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A rocky week for the city attorney

What a week.

The incorrigible little mayor of Los Angeles has moved out of the mayoral manse, the news out of King-Harbor is reliably horrific, the Department of Water and Power has ripped off multiple public agencies to the tune of $220 million, Paris Hilton has found God and summer has appeared on the horizon.

But for my money, L.A. City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo has them all beat.

My colleague Patrick McGreevy started things off by reporting on a matter involving Delgadillo’s wife, Michelle, and her escapades behind the wheel. She got into an accident three years ago, couldn’t prove she had insurance, had her license suspended for three years, then got cited a year later for a moving violation.

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Why no proof of insurance on the first offense? Was it because she didn’t have insurance? Why no ticket for not having a license on the second offense?

And while we’re on the subject, if her license was suspended, wouldn’t it have been impossible to get insurance? That’s how I understand the law, but I’m not a city attorney.

How inconvenient that this news broke just as Delgadillo was ripping Sheriff Lee Baca for springing Hilton so soon after she was locked up for driving on a suspended license, of all things.

And then came another little bombshell from McGreevy: A city-owned GMC Yukon assigned to Delgadillo was banged up in a 2004 accident. But for some reason his aides can’t find a report that would have identified the driver, and sources told McGreevy that Delgadillo occasionally handed his wife the keys to the city SUV.

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On Monday, Delgadillo refused to answer McGreevy’s questions regarding another source who said the accident, which caused $2,120 worth of damage that the city paid for, occurred at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. And it happened on a day when Delgadillo’s wife allegedly was there for a medical appointment.

On Tuesday, Delgadillo dug himself in deeper when he took a pass on an interview request. Too bad. Among other things, I wanted to know why the city attorney needs to drive a gigantic smog factory, same model as the mayor, in a city with notoriously dirty air. And, if someone unauthorized was driving the Yukon assigned to Rocky, shouldn’t he pay for repairs with his own money?

Rocky, are you reading this? You’re the city attorney. Please tell us that your wife didn’t smash up your city vehicle. And if she did, please tell us she at least had insurance and a valid driver’s license. Otherwise, maybe Paris should make room for a new bunkmate.

Look, we all know Rocky is not short for rocket scientist, but surely you can do better, and if not, try lying.

Blame it on Baca. Blame it

on the DMV. Say you were framed.

Say that the matter is being thoroughly investigated internally and that your wife is under house arrest until further notice, ankle bracelet and all.

Say that she was at Cedars-Sinai to treat chronic amnesia.

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Better yet, say you’re the one with amnesia. You drove the SUV that day, banged it up and bumped your head. How else to explain why you let your wife drive a city vehicle?

As a last resort, consider telling the truth, which sometimes works even for attorneys. Tell us who was driving the car. Tell us whether that person, whoever she might be, had a license and insurance.

And tell us that after thinking it over, you’d like to cover the cost of that accident out of your own pocket.

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Reach the columnist at steve.lopez@latimes.com.


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