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Trutanich's ex-consultant calls city attorney 'an extortionist'

Trutanich has sued his former consultant, saying John Shallman mismanaged funds in the campaign for district attorney. Shallman denies the claim.

September 28, 2012|By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times
  • L.A. City Atty. Carmen Trutanich greets well-wishers in San Pedro on the night of the California primary in June. His bid for L.A. County district attorney failed.
L.A. City Atty. Carmen Trutanich greets well-wishers in San Pedro on the… (Bob Chamberlin, Los Angeles…)

Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich has sued the campaign consultant who worked on his unsuccessful bid for county district attorney, saying he had failed to explain tens of thousands of dollars in expenses billed in the wake of that campaign.

The consultant, John Shallman, responded Friday by calling the city prosecutor an "extortionist."

In a lawsuit filed Thursday, Trutanich's campaign committee said Shallman had "engaged in a pattern and practice of mismanaging campaign funds, submitting large unpaid invoices after the campaign is concluded and failing to provide adequate documentation to substantiate expenditures."

"Although defendants have claimed after the fact that they have incurred another $150,000 in out-of-pocket costs, they have failed to substantiate multiple expenses with accessible documents," the lawsuit stated.

Shallman and the city attorney split professionally last summer after Trutanich came in third in the June primary contest for district attorney, despite outspending his opponents. Two months ago, Trutanich found himself with $112,000 in unpaid bills, all of it owed to Shallman.

Trutanich is now running for reelection and Shallman is handling the campaign of his opponent, Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles).

"This frivolous lawsuit is nothing more than another back-alley shakedown by Carmen Trutanich," Shallman said. "He is trying to walk away from $166,000 of legitimate, documented, and authorized campaign expenses by threatening to publicize false and vindictive attacks against me and my family. He has all the supporting documents for these expenses," he said.

Shallman said he had been contacted Thursday night by a lawyer for Trutanich's district attorney campaign. "He offered to drop the lawsuit and keep his false allegations quiet if I completely forgive his debt. If I did not acquiesce to his illegal demand — and thereby agree to an illegal campaign contribution — he threatened to continue this thuggish attempt to drag my own, and my wife's, reputations through the mud. Well, the only way to deal with a thug is to stand up to him. And that's what I intend to do," he said.

david.zahniser@latimes.com

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