City Hall is giving new meaning to the old cliche about the buck stopping here.

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16 Responses to City Hall’s Bribery Scandal: Where Does the Buck Stop?

  1. jay handal says:

    So, it appears the ship is sinking. The mayors deputy said the mayor expects his Department heads to manage their departments, but it is obvious they do not and he has not hands on control of the GM’s.
    Bud should go, based on his memo. Jimmy Price is finally going, How about D.O.T.? And other departments who do not do their jobs and cost us money and services?
    How about Jeff Carr who is supposed to be then chief of staff. Start there !!!!!!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    “Ovrom warned the mayor he was “unsuccessful at staying in front of this story” and that he might lead to private contractors and land use consultants who have “an unusually high working relationship” with certain Building and Safety employees”.
    With land use consultants involved, the trail will lead straight upto the Mayor and Council Offices. Fantastic!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I bet this investigation will lead to city council members and developers. How could it not??

  4. Homeowner says:

    ‘Nothing like tipping tone’s hat to those being investigated-unbelievable!!! This City goes out of its way to keep communications private-there is no way such a communication would reach so many unless it was intentional. I’m sure everyone’s doing their best to cover the tracks.
    For shame!!!!
    A disturbing aspect to this is how it impacts the homeowner. When I bought my home, I did so thinking all was okay, short of the basic repairs and maintenance. Paid off permits equals unforeseen problems to homeowners. I am presently redoing many parts of my home due to poor construction. Several bidders have expressed concern on the various “not to code” discoveries (of which I have to pay to fix).
    I hope a list of the developers, contractors and inspectors will be provided to the public sooner than later.

  5. CRA misrepresents! says:

    They should come after this guy while they are at it:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/jobs/29pre.html
    The shamelessness of how he gets to introduce the CRA as some kind of savior for low-income communities when it is anything but that…

  6. Progressive says:

    My dear, the party is over. Lights out, Camera Action that’s a RAP.
    Tax Credits=LessRevenue
    On some occassions, when the economy is bubbling and employment near 100% a tax credit may be conducive for the business owner. However, when all you have is bundled and invested in investments that are not worth the paper it’s printed on, sorry I digress but, month after month, as god is my witness financial statements were mailed to the City of Los Angeles and althought the investments went down in big huge numbers, no action was taken. Meanwhile, within the various departments people were using city phones and vehicals (that cost money) and within the departments someone was approving invoices to pay for assets NEVER USED and assets were removed from the Premise. NOW, you get it?

  7. Anonymous says:

    “Home life ceases to be free and beautiful as soon as it is founded on borrowing and debt.”
    —Henrik Ibsen

  8. Progressive says:

    CRA Misrepresents 6:14: “The shamelessness of how he gets to introduce the CRA as some kind of savior for low-income communities when it is anything but that…”
    So true, so true.
    How do you fix the problem after all the criminals are held or not, accountable?
    We have to put all property owners on notice. They have to have their properties reinspected. Our buildings must meet code.
    Now that the FBI is involved in one specific area I would ask that they ask the Federal Agencies that gave City of Los Angeles funds to audit them.. lack of positions filled, instead City workers fill rather than take layoff.. that means possible overpayment in area of Salaries.
    There is alot of work to do. If we can move forward with a clean slate a new mind set, perhaps, to get to that point we need FBI over it ALL.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Either Ovrom is dumber than I think or the crook I know he is for releasing the “private” memo. It was a warning to the employees to shut up & reveal as little as possible.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Now that the FBI is involved, they should look at other scandals such as fraud by the CRA and others involving 1601 N Vine (Katersky), mid-Town Crossing (CIM Group), Kodak Theater HUD Loan, Councilmembers acting on behalf of Tutor Perini for the Airport Contract.

  11. Homeowner says:

    If the developers, contractors and inspectors involved are made known-and if any of them took part in signing off permits for my home-suing the City might be warranted. Aside from jail, this city seems to respond to lawsuits.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The dream outcome would be for the FBI to real in some small fry and have them rat out those at the top. That is how the FBI does it with the Mafia. And that is how they should do it with LA.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I totally agree with 9:34 pm.
    It is time. Let us storm City Hall

  14. “Where Does the Buck Stop?” – It stops in the mayor’s office. The same place where all those gifts ended up.
    Do you need directions and a contact numbers? Call 3-1-1. You may have to wait a while because staff is probably on furloughs or cut back to the point that they can’t handle the calls for assistance. People may also be calling for information on how to donate to the mayor’s criminal defense fund. Call 3-1-1.

  15. “Where Does the Buck Stop?” – It stops in the mayor’s office. The same place where all those gifts ended up.
    Do you need directions and a contact numbers? Call 3-1-1. You may have to wait a while because staff is probably on furloughs or cut back to the point that they can’t handle the calls for assistance. People may also be calling for information on how to donate to the mayor’s criminal defense fund. Call 3-1-1.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hope Bud Ovrom ends where he deserves to be. Even now he is protecting the corrupt Mayor & the corrupt city system. A few years in jail would awaken his moribund conscience and brain dead ethics.

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