LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that he is OK with millions of DWP ratepayer dollars going to charities over the past three years. But in an interview, he seemed to indicate that it was wrong for city officials to sit on the board of one charity that we discovered was getting public money.
On Tuesday, CBS2 Investigative Reporter David Goldstein exposed the LA Department of Water and Power giving away millions in customer money.
Here is a full script of Goldstein’s followup story:
“Where’s there a direct conflict i don’t think people should be serving on those boards?”
But we found that Martin Adams, the No. 2 person at DWP, is vice president of the board of directors for the Council for Watershed Health, an environmental nonprofit that received at least $220,000 in ratepayer money from the DWP last year.
“Do you think it’s a conflict of interest that you sit on the board and hundreds of thousands of dollars is going to that nonprofit?”
“No, not at all.”
But political ethics expert Bob Stern thinks it’s a problem.
“You don’t want someone on the board of directors when that person is in charge of giving money to that organization.”
And now the mayor seems to agree.
“Do you see a problem with that?”
“I think we shouldn’t have conflicts. If we’re giving money away from DWP, probably people shouldn’t be serving on those boards.”
And Adams isn’t the only one.
Enrique Zaldivar, the director of LA Sanitation, is also listed as a director of the Council for Watershed Health.
We found Sanitation gave the council more than $200,000 in taxpayer money for contract to do work for the city last year.
Again Garcetti seemed to indicate it shouldn’t happen.
“Should they be serving on it?”
“It’s my preference that people have no appearance of any impropriety, even though this is money going to a good place to reduce our water and water rates.”
But, the mayor’s office backtracked, saying the mayor expects all city employees to uphold the highest ethical standards, and that nothing in this report suggests that they failed to do so here.
So, it’s unclear if he wants these people to step down.
Sanitation says they’re reviewing any potential conflict, and so far DWP hasn’t responded.