mike feuer lied to us
feuer said he didn't know anything about an extortion scheme involving his office to keep the DWP scandal from leaking. but according to meeting records for when it was discussed, he was there.
It’s official. Mike Feuer’s life is over. He should start his political consulting business now, because he is definitely not going to be mayor of Los Angeles. Instead, he should be forced to go live on his Instagram and eat page-by-page the entire sham DWP billing lawsuit his office secretly drafted. My friend had another idea: He should be forced to announce himself like a sex offender everywhere he goes — “Hi I’m Mike Feuer and I have done a little fraud on you. I’m also running for mayor. Here’s your check for $58.31 reimbursing you for DWP overcharges.”
He’s been caught in a lie, a lie that he’s repeated for over three years. He said he knew nothing about the DWP litigation scandal that happened under his tenure as city attorney. He said he knew nothing about an extortion scheme signed off by his office to keep the scandal from leaking. Now we know, according to a local NBC investigation from last night, that that’s not true. NBC filed a Public Records Act request for Feuer’s calendar on December 1, 2017, the date which both federal prosecutors and a former Feuer official say the DWP extortion scheme was okay’d during a city meeting. And according to the meeting in question, Feuer was scheduled to be there.
And if he was there, this tells us that Feuer not only knew and was directing behind the scenes the collusive DWP billing debacle practically the whole time, but that as a government official, he might have acted criminally by aiding and abetting an extortion scheme. Damn daddy, no good. Here’s the segment:
Consumer Watchdog’s Jamie Court summed it up: “If he was in the room, he knew about it.”
The response to the NBC report from Feuer’s office wasn’t, “I wasn’t there,” but “Feuer goes to a lot meetings and doesn’t remember this one.” Soo Feuer might have been there, he just doesn’t remember a criminal scheme being talked about???
The government and two other former high-ranking city employees add credibility to the idea that he knew. Lemme explain more:
In 2017, someone at the city attorney’s office ordered one of its outside attorneys to pay a nearly $1 million extortion demand in order to bury information that would have blown open the DWP billing litigation scandal. This is according to a recent plea agreement between the government and one of Feuer’s former top officials, Thomas H. Peters. Peters this morning pleaded guilty to a federal crime of aiding and abetting extortion. He faces 20 years in jail. Peters said he was in that meeting as well.
According to that plea agreement, Peters met with other “senior members” of the City Attorney’s Office on December 1, 2017, and updated them on the status of a threat only named by prosecutors as “Person A.” Peters conveyed that “Person A” was a former longtime employee of Paul Kiesel, whom the city hired to litigate the DWP billing fiasco alongside Paul Paradis. Kiesel described “Person A’s” threats as “extortion.” Peters was directed to take care of the situation by a higher up, and he did, according to the plea agreement.
We didn’t know at the time which “senior officials” green-lit the scheme, but the only other senior officials were either Feuer or his deputy, Jim Clark. That Feuer at least knew about the scheme is backed up in a State Bar ethics complaint by Paradis. Now I know the credibility of someone facing jail time for bribery is sketchy, but Paradis also can’t just make up lies in this situation, as he is bound by a plea agreement and wants to get the lowest possible sentence.
In his complaint, Paradis produced a Dec. 1, 2017 text from Peters purportedly debriefing about the payoff scheme, saying “Mike is not firing anyone at this point. But he is far from happy about the prospect of a sideshow.”
Feuer’s spokesman Rob Wilcox, who doesn’t respond to me anymore, told the LA Times this (emphasis mine):
…Wilcox also said Feuer “knew nothing about the extortion threat and the [Dec. 1, 2017] text does not purport that he did.”
But that doesn’t answer: Why was Feuer scheduled to be at that meeting though? What was the meeting for?
According to Paradis, Feuer was really unhappy with the extortion demand, and unless Paradis and Kiesel took care of it, they would be fired. Paradis said Feuer and his deputies “could not tolerate the fact of the collusive settlement in the Jones v. City of Los Angeles class action becoming public,” according to his complaint.
This is on top of an already solid circumstantial case that Feuer knew about the collusive DWP billing settlement from the beginning. He said “I do not recall” over 60 times during his deposition about his role in DWP. But there are inconsistencies. Feuer testified that he didn’t remember being told about a tolling agreement with other attorneys suing the city over billing, but we know, according to emails from his chief deputy, that Feuer signed off on the plan. We know Feuer was interested in the amount of attorney fees in the billing class action, which mostly went to some attorney who happened to get looped into the right email chain and collected $10 million for doing nothing. I’ve talked to a lot of people over the past three years about whether he knew. You don’t get that high up in government without knowing what is going on, especially with such a high-profile case. From what I’ve heard he is a very hands-on manager. And look at the motive: he wanted to be mayor, and this was the biggest problem he had to solve as city attorney before he could get the big job.
On the campaign trail, Feuer has been serving up his go-to line of “we found evidence” of the bad conduct. He told this recently to KCRW Host Madeleine Brand, who herself said “there’s no indication in the FBI’s investigation and the DOJ’s filing” that Feuer knew about any of this. But if you look closely, there is an indication. And NBC’s reporting now brings that out to the light.
Some details from today’s court hearing. The government agreed with the judge’s assertion that “Paul Kiesel is a victim in this case,” referring to the extortion scheme. Referring to Peters, Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Mills said, “I do believe there is additional material we require from him.” Peters was requesting a pretty far out sentencing date for this reason. Does he have information to give to prosecutors regarding what Feuer knew? The government’s investigation is not over.
Feuer is the most deceptive type of politician. He speaks in a drone that doesn’t rise above 50 BPM. Everything blends together. It’s almost soothing. There’s a neat plan for everything. He really does seem to know how government works. But because he has manners and projects a diplomatic exterior, he doesn’t immediately raise red flags. But it’s BS. The public relations campaign to spin DWP and his mayoral run have been laid on thick. His campaign tweets about Black History Month, but meanwhile he presided over the defrauding of a black plaintiff. Feuer talks about “experience,” but it’s because of his 20 years of experience that LA is a mess. The scary thing in politics these days isn’t being ruled by brazen con artists like Donald Trump, or slick tech dystopians like Jeff Bezos. Those bad guys we can easily identify. Instead, it’s the boring men in suits that fly under the radar.
While Feuer is two years into his campaign for mayor (I’m serious. He announced right as the pandemic started), we’ve got to wonder: what is all this for? He seems to be running in an alternate timeline, visiting far away places such as the Pacific Palisades, buffet halls in the valley, and every public park across LA. And as he does this, the DWP corruption saga casts a larger shadow over him, although it’s almost never talked about in any deep way. He’s not polling well, and one-man gentrification machine Rick Caruso has leap frogged him in the race. Feuer’s hoping we’re too checked out to care. He’s counting on our ignorance. But all of this is becoming too hard to ignore, and the public is smarter than he thinks.