(Editor’s note: Mike Feuer is running to be the next Los Angeles mayor. Corruption has been uncovered in the City Attorney’s office, which Feuer has headed since 2013. He claims he was unaware of the criminal activity.
Some residents question Feuer’s ability to run a city, if he said he knew nothing about what was going on in his department. At least one resident thinks Feuer did know, and those facts will eventually come out. We leave it to residents to decide.)
The story starts:
- DWP rolls out a billing system in 2013, even though the state controller says it is not ready.
- There are massive consumer complaints and, in 2014, there are numerous threats of class-action lawsuits.
The City Attorney’s office decides that a figurehead for the lawsuit, Antwon Jones, will be selected — and lawyers, including Paul Paradis, will help arrange a settlement that is favorable to the DWP.
- It is uncovered that the lawsuit was rigged and Judge Elihu Berdoe fines the City $2.5 million and a new class-action lawsuit is started.
- Pricewaterhouse Cooper, which unveiled the initial DWP billing system, was initially sued by Feuer, but then as the law firm continued to take depositions, including Feuer’s, the lawsuit is dropped by the City Attorney.
In March 2019, Paul Paradis began working covertly with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in an investigation into the corruption at the L.A. DWP and the City Attorney’s office.
Although Paradis entered a guilty plea in 2021 for his participation in the orchestrated action that defrauded DWP customers, he continued to cooperate with the FBI.
In January, Paradis filed an ethics complaint with the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission against nearly a dozen current and former LADWP attorneys and top officials.
In February, Paradis filed specifically against Feuer with State Bar officials, alleging that Feuer had aided and abetted extortion and committed perjury.
In a 2019 sworn deposition testimony, Feuer was asked “Is it your understanding that Mr. Paradis hid his conduct in regard to working with Mr. Landsrkoner from attorneys within your office.”
“Yes,” Feuer said.
“What do you base that on,” the lawyer asked.
“Because I knew nothing about the conduct. . . The first time I was aware that Mr. Kiesel or Mr. Paradis, or both of them, engaged in conduct that included in any manner assisting in the filing of the Jones versus DWP case was when the documents that we’ve already made reference to were transmitted to me . . . for review, was April 24 , I believe, or something around that date.”
Unfortunately for Feuer, former Chief Los Angeles Assistant City Attorney Thomas Peters said he met with Feuer on December 17 and told Feuer that a person would make the documents public that showed the City colluded with Antwon Jones — unless $800,000 was paid.
According to Peters, who worked with the City Attorney from 2014 to 2019, Feuer had asked “What are the very, very worst documents out there that we’ve created that would most likely lead to embarrassment or serve as a basis for somebody’s allegations that there was some conflict . . . anything from the pinnacle or standpoint of ethics?”
Peters, the man directly under Feuer, pled guilty in January of one federal count of aiding and abetting extortion.
Feuer rapidly denounced Peters, a Pacific Palisades resident, saying “At no time until today was I aware of Mr Peters’ illegal actions. With his admission of wrongdoing, we finally know the truth of what happened.”
But in Peters’ plea agreement, it is noted that Feuer “directed [Peters] to take care of the situation” by having [attorney] Paul Kiesel pay the extortion demand.”
To date, four people involved have pleaded guilty: former LADWP General Manager David Wright, former LADWP senior Cyber Official David Alexander, attorney Paul Paradis and former L.A. City Attorney Thomas Peters.
Note: State Bar complaints are confidential, but Paradis’ complaint became public after it was filed in his ongoing bankruptcy case in Arizona.