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Krekorian’s “Cold Day in Hell” Has Arrived – His Blustering Stand over Lawsuit Settlement Costs Taxpayers a Fortune

In the rubber-stamp LA City Council, there are posers and phonies, blusterers and know-nothings and then there is Paul Krekorian — the ambitious, articulate chief apologist given to creative use of his lawyer’s mind to defend the indefensible.

Back in April, Krekorian went ballistic sounding like a poser-phony-blustering know-nothing to drive one more negative headline into the heart of City Attorney Carmen Trutanich’s failing campaign for District Attorney.

Supported by the City Claims Board, Trutanich had recommended a $4.5 million settlement of a lawsuit filed by a ex-con gang member who in 2005 was left a quadriplegic with limited use of his hands when LAPD officers shot him multiple times in the back and side, mistaking in the darkness at night a cell phone in 19-year-old suspect’s hand for a gun.

The officers were cleared of wrongdoing by the Inspector General and the Police Commission but when the case went before a federal court civil jury in February, the verdict was unanimous:  The LAPD violated Robert Contreras’ civil rights and used excessive force on an unarmed man.

The judge excluded evidence of criminal history, membership in the Florencia 13 gang and similar evidence that could have been damaging to Contreras.

Given that, the unanimous verdict and the likelihood Contreras could be awarded $10 million or even more, Trutanich negotiated a $4.5 million settlement and recommended the Council approve it.

“It could always be more. That’s why you settle,” Chief Deputy City Attorney William Carter said at the time. “The jury ruled against us. Their lawyer is asking for a lot of money.”

Krekorian, newly appointed Budget Committee Chair, wouldn’t buy it persuaded a majority of the Council to back his view to reject the deal.

“It would be a cold day in hell when I would be supportive of giving a boatload of money to somebody who is involved in shooting at the citizens of Los Angeles,” Krekorian said. “I just think it’s fundamentally wrong.”

“We have almost 10,000 men and women in the police department, who on any given day could be put in a similar situation and could be faced with a life or death circumstance. It would send the wrong message to those officers if we said, despite all your training … if you shoot and a jury finds that somehow you violated the civil rights of the suspect of the case, we’re going to roll over and do what the jury says is right rather than what we think is right.”

He told an another reporter:

 ”It sends a terrible message to police officers … not just the two officers involved, but to every officer in the LAPD, who could be faced with the same sort of situation. I could never live with myself voting to support a payment to someone who put officers’ lives at risk. There’s a risk, no doubt about it. But this jury said it thinks these officers violated this man’s civil rights. And I think we should send a message that we think this jury is dead wrong.”

The risk was real enough alright.

Last week, a jury awarded Contreras $5.7 million with the judge likely to award fees to his attorneys that will bring the bill to about $2 million more than the settlement offer that Krekorian chose to reject.

Instead of admitting he made a mistake and wasted $2 million the city desperately as it slashed services to the public and tries to squeeze concession from city workers, Krekorian was unrepentant.

“If the city has to pay some more to show that we stood up and supported our police officers when they did nothing wrong then so be it,” Krekorian . “It’s money well spent.”

For his part, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called on the council to approve the settlement, saying through press secretary Peter Sanders: “As unfortunate as this may be, the city could have been liable for a significantly greater amount.

The next day Sanders sang a different tune: ”The mayor agrees with Councilman Krekorian that the claims board made a mistake in concurring with the city attorney that the $4.5 million settlement to a man convicted for participating in a drive by shooting was appropriate.  Given the facts in this case, we’d rather take our chances on appeal.”

So take your pick fewer books in the still partially closed libraries, more park closures, fewer firefighters — or maybe the mayor, Krekorian and the seven Council members who sided with them should do the honorable thing and cut their enormous staffs to cover the $2 million they cost taxpayers.

