LOS ANGELES (AP) — The former spokesman for the Los Angeles County Superior Court claims false rumors that he leaked information to a celebrity news website were used as pretext for his firing.
Allan Parachini was fired Monday after eight years of handling the media covering high-profile cases including those involving Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan.
Parachini, a former Los Angeles Times reporter, told the newspaper he met with court Executive Officer John A. Clarke on Oct. 25 and was told administrators had lost confidence in him because of a perception that he had leaked privileged materials to TMZ.
Parachini said in the report published Friday that he was not provided with specifics but Clarke said he talked too frequently with TMZ’s founder, Harvey Levin.
“I responded, ‘Guilty as charged. I talk to a lot of reporters on the phone. That’s my job,”‘ Parachini said.
He denied any impropriety and contended that the allegations were a “pretext” for his dismissal.
The real reason, Parachini claimed, was that court administrators wanted him to stonewall requests from the Times and the Bay Area News Group for what Parachini considered to be public information.
That included employee salary information, judicial spending reports and a copy of the county Sheriff’s Department contract to guard the court.
“The court as an institution doesn’t see itself as having an obligation to be an open institution of government as pertains to its fiscal and business operations,” Parachini said.
The information contained nothing damaging, Parachini said.
Court officials declined to comment on Parachini’s allegations or his dismissal.
“Neither (Presiding Judge Charles) McCoy nor Mr. Clarke will be speaking with anyone about the matter and we can’t discuss personnel matters,” acting court spokeswoman Mary Hearn told The Associated Press on Friday.
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