It's bad enough that taxpayers got stuck with Councilman Nate Holden's $1.3-million legal bills stemming from two sexual harassment suits. Now, an independent review of those bills for the Los Angeles Times indicates that tighter city oversight could have shaved a goodly number of dollars off that hefty amount.
City attorneys couldn't defend the councilman because of a conflict--the city was also being sued. So the city had to turn to private attorneys, but it should have set some financial limits.
Taxpayers, who would rather see their hard-earned dollars spent on more cops, wound up picking up this messy tab after attorneys for Holden successfully argued that the councilman was conducting official business even when he was meeting an assistant at night at his Marina del Rey condo (which is not located within his 10th District--but that's another controversy.)
It wasn't uncommon for the outside lawyers to work around the clock, apparently. One associate billed 21 hours during one day on the case. According to his supervisors, he pulled an all-nighter. Too bad that these taxpayer dollars weren't spent on figuring out how Los Angeles could improve its police crime lab, run after-school programs at more schools or pay for any number of budget items that would improve the quality of life for everyone.