Critic's gripes draw attention

CITY HALL — Repeated accusations that Councilman Dave Weaver has improperly used his office to benefit a nonprofit he established in January will come to a head on Tuesday when the City Council confronts the allegations.

For months, City Council critic Barry Allen has during public comment periods referred to numerous complaints he has filed about Weaver with various regulatory agencies to bolster his allegations that the councilman has used his position to seek donations for a nonprofit organization he created in January called Dreaming of Roses Inc. Allen’s repeated comments about alleged investigations into Weaver two weeks ago prompted some council members to call for a city attorney’s report on the matter.

Dreaming of Roses is the title fundraiser for the Rose Float Assn., which Weaver used to be a board member for. But in 2005, Weaver split off from the group to incorporate his own fundraising nonprofit using the Dreaming of Roses name, which was not registered. The Internal Revenue Service granted the organization tax-exempt status in January.

But City Atty. Scott Howard said that, despite repeated claims from Allen to the contrary, the Los Angeles district attorney’s office is not investigating Weaver’s use of his office to benefit Dreaming of Roses Inc.

Allen’s recurring references of an IRS investigation could not be immediately confirmed. And a spokesman for the Fair Political Practices Commission — where Allen has also filed an ethics complaint — said he could not comment on or verify any potential investigation, although he acknowledged receiving the complaint.

The lack of certainty over Allen’s claims underscores the delicate balance some of Weaver’s colleagues say the full council needs to strike on Tuesday when addressing what could turn into a witch hunt.

Weaver has called the claims a “character assassination.”

“It’s an attempt to discredit me and get me off the council,” he said.

Weaver pointed to the inaction on the part of ethics and criminal investigators as a vindication that the fundraising for his nonprofit has been above board.

“I’m not getting any calls,” he said.

Howard’s report comes after several council members called for a clarification two weeks ago on Weaver’s involvement with the nonprofit and its financial support of the Rose Float Assn., which every year pays for half the cost of Glendale’s entry into the Tournament of Roses Parade. The city pays the other half.

Councilman Bob Yousefian, who at the time said he was solely interested in clarifying the matter for the public, called for the report. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

But Allen said he is interested in much more than clarifying the matter. Over the past several months he has invited the ire of Weaver from the dais by videotaping the councilman. Allen has also made several references at the speaker’s podium to Weaver and alcohol, which Weaver strongly rebuked.

Also in recent months, city attorneys say Allen has revved up his use of the Public Records Act to request myriad receipts and obscure documents related to Weaver.

Allen indicated that — while he had not settled on his own presentation to the City Council on Tuesday — he would call for Weaver’s resignation.

“Whether Weaver is corrupt or not, the perception is certainly out there,” Allen said.

The City Council on Tuesday will have several avenues concerning how to deal with that alleged perception, city officials said.

The council could decide to cut the Rose Float Assn. out of the picture and fully absorb the more than $90,000 to build the float under the purview of the Parks, Recreations and Community Services Department. It could also place strict limits on council members who solicit nonprofit donations from groups that have pending business before the city.

That would remove any perception that the success of a contract depends on the size of a charitable donation, city officials said.

Whatever its motivation, Howard said the City Council could not fully cut off Weaver’s ability to raise funds for Dreaming of Roses — which also doles out scholarships — “but there are limitations because of the duality of his role on the City Council.”

The council will take up the issue at its meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in City Council Chambers, 613 E. Broadway.


 JASON WELLS covers City Hall. He may be reached at (818) 637-3235 or by e-mail at jason.wells@latimes.com.

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