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21 Responses to Krekorian’s “Cold Day in Hell” Has Arrived – His Blustering Stand over Lawsuit Settlement Costs Taxpayers a Fortune

  1. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone noticed that we have the worst Mayor & City Council primarily due to Sacramento carpetbaggers who after mismanaging the state get another 12 years to bankrupt the city. We have too many of them and unless their wages are garnished they will continue to make political statements with taxpayer money. Please don’t elect anyone from Sacramento. They are lined up for the coming Council elections.

    • Sierra says:

      You description of Sacramento carpet baggers applies to Mike Feuer who was a City Councilman, went to Sacramento and even ran for City Attorney.

  2. anonymous says:

    …and same holds true for Council members
    who are migrating to Sacramento…
    garbage in…garbage out…

    • anonymous says:

      and look at Tony Cardenas…
      Sacramento assembly to LA council and now…
      aspiring to advance to Washington, DC…
      masochists…haven’t you suffered enough…?
      stop electing the same corrupt politicos…!

  3. Sierra says:

    This is the second time in a day that I am siding with Trutanich!
    Krekorian’s arrogance at the working class taxpayer’s expense is despicable.
    The Police don’t need a mufti-million dollar ego stroke.
    We can still thank them and compliment and make a financial decision to settle.

  4. Wayne from the most corrupt city since humans joined gangs says:

    Feuer is completely UNACCEPTABLE for a City Attorney. Dumbtanich is completely UNACCEPTABLE for a 2nd term as City Attorney. DWP jumped the rates 10% and King Herb I.’s son, Prince Gin-N’Tonic joins the long list of DUI-challenged City Hall insiders. What do we do with this race? What do we do with this City? My dream house in Ventura just was relisted after falling out of escrow. Hmmm???

    • J. Davis says:

      Trutanich is on track to save the city & taxpayers $230,000,000. He also goes after banks for illegal and deceptive practices, and fights for workers and their pensions. Keep in mind his budget has been slashed 15% (7mil) and he has about 70-100 less attorneys. And his offices tries 70% of the cases that the city has. He’s a fighter. And that’s exactly what this city needs.

  5. dntn observer says:

    Krekorian is such a disappointment. Started as a breath of fresh air. Smart, incisive, prepared, articulate. And what do we have now? Another sell out. Maria Elena has bought him like the rest of the stooges. DISGUSTING!

  6. David says:

    Ron, I rarely disagree with you, but this is one of those times. This disaster started in the Federal Court when the judge ruled that evidence of the gangmember’s criminal history would be kept from the jury. The spin that Trutanich put on that was that the judge’s decision was to blame. But the reality is that Trutanich was to blame. He should have put on a better and more robust argument that the evidence about the gang member having just participated in a drive-by shooting was relevant, and a better argument that his membership of a criminal street gang was relevant. Trutanich failed, probably because he was too busy running for District Attorney and not doing his highly paid job.

    The damage was done when Trutanich dropped the ball. Period. But it doesn’t end there. Trutanich’s decision to approve the $4.5M settlement had another motive – it would make the whole ugly mess go away with a check. By not settling the case it does look like LA ends up paying more than $4.5M, but here’s the difference. If LA had settled the case, there could be no appeal – let’s face it, this is a case that screams for a court of appeal to reverse the decision. By not settling, the jury’s award of $5.7M can be appealed and most likely it will either be reduced, or there could be a re-trial where hopefully a different City Attorney will not be asleep at the wheel and the relevance of the gangmember’s past will be better argued. In many ways, this case is similar to the Firefighter Dog Food case, remember that? Delgadillo was responsible for that mess just as much as Trutanich is responsible for this mess. I don’t think it is appropriate to blame Paul Krekorian for taking a stand against sloppy lawyering by Trutanich. I applaud him for doing it.

    I make no secret of the fact that I dislike Trutanich for the way he has let us all down, and I don’t think Mike Feuer will be any better. The former has become what the later is – a career politician. Our next City Attorney needs to be someone who knows how to do the job better than he or she knows how to mislead and misrepresent. I urge you and your readers to take a look at Greg Smith There is a better choice that a pair of washed up phonies.

