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Rocky’s horrible sidestep show

Welcome, dear readers, to the Rocky Horror Show:

This is Day 9.

That’s how long it’s been since we learned that the wife of Los Angeles City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo got a ticket in 2005 while driving with a suspended license.

This news, dug up by my colleague Patrick McGreevy, was of note because Delgadillo was squawking about the release of Paris Hilton from jail, where she was doing time for driving with a suspended license.

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Then, on Tuesday, we learned that Delgadillo’s city-owned GMC Yukon was banged up in 2004.

No big deal there, except that McGreevy’s sources leave the impression that Delgadillo might not have been behind the wheel.

But his wife could have been.

What’s that, you ask?

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Is the relative of an employee allowed under city regulations to drive a city car?

That answer would be “no.”

Let’s say, for the sake of discussion, that Michelle Delgadillo was indeed behind the wheel of her hubby’s Yukon when it hit a wall.

Did she have her license back at the time?

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Did she have insurance?

Is she related to Mr. Magoo?

I’m sorry, but I have to ask these kinds of questions because her license had been suspended for failing to show proof of insurance, which is always bad policy, but especially for the wife of one of the top law enforcement officials in the city.

The repairs, paid for by the city, cost taxpayers $2,120.

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So, as you can see, this story is like fine wine.

It gets better with age.

And for that, we owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Delgadillo, who has kept it alive by refusing to answer questions from me or anyone else. I tried again Friday, sending along 10 questions that were ignored.

And it’s clear that Delgadillo is following none of my damage-control advice, which included the suggestion that he say his wife suffers from chronic amnesia. Or that he does.

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The truth might have worked equally well. He could have laid out what really happened and said he was going to turn in the Yukon, commute by bus, wear sackcloth for a year and lock his wife in the house.

Instead, Delgadillo spent the whole week ducking, but it seemed there was nowhere to hide. The Los Angeles Ethics Commission nailed Delgadillo with $11,450 in fines for violating campaign finance laws in an unconnected matter, and L.A. County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley accused Delgadillo of going soft on crime, charging criminals with misdemeanors instead of felonies to keep the prosecutions under his jurisdiction.

You know you’re on a really bad streak when $11,450 in campaign finance fines is the best part of your week.

City Controller Laura Chick had some good advice for Delgadillo, not that there’s been any evidence he would be interested in such a thing.

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“I think it would be in the best interest of all of us if the city attorney brought all the facts out into the open, answered questions, and if there were mistakes that were made, it would be better to know it outright,” Chick said.

That way, Chick said, we wouldn’t “have to use public resources” to get to the bottom of it.

Does that mean she’s conducting an investigation?

She wouldn’t say. But there should be an investigation or two, and I’d like to suggest someone take a good hard look at Columbia Law School and investigate how Delgadillo graduated.

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Chick does indeed have the authority to investigate, as does the city Ethics Commission. And then, of course, I suppose the district attorney’s office could get involved.

If someone lets an unauthorized person drive a city car, the car gets dinged, the city foots the bill and the city employee seems to have misplaced the report that would have identified the driver of the car, is that a crime?

Joe Scott of the district attorney’s office said he couldn’t answer my questions.

Nobody, it seems, can answer my questions.

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I mentioned my frustration to Delgadillo spokesman Nick Velasquez, who finally got back to me Friday afternoon to say that Delgadillo will gladly meet with me and another Times reporter Monday.

Monday?

It’s a simple question, really. Who was driving the car?

Doesn’t seem to me that the answer could change over the weekend, but come to think of it, Monday is perfect. Monday is beautiful. I like a nice round number, and Monday is Day 10 of the Rocky Horror Show. Be sure to stay tuned.

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steve.lopez@latimes.com


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