29_35x90 knx_35x90

Investigative

DWP Workers Caught Drinking, Driving On The Job

View Comments
dwp_worker_drinking_100429
David_Goldstein_08062010 David Goldstein
Investigative Reporter David Goldstein has been honored with the 2013...
Read More

LOS ANGELES – A CBS 2 investigation caught DWP workers drinking and driving on the job and going to strip clubs. This is the same agency that just raised electric rates and gave their workers a raise.

Linemen earn near six-figure salaries from the DWP — taxpayer money to work on the power lines. It is hard work when the weather cooperates, but when it rains, they can’t work on the poles. They are supposed to work in the yard.

But we found some of them go from hanging on the power poles to hanging out near the stripper poles.

With our hidden camera we watched three DWP employees park their truck right on the street. Then get frisked before being allowed to enter the Alameda Strip — a strip club on Alameda Street.

They left their uniforms on the front seat when they arrived at 12:35 p.m.

Inside it was too dark for our hidden camera to see exactly what they were doing, but the strip club advertises girls and serves alcohol.

A former DWP employee, who would only talk if we concealed his identity, said that he has been inside many times with other DWP workers.

David Goldstein: “So it’s pretty common on rainy days?”

Former DWP Employee: “I guess so. It’s maybe tradition.”

David Goldstein:
“Did you ever see any of them have lap dances?”

Former DWP Employee:
“Yes.”

David Goldstein: “Yes. On taxpayer money while they’re getting paid.”

Former DWP Employee: “Yes.”

David Goldstein:
“They’re getting a lap dance.”

Former DWP Employee:
“Correct.”

David Goldstein: “Drinking in the strip bar?”

Former DWP Employee:
“Yes.”

David Goldstein: “Watching the girls, obviously?”

Former DWP Employee:
“Yes.”

Almost an hour later one worker comes out of the strip club and appears to relieve himself outside the truck. As the rain comes down he falls asleep in the cab.

The other two were observed pounding on the door at 2:45 p.m. to wake their partner up after being inside the strip club for more than two hours.

They drove back to the yard to end their day. We caught up with one of the men, who’s first name is Santiago.

David Goldstein:
“How do you guys get away with going to a strip club for hours at a time?”

Santiago: “I got nothing to say to you.”

David Goldstein:
“How come?”

Santiago: “It’s not true. None of that (expletive) is true.”

David Goldstein:
“None of it true?”

Santiago: “No.”

David Goldstein: “I got video, we got you going into the strip club.”

On sunny days we followed Santiago and others buying beer while on duty. We taped them parking their trucks outside a liquor store on 59th Street and Figueroa. They then walked inside without wearing any uniforms.

Inside we had an undercover producer with a hidden camera, documenting them buying large cans of beer, grabbing the cans paying the clerk and walking back to the truck.

As soon as they got back to the truck, we watched as they wrapped the cans in white paper towels before taking a drink.

Then they drove away and proceeded to drink and drive.

We drove our undercover van in front, as we videotaped them doing it again and again. Driving while drinking alcohol is of course is illegal; it’s even a violation for the passenger to have an open container of beer in a moving vehicle. But we saw them drinking, as well — all of this while driving city trucks while on duty.

We showed the video to Okorie Okorocha, an attorney and nationally-known DUI expert.

“This is extremely dangerous,” Okorocha said. “He could easily kill several people because of the size of his vehicle and his delayed reaction time and the fact that he is driving on a busy street.”

On another day we found some DWP employees at a picnic, sitting in lawn chairs at 2 p.m. in a park in Boyle Heights, earning taxpayer money. We again observed them drinking from cans with paper towels wrapped around them.

“Taxpayer money and you guys are sitting here having a picnic and drinking beers,” I asked them. But when we arrived they scattered and denied drinking beer, including one guy, who we had videotaped drinking and driving weeks earlier.

David Goldstein:
“We caught you drinking a couple of weeks ago.”

DWP Employee: “Who?”

David Goldstein:
“You. You were drinking and driving. You wrapped the can in white paper and you were drinking and driving.”

DWP Employee:
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Our cameras caught one DWP employee with some liquid dripping out of a canvas bag. He claimed it was not from a beer can and did not know that we had already caught him with a hidden camera the day before buying beers.

David Goldstein:
“We videotaped you guys doing this.”

DWP Employee: “You got proof?”

David Goldstein: “Yes, we got videotape.”

DWP Employee: “Well then go show the proof then.”

You can watch the video accompanying this report. It shows the employee buying two large cans of beer at a liquor store around noon while on duty. Then he walked to his truck and they drove away for their lunch break.

“You want to look at video,” I asked Santiago. Be he didn’t want to see himself caught on tape.

His partner drove away when he saw our cameras, leaving Santiago on the street to answer questions.

“Why you leave me dude,” Santiago said while holding a wireless phone.

“How do you guys get away with going to a strip club for hours at a time on taxpayer money,” I asked.

But he didn’t have much to say and didn’t seem to care.

David Goldstein: “What do you think the mayor is going to say about this, Santiago? I’m going to show him the tape.”

Santiago: “I don’t give a (expletive) what you do.”

Well we showed the tape to the mayor, who shook his head in disbelief at what we uncovered.

“It’s very surprising; it just kind of boggles the mind,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said, adding,” You know, even if you weren’t undercover, people could see you, they could report that. I mean the fact that they would do this in the truck. But we will investigate this and we’re going to take it very seriously. I hope you follow the investigation, because I think it’s important for the public to see that at some point, folks who do this during their work hours will be disciplined and have to be accountable for that.”

The DWP declined our invitation to look at the hidden camera videos. They have started an investigation into what we uncovered. The DWP has a zero-tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol. If workers have been found to violate the policy, they can be fired.

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus