Inviting powerful DWP union boss for a drink

The district attorney's office has reportedly renewed its interest in two foundations funded with $40 million in DWP ratepayer money. But the union chief appears unperturbed.

You can add the Los Angeles County district attorney's office to the long list of agencies and public officials going after one of the most powerful political players in the city.

A D.A. source told me Tuesday that prosecutors have renewed their interest in getting their hands on records being withheld by Brian D'Arcy, head of the largest union representing employees at the Department of Water and Power.

The D.A.'s office is working with City Controller Ron Galperin to figure out the "best way to obtain and examine" the records, I'm told. The goal is to determine whether there has been any criminal activity in connection with $40 million in ratepayer money that went to two nonprofit institutes aimed at promoting worker safety and training. D'Arcy has steadfastly refused to account for the money since city officials began demanding information last September.

That's right, we're five months into the standoff. It's been three weeks since the city served a subpoena that D'Arcy is fighting in court, arguing that the institutes he oversees are exempt from having to comply.

It'd be one thing if he was stonewalling about $40 million in union dues. But that money came from DWP customers.

And if that doesn't fry you, try this:

Not even the DWP knows how the money was spent.

That's right, the electric company is in the dark.

This is like having the police or recreation department tell us yeah, they know we paid our taxes, but as for how they spent $40 million, our guess is as good as theirs.

Judging by how he's handled this thing so far, I kind of doubt that D'Arcy is trembling over the D.A.'s interest in him. The city controller, the DWP commission, the DWP general manager who just quit in frustration and the media have all asked D'Arcy to produce the documents, and he's had the same response for all of us.

Stuff it.

I want you ratepayers to know I've done my best to get the goods, making a standing offer to D'Arcy. If he agrees to an on-the-record conversation, I will bring his favorite cocktail.

D'Arcy has told me he likes a nice Guinness stout with a Jameson sidecar.

You busy right now, Brian? Wherever you are, I'll bring the party.

Absent Mr. D'Arcy's cooperation, I've been trying to reach out to his membership, Local 18 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

First I called and asked DWP employees what they thought about the way D'Arcy was handling this.

But I got stiffed.

Then I circled the utility's headquarters up on Hope Street, hoping someone would give me a comment, send up a smoke signal, anything.

Zilch.

"I have no comment," one woman said as she skated past me, and she was one of the talkative ones.

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