  7. Teddy says:

    I find it interesting that we voters were not aware of the shenanigans
    until Ron Kaye brought up Laura Chick. Thank you, Ron. We
    appreciate you.

  8. Ricardo says:

    Oh HELL NO Ron on this one. The City should not settle with a gangster especially when crucial evidence was not heard by the jury. It makes the City look like pussies and every gangster will want to sue to get money. This low life thug is guilty as sin when you read the evidence jurors were not allowed to
    Items the jury was not allowed to hear during the trial:
    Plaintiff was a known gang member
    Plaintiff pled no contest to attempted murder for his involvement in the drive-by shooting that occurred just prior to him being shot by police
    The statement of another individual, arrested with the Plaintiff who stated all of the occupants in the drive-by van had guns
    Expert testimony on police tactics and psychological responses that would have demonstrated the reasonableness of the officers’ actions were not heard by jury

  9. MissAnthrope says:

    Fire the judge who refused to allow key evidence to be heard in his court!

  10. Wayne from the City with the stupidest Federal Judge. says:

    How can a Judge decide that a Gang-banger’s terrorist’s activities are not to be weighed in deciding a money award? Part of a damage claim for permanent disability is WHAT THE EARNINGS CAPACITY IN A LEGITIMATE TRADE OR JOB WOULD BE! This thugs job was what? GANG-BANGING, DRUG-DEALING, DRIVE-BYs, and TAGGING? I bet this Clown Judge goes home to a guard gated community and craps his pants when he hears a small noise in the dark! Yet he’s just fine allowing this creep to get his grimy hands on 6 MILLION dollars of our tax money to do exactly what with? Set up a homeless shelter? Someone needs to tell this A-Hole Judge one thing:
    You don’t give A DIME to urban terrorists! If the cops shoot them up, SO BE IT! If they shoot hard working decent law abiding citizens, THEN YOU SHOW WHAT THE CHARACTER OF THE PLAINTIFF IS, and PAY BIG FOR THAT KIND OF CRAP SO IT DOESN’T HAPPEN AGAIN. But if the Plaintiff was some kind of trash like this, GIVE THE COPS AWARDS and give the lawsuit the big fat BOOT. Maybe this thug got shot up BECAUSE OF HIS BAD KARMA.
    DUMBTANICH should resign for ever considering giving this piece of slime one dime.
    KROOKORIAN MIGHT JUST FILE AND RUN FOR CITY ATTORNEY HIMSELF! If he would fight giving these thugs money, then I’d hold my nose and vote for him.
    Kevin James always said Krookorian was ready to jump to City Attorney. So now we’ll see…

  11. George says:

    Judges only rule on the evidence that is presented to them. It looks like Trutanich was at fault here because it is hard to imagine any judge excluding this type of evidence. Trutanich used to meet with his lawyers before every significant case, but I guess he had to stop that when his time was required for his DA campaign. These lawyers were not properly prepared or supervised because their boss was too busy measuring the windows at the DAs office for new curtains instead of taking care of the business of protecting the taxpayers of LA. We should investigate Trutanich to see if he can be made to reimburse the city for what his incompetence has cost us.

