Reporting David Goldstein
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — In an exclusive CBS2 investigative report, David Goldstein exposes a Los Angeles city employee drinking on the job — on L.A. taxpayers’ dime.
The man is not just an employee, but a supervisor for the city’s General Services Department, earning nearly $76,000 last year in taxpayer money.
Goldstein, along with CBS2 undercover cameras, watched the worker over a series of days as he traveled to various job sites in his city truck, working as a cement supervisor.
On those days, they also found him frequenting a liquor store in Lincoln Heights.
One day at 8:45 a.m., a CBS2 undercover producer caught the worker on hidden camera buying 4 small bottles of brandy.
His shift began three hours earlier.
Cameras followed as he walked out of the store, got in his city truck and drove away.
At 9:25 that morning, he arrived at the mayor’s house.
That’s right. Less than 45 minutes after coming out of the liquor store, the city employee showed up for work at Getty House, the official city residence of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
As the mayor’s driver waited for him outside, the worker supervised others who were constructing a wall around the house.
The mayor left in his car after walking past the city worker, who had just bought booze while collecting taxpayers’ money.
And that wasn’t the only time.
On another day, CBS2’s undercover camera caught the worker again buying at the liquor store.
He then left in his city truck and pulled over on a quiet street.
There, cameras saw him take a drink while parked on the side of the road. A minute later he put the city truck in gear and drove away.
Two hours later the supervisor was back at work at the mayor’s mansion.
And that wasn’t the only thing CBS2 caught him doing on city time.
On yet another day, the city worker stopped at a house and picked up a man and young girl. He drove them in the truck, which is against city policy.
Another time he picked up someone else, who then went into a liquor store and bought three small bottles of alcohol.
When that person left the liquor store, the supervisor was waiting for him in the city truck.
Finally, on Oct. 11 CBS2’s undercover producer videotaped the city worker in the liquor store at 6 a.m. buying three bottles.
A few hours later, the worker was seen driving the city truck while drinking from a small bottle. That’s the first time CBS2 saw the worker drinking and driving. It was then that Goldstein decided to confront him.
“You’re buying alcohol in here,” said Goldstein. “We’ve been following you for weeks at a time, buying alcohol, driving the city truck, sometimes drinking and driving. How do you explain that?”
“No, I’m not,” said the city worker. “No, I’m not.”
“Yes, you are,” said Goldstein. “We have it on video — days and days of it. We have video of you drinking and going to work at the mayor’s house.”
Goldstein and his crew then went to the worker’s bosses to tell them what they saw.
Goldstein offered to show them the video. They declined, claiming it was a personnel matter, but did open an investigation.
Mayor Villaraigosa looked at the tape.
“It is wrong. We don’t condone that kind of behavior,” said Villaraigosa. “There should be consequences for it. In this case, as I understand it, he is seeking medical help.”
The mayor’s office confirmed that within hours of Goldstein’s confrontation with the worker, he was seeking medical help. That could save his job under city policy. But councilman Herb Wesson said it could save a lot more.
“Maybe what you’ve done, you could have saved the guy’s life,” said Wesson. “He could have been drunk, drive, hurt somebody else, kill somebody else.”
Councilman Eric Garcetti said it’s not just this one worker’s fault, but others’.
“Certainly there’s a failure of supervision to do this,” said Garcetti. “If he’s able to do this all day, why didn’t somebody notice this?”
That’s the big question, and the concern. If one city employee is able to get away with it, how many others may be out there?
David Goldstein, CBS 2 News