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LA City Attorney Not a Target of DWP Corruption Investigation, Feds Say

Federal prosecutors have notified Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer’s lawyer that Feuer is not a target of the ongoing criminal investigation that stemmed from the City’s mishandling of lawsuits tied to the Department of Water and Power’s faulty billing system.

“This will confirm that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California does not, as of the date of this letter, have an ongoing investigation into your client, City Attorney Mike Feuer,” in connection with the DWP, “collusive litigation scandal,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Mack Jenkins, who’s led the DWP prosecutions. 

That criminal case, to date, has led to guilty pleas from one of Feuer’s former top deputies, Thomas Peters, the former general manager of the DWP, David E. Wright, a former DWP executive, David Alexander, who was in charge of cybersecurity for the utility, and Paul O. Paradis, an outside attorney who’s admitted to taking part in a bribery scheme.

Feuer has repeatedly denied that he had any role in the events that have led to the prosecutions.

He told NBC4 earlier this year he also didn’t remember participating in one specific meeting in 2017 during which federal prosecutors have alleged an illegal bribe was discussed and approved by someone in the City Attorney’s office.

“The City Attorney has no specific recollection of that meeting–more than four years ago–but certainly was not informed at that time, or any time, of any criminal malfeasance,” Feuer’s spokesman Rob Wilcox said.

LA City Attorney Mike Feuer was scheduled to participate in a December 2017 meeting that’s been revealed as a key moment in the extortion prosecution of one of Feuer’s former top deputies, as part of a widening federal investigation into allegations of corruption at the Department of Water and Power amid the utility’s excessive billing debacle, according to records obtained by NBC4’s I-Team. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on Monday, April 4, 2022.

“I’ve never been involved in any such discussion,” Feuer said when asked directly, and added the claim that he had participated was made by one of the four men who agreed to plead guilty to federal crimes.

“That allegation has absolutely no merit to it, it’s from a confessed felon, who’s violations we discovered,” Feuer said.

In April the I-Team reported that a copy of Feuer’s calendar for the date of that meeting, December 1, 2017, showed Feuer had been scheduled to attend along with several other City Attorney’s office officials.

According to court filings by federal prosecutors, Thomas Peters, who was chief of civil litigation under Feuer until 2019, said he met with, “senior members of the City Attorney’s Office,” to consider paying a blackmailer.

The extortion demand came from someone with inside knowledge of how the City and DWP handled a number of customer lawsuits filed after billing software overcharged tens of thousands of LA utility customers.

The blackmailer had appeared in court and threatened to expose that attorneys working for the City were secretly manipulating a proposed settlement for many overcharged customers.

Feuer’s office provided a copy of the letter Tuesday.

“I provide you this letter as recently discussed and pursuant to your request,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenkins.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office did not comment on the letter.

The former DWP general manager, Wright, was sentenced in April to 6 years in prison after he admitted he took bribes from a lawyer in exchange for directing a $30-million contract to one of that lawyer’s companies.

Alexander, the former DWP cybersecurity executive, was sentenced to 4 years.

Peters and Paradis are both awaiting sentencing, and their sentencing hearings have been delayed due to their ongoing cooperation with federal investigators.

See the letter here.

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