HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — The head of the union that represents most Los Angeles Department of Water and Power workers is still mum on $40 million in ratepayer funds that was spent on two nonprofit trusts.
KCAL9’s Dave Bryan reports that Brian D’Arcy, the leader of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 18, is refusing to release records subpoenaed by the city that could shed light on the controversy.
So far, he has not turned over the paperwork to City Controller Ron Galperin.
“We want to know exactly how that money has been spent and it’s a question of the people’s money. What’s important here are a couple things. Number one is transparency and government, and number two is about really reforming the DWP. And how do you do that when you have all these things happening behind the scenes that people don’t know about?” Galperin said.
Bryan stopped by IBEW Local 18’s Los Angeles headquarters on Friday, but was told D’Arcy wasn’t there.
D’Arcy, his union and the super PAC, Working Californians, has grown into a powerful force at City Hall.
Jack Humphreville, the president of the DWP Advocacy Committee, said, “Because of [D’Arcy’s] political power, people at the Department of Water and Power have been told to buzz off…because he has all sorts of political cover.”
Humphreville, who writes a Los Angeles Watchdog column for CityWatch, said D’Arcy, the union and the super PAC contributed heavily to Antonio Villaraigosa’s mayoral campaigns and generously supports city council campaigns, as well.
“I think 10 of the 15 members have been beneficiaries of his generosity. The other five have not, but they’re probably scared to death that D’Arcy will come down there and finance one of their opponents,” he said.
Raphael Sonenshein, the executive director of the Pat Brown Institute at Cal State L.A., warned it would be a big mistake to take D’Arcy lightly.
“D’Arcy should not be underestimated. He has a strong union, maybe one of the strongest unions in the city. He’s in a very tough spot now, he’s very much on the defensive, which he’s not used to being,” Sonenshein said.