Former City Attorney Feuer Obstructed Justice

Feuer ran for Mayor for L.A. but was not one of the top two candidates. Now he is under scrutiny for his actions while serving as City Attorney.

There’s an old saying “the chickens come home to roost” meaning the consequences of doing wrong always catches up with the wrong doer.

Finally, former L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer, who ran unsuccessfully for Mayor (2022) and U.S. Congress (2024), could face criminal charges and disbarment for his part in the Department of Water and Power (DWP) billing scandal.

Feuer, who served in the California Assembly, represented L.A. Council’s 5th District and then worked as City Attorney for 10 years, maintains his innocence.

In a statement on May 17, 2024, to the L.A. Times, he denied that he was aware of any collusion in the handling of the litigation over the flawed billing system.

“Any claim that I tried to conceal it is absurd,” Feuer said. “I cooperated fully with the U.S. Attorney’s staff and I’m glad they ultimately obtained all the actual facts.”

The story dates back to 2013, when DWP paid for a new billing system that was developed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The billing was rolled out prematurely, despite a warning from the State Auditor that the system would not work.

The system was a disaster. Residents started complaining and several class action lawsuits were filed.

The City Attorney’s office, under Feuer, sued PwC, alleging that the malfunctioning system was PwC’s fault.

To deal with the many customer class action lawsuits, the City Attorney’s office came up with the idea for a “friendly” class action lawsuit.

A “friendly” lawsuit meant that City chose the person and the lawyers, Jones v City, in order to receive a more agreeable settlement, which is unethical.

The fraudulent lawsuit was eventually exposed but not before attorneys for the City, at the direction of Mike Feuer, had paid millions in legal fees and $800,000 in extortion to a secretary working for one of the City’s outside counsel, Paul Kiesel.

Paul Paradis wore a wire for the FBI.

Attorney Paul Paradis, the attorney hired by the City to prepare a complaint against itself and PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), agreed to plead guilty and then in April 2019, went undercover for the FBI and the U. S. Attorney’s Office. Over the next 15 months, Paradis met with top city and DWP officials and made tapes, and video recordings – while wired. He turned the information over to the FBI.

Feuer, reminiscent of Sergeant Shultz’s Hogan’s Heroes “I see nothing, I hear nothing and I say NOTHING,” claimed he had no knowledge of the plans for a friendly lawsuit – even while four people he worked with were charged.

Thomas Peters

They included Paul Paradis, who pled guilty to a bribery charge for accepting an illicit kickback of $2.2 million. David Alexander who pled guilty to a single count in a plea agreement with the United States District Court for making false statements. David Wright pled guilty to federal charges of conspiracy and bribery in December 2021 and was sentenced to six years in federal prison in April. Thomas Peters, who worked in the L.A. City Attorney’s office pled guilty to one count of aiding and abetting extortion,

This past February, Consumer Watchdog and the Los Angeles Times sought to unseal the FBI documents regarding the DWP case, which totaled more than 1,400 pages.

“The government documents show that Feuer lied early and lied often,” said Consumer Watchdog Litigation Director Jerry Flanagan, who received 33 warrants turned over by the Department of Justice as part of their now closed criminal investigation in the City Attorney’s Office.

“The government documents paint a disturbing picture of Feuer conspiring to obstruct justice and ordering an extortion payment to cover up illegal and unethical activity in order to protect his political career,” Flanagan said.

In the unsealed documents, the evidence uncovered by the FBI suggests:

  • Feuer not only knew about the collusive nature of the 2015 Jones v. City of Los Angeles billing lawsuit earlier than he maintained he did, but he also knew about and directed an extortion payment to conceal it. Pages 750, 769
  • Feuer made false or misleading statements to government investigators about his knowledge of the payment as well as his knowledge of the collusive lawsuit. Page 1161
  • Feuer directed the City Attorney’s office to withhold documents from a California court that would have revealed the collusive nature of the Jones litigation. Page 799
  • Feuer gave false or misleading testimony in a civil deposition and lied to the FBI about the timeline of when he knew about the collusive nature of the Jones lawsuit. Page 804
  • Feuer was in the room during a December 1, 2017, discussion of the extortion payment, in which Feuer “impliedly directed” one of his top officials to ensure the payment demand was “confidentially settle[d]”. Page 769

Circling the News first wrote about this in September 2021 when local lawyer David Peterson told this editor that the City had filed a $100 million lawsuit against PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for installing a faulty billing system. It was attorneys for PwC that discovered that the City had drafted a complaint against itself to get less for the ratepayers click here.

“Our community and City owes a great thank you to Consumer Watchdog for their dogged pursuit to uncover the appalling misconduct and corruption of the City Attorney’s Office and Mike Feuer in connection with the LADWP scandal,” Peterson said in a May 18 email to CTN. “Mr. Feuer oversaw the City’s filing and an almost overnight favorable settlement of a class action against itself to undercut already pending class actions filed on behalf of DWP customers.

“Mr. Feuer spent millions of dollars in outside attorney fees in a lawsuit blaming PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for the implementation of the LADWP’s faulty billing system,” Peterson said. “PwC’s outside law firm, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher discovered what the City was up to and Mr. Feuer, who had paid millions of dollars to outside law firms to pursue PwC, dismissed his highly touted lawsuit.

“In the course of doing this, Mr. Feuer also directed a top Deputy in his office, Thom Peters, to pay $800,000 to a city paralegal, who had threatened to tell the Court and Gibson Dunn that the City had sued itself.  As a result, Mr. Peters was charged with a crime, lost his job and pled guilty. He was sentenced to jail.

“This is only part of the story and it would be totally buried if not for the skilled tenacity of Consumer Watchdog,” Peterson said.

FBI Documents were unsealed thanks to a public records request. by Consumer Watchdog.

 

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2 Responses to Former City Attorney Feuer Obstructed Justice

  1. JUDITH a SWERLING says:

    I really appreciate how plain speaking CTN is about really stinky behaviors both in the Palisades and more widely when those behaviors directly affect Palisadians.
    Feuer always seemed pretty stinky to me. I’m sadly not surprised that he got away with so much for so long.

  2. gilbert dembo says:

    Thank you for the up date on why we pay so much for power & water

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