Friday, November 9, 2012

Controversy Brewing in Huntington Park Over Water District, City Attorney

Here is a link to my appearance on SoCal Connected. 

Here are a few excerpts:

Gonzales: But soon the chorus of jeers turned towards this man, the city attorney, Francisco Leal.
Gonzales: Francisco Leal has made millions as an attorney for Huntington Park and other southeast L.A. cities. He's moved from town to town for years, often serving as lobbyist and a contract city attorney. And sometimes, controversy followed him. In 2005, he was terminated from his job as lobbyist and city attorney of Commerce. He settled with the city and agreed to pay $70,000. Questions about his firm have been raised in places like Lynwood and Alhambra, but not in Huntington Park. Since 2000, the city has paid Leal’s various firms over $4 million to be a lobbyist, the city attorney, and legal counsel for the city's redevelopment department.
Levinson: So we have one person who is simultaneously a consultant, which is an undefined grey term in this situation, a lobbyist that seems to look like a consultant, and an attorney. And it’s just not only the same person wearing all these hats, but wearing them for various parties that are all involved in the same litigations. There are too many relationships going on here.
Levinson: Lawyers put things in writing all the time, this is kind of our bread and butter. Not all of what we do is just a handshake or a wink and a nod, particularly when it comes to ethical duties, when it comes to duties of loyalty, when it comes to confidential information.

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