L.A. to Review Pacheco Firm’s Proposed Deal
Bounced from office in last year’s March election, former Los Angeles City Councilman Nick Pacheco landed on his feet as a partner in the well-established Los Angeles law firm of Thever & Associates. In fact, the partnership changed its name to highlight its newest member, becoming Thever & Pacheco.
But now, Pacheco, who has embarked on a bid to become Los Angeles County district attorney, is complicating the firm’s efforts to secure work from the city.
Last week, after a City Council committee reviewed a proposed contract that would include the Thever firm, City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo said the city’s Ethics Commission should review the contract to make sure there was no conflict of interest because of Pacheco’s recent service on the City Council.
And Pacheco’s legal partner, Shan Thever, distanced himself from the former Eastside councilman Friday, saying that the partnership had reverted to its previous name, Thever & Associates.
“Mr. Pacheco is no longer involved with the firm,” Thever said. “There is no financial involvement at all.”
He said Pacheco left the firm months ago, although Pacheco is listed as a partner on the firm’s website, which still uses the name Thever & Pacheco.
Pacheco also said he had not done legal work for the firm since he began campaigning to unseat Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley in November, but he said he was still part of the firm.
Questions about Pacheco’s legal work came to light when the city’s airport department sought council approval to extend a contract with the international law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.
Akin Gump has been contracting for years with Los Angeles World Airports to provide legal advice on environmental and land-use issues related to Los Angeles International Airport’s renovation plans. The city has paid the firm $2 million for the contract as of Dec. 31, according to city reports.
Pacheco voted in favor of the contract when the council approved it in December 2000.
When the international firm’s contract expired last year and it sought a $700,000 extension, it identified three subcontractors that could help satisfy the city’s diversity guidelines. The list included Thever & Pacheco.
Los Angeles’ revolving-door policy, designed to prohibit former elected officials from lobbying City Hall for a year after they leave office, does not bar onetime council members from being subcontractors, according to the city attorney’s office. But amid calls for City Hall to tighten ethics rules to prohibit conflicts of interest and improper contracting, Delgadillo asked Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to have the contract reviewed by the Ethics Commission.
Carlyle Hall Jr., an attorney with Akin Gump, said he would do that. “If the city attorney were to call me up and say we should change firms, I’d say fine,” Hall said. “It’s of no great matter to us.”
Hall said his firm was still determining what work Thever’s firm would do on the contract.
Thever said he saw no reason that his firm should not be able to remain a subcontractor.
“There was never anything done that would have presented even the appearance of impropriety,” he said.
Thever, a veteran local attorney who has represented local governments, including Los Angeles, and served on many federal, state and local panels, including the California Medical Board, has the highest ratings for legal ability and general-ethical standards in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory.
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