  12. Wayne from the City with the stupidest Federal Judge and City Attorney says:

    George—GREAT POINTS! It would be interesting to see how much time while as City Attorney Carmen “Gaga” Dumbtanich spent running for D.A! Then he should reimburse the City for that portion of his salary and staff expenses for those hours. You’re right—if Gaga had supervised the underlings, maybe they would of DEFENDED the COPS who did what they had to do—get SCUMBAGS off our streets and away from other kids. Cops have to know if they REASONABLY believe a shaved headed tatooed terrorist has a gun in his paws and is running away TO COMMIT FURTHER CRIMES WITH IT then if they shoot and stop the thug and LATER find there wasn’t a deadly weapon that the City will back up the Department.
    Another law that should pass is that when these Judges and Jurists give these terrorists these jury awards, they should be required to live South of the 10 freeway in Mid-Los Angeles Area for a year! Let’s see these “enlightened” Liberal thinkers dial 911 and hear “For English, press 1…Hello, you have called NON-emergency 911. If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911…” like I did in Koreatown on July 4th evening when the entire Downtown area was being fired upon with firecrackers and rockets courtesy of these lovely shaved headed THUGS.
    See, these overpaid, over glorified Judges don’t live in L.A. They live in Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, or Marina Del Rey where they have 911 service AND Federal Marshall service. They don’t live on the same Planet as all of us do.
    On July 4th, 2012 the City of L.A. THROUGH IN THE TOWEL and put 911 ON NON-EMERGENCY HOLD! They were so overwhelmed with calls of people being attacked with fireworks being shot at their cars, windows, and pets that the City couldn’t handle it. Picture that 24/7. One City Councilman has proof of it too.
    Our Courts are being used to parade a paralyzed 19 year old “victim” as some kind of hero vs. the “big bad cops.” The Jury didn’t get the whole story. They weren’t allowed to hear the whole story. Every Cop who has ever been wounded on our City Streets should get 5 minutes each if they desire to tell this Judge and Jury WHAT TIME IT IS! It’s time to START respecting Cops who really do their job on these deadly streets in the worst parts of town!

  13. Tyndon Clusters says:

    Wayne, as usual, thanks for the delusional incoherent ramblings of a madman. Wayne is proof of the terrible repeal of laws in the 80s which let the mentally ill roam freely among us.

  14. Tyndon Clusters says:

    Sorry, I apologize for the above.

  15. RJ says:

    You people are giving carmen too much credit….he himself is not a “trial atty” ; how could he have helped? He has surrounded himself with “yes” men with criminal not civil backrounds! & he
    lies about his atty’s track record in trial. If his lips are moving. ….be suspicios.

  16. Wayne from the Most Corrupt City in America says:

    Carmen was in fact a prosecutor and a very successful CIVIL litigator. Thus, he knows full well he is selling out the Cops in this City in favor of paying up to shills like this gang- banger. Carmen and his fellow insiders have an army of cops and security with them 24/7. Thus, these pukes know THE STREETS ARE DANGEROUS. Yet, rather than do their job and clean up the streets of these thugs, they pay them when they get ACCIDENTALLY shot in what was most definitely a LEGITIMATE arrest by the Cops. Things in this Country are reverting back to the Dark Ages when the well healed and wealthy put up moats and sat in castles high above the hills while the rest lived in danger and squalor. In many areas of L.A. I’ve seen a marked improvement in the way the Cops are getting these shaved headed douchebags off the streets. If these Liberal Federal Judges had their way, the only safe place to live free of these thugs would be Malibu, Beverly Hills, and Cheviot Hills!
    Carmen knows what he did…he SOLD OUT EVERYONE TO RUN FOR D.A. INCLUDING THE LAPD! Best the LAPD not write all those checks to those at City Hall who help pay gang bangers huge monetary awards.

    • J. Davis says:

      Wayne is it? Actually sir you need to check the facts. Trutanich is actually on track for about $200-230,000,000 saved for the city. Because he knows what a jury is going to do. What about another case he won and the entire city council told him to settle. They were pissed at him and he made a lot of enemy’s because he WOULD NOT SETTLE. He defended the city and the COPS. The city was willing to award some guy Millions even though he was in the wrong. But he saved the city millions. In fact if you check the record, or do as I’ve done call up the offices and request a history of cases/trials. Or request his record. It’s pretty bad A$$! Trutanich 2013

  17. Anonymous says:

    Krekorian is a big phony. If he was truly interested in public service’ he’d have stayed in his sacramento job he was elected for. The dumb city electorates allowed LA Councilmembers to make more money, & that’s where this phony politician headed for. He has the gift of the gab and nothing more. He is as greedy as the 14 others. Get rid of them all.

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