Mayor Eric Garcetti disavows appointee's letter trashing LADWP audit

Mayor Eric Garcetti 'disagrees' with DWP general manager's criticism of city auditors

A spokesman for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Friday said the mayor "disagrees" with a letter the general manager of the city's Department of Water and Power co-wrote attacking an audit that uncovered questionable spending by ratepayer-funded trusts associated with the utility.

The letter, written by utility general manager Marcie Edwards and released with the audit Thursday night, offered a curious spectacle: The official Garcetti hand-picked to "reform" the utility allying with a powerful union leader to try to undermine a city audit for which the mayor himself had expressed support.

The audit, performed by City Controller Ron Galperin over the resistance of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 Business Manager Brian D'Arcy, found that a handful of employees at the trusts had used credit cards financed with ratepayers' money for $660,000 of expenses including steak dinners and trips to Las Vegas and Hawaii. One administrator charged $30,000 worth of gas to his trust-issued credit card between 2010 and 2014.

But Edwards, in a letter co-signed with D'Arcy, chose to assail the auditors rather than the activity they brought to light.

Edwards and D'Arcy wrote that Galperin's audit was "littered with accusatory innuendo and peppered with contradictory statements." The letter also said that city auditors "seem more intent on casting aspersions on the management of the trusts and conjuring up baseless accusations about nonexistent malfeasance than they are with getting their facts right."

On Friday afternoon, Garcetti spokesman Jeff Millman said in an email that the mayor does not share those sentiments.

"We disagree with the letter and support Galperin's audit," Millman wrote in response to questions from The Times. "We demanded an audit and helped create the pressure that led to these audits. As a result of these audits, ratepayers can finally follow the money at these trusts."

Millman said Garcetti, who was spending time with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan during Abe's visit to L.A. on Friday, would not be available to comment on the letter or the findings of the audit.

Millman said Garcetti supports the recommendations Galperin makes in the audit, such as establishing better oversight of the trusts' spending and merging the two trusts into a single organization to improve their efficiency.

@petejamison

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