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Investigative

City Council Reacts To DWP Investigative Report

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A DWP worker drinks a can wrapped in what appears to be a paper towel while on duty.
David_Goldstein_08062010 David Goldstein
Investigative Reporter David Goldstein is the current recipient of the...
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LOS ANGELES – In an exclusive undercover investigation, we exposed workers at Los Angeles’ powerful DWP going to strip clubs and drinking booze on your dime.

Our report was the talk of city hall Friday. After reluctantly approving a rate hike for DWP customers earlier this week, city councilmembers were shocked to see what we uncovered with our hidden cameras.

“It was horrifying to see.”

“They need to be fired.”

That’s some of the reaction to our undercover investigation, which caught DWP workers drinking and driving city trucks and going to a strip club while on duty.

We followed some DWP employees for three months, documenting them buying large cans of beer. They wrapped the cans in white paper towels and proceeding to drink and drive down city streets.

But when we asked them, they all denied it.

Councilman Greg Smith said we have exposed the hidden culture of the DWP.

“I think this is going to bring to the forefront, the DWP needs to get control of its workforce and those people need to be fired,” Smith said.

Similar comments came from former DWP General Manager David Freeman.

“I am shocked and if all that is true, they ought to be fired,” Freeman said.

The DWP has opened an investigation into what we have uncovered.

“We’re doing a full investigation. We have a process in place. All the senior management have assured me it will be done and we’ll see the full information when they’ve done that,” DWP General Manager Austin Beutner said.

But some are calling for an independent investigation.

“I would like to see a third party investigate the department, somebody outside to see how widespread this is and make sure this is nipped in the bud,” L.A. City Councilmember Eric Garcetti said.

Despite the calls for firings and an independent investigation, the DWP says it will take a complete look at what we uncovered and expects to have some findings in 30 to 60 days.

The department has a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol and the employees could be fired.

We exposed workers at Los Angeles’ powerful DWP going to strip clubs and drinking booze on your dime. Now city councilmembers are reacting. David Goldstein reports.

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