Councilman to Propose Terminating Prosecutor Mehta

Councilman Lou Lopez will propose at Tuesday's City Council meeting to terminate the services of independent prosecutor Ravi Mehta. Lopez will also propose hiring a local attorney to take over Mehta's investigations in hopes of saving the city money.

To date, Mehta, paid $250 an hour, has billed the city about $118,000 for his work.

"I'm not questioning Mr. Mehta's work ethics, I'm addressing concerns of the citizens of the high cost," Lopez said.

Mehta, who lives in Sacramento, has already investigated alleged campaign-law violations by current and former council members and political action committees and filed dozens of criminal misdemeanor charges against them. Of the five cases, the only case still pending is against Mayor Tom Daly, his treasurer and estranged wife, Debra Daly, and former councilman Irv Pickler.

In a report to the council, City Atty. Jack L. White said that "it is not possible to estimate the amount of any cost savings" from switching prosecutors. White also said there could be a difference in hourly billing rates and a reduction in travel expenses.

Critics in recent weeks questioned the cost of Mehta's work and also charged selective prosecution of some council members. Lopez and Councilman Bob Zemel voted to hire Mehta, which has resulted in recall efforts against them by an Anaheim taxpayers group.

The meeting will be at 5 p.m. in council chambers, 200 S. Anaheim Blvd. Information:(714) 765-5166.

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