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DWP union chief says he'll fight order to turn over nonprofit records

April 23, 2014|By Jack Dolan
  • Brian D'Arcy oversees the nonprofits with the DWP's general manager.
Brian D'Arcy oversees the nonprofits with the DWP's general… (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles…)

Brian D’Arcy, head of the largest union at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, says he will appeal a newly finalized court order requiring him to turn over financial records for two nonprofit trusts that have received more than $40 million from ratepayers.

The order, signed Tuesday, gives D'Arcy 10 days to turn the records over to city officials or risk being held in contempt of court, said Rob Wilcox, spokesman for City Atty. Mike Feuer.

"We will appeal the judgment," D'Arcy's attorney, D. William Heine, wrote in an emailed statement to The Times. Heine said Tuesday he expected to win an immediate stay of the order, adding, "we are confident the Court of Appeal will reverse the judgment."

If D'Arcy gets the stay, it will likely add months to a political and legal fight with city leaders that began in September after the Times reported that the DWP had only scant records showing how the money has been spent.

The nonprofits, the Joint Training Institute and the Joint Safety Institute, were created in the early 2000s following a contentious round of job cuts at the city-owned utility. The organizations are charged with improving labor-management relations and have been receiving up to $4 million per year.

Since September, neither DWP officials nor union leaders, who co-manage the nonprofits, have been able to explain to city leaders' satisfaction what the organizations have accomplished. 

Mayor Eric Garcetti, Feuer and City Controller Ron Galperin all have demanded a full accounting of the groups' spending.

Federal tax forms filed by the nonprofits in recent years, which offer only broad summaries of the organizations' outlays, show more than $360,000 spent on travel from 2009 to 2011 and nearly $2.4 million spent on "other."

In January, Galperin issued civil subpoenas demanding detailed records of every expenditure by the groups over the last five years. Galperin also demanded a chance for his auditors to interview D’Arcy under oath.  

D’Arcy challenged the subpoenas in Los Angeles Superior Court. He lost the first round in late March, when Judge James Chalfant said the city has the right to audit the nonprofits and issued a preliminary order requiring D'Arcy to comply with the subpoenas. Chalfant signed the final version of that order Tuesday.

"We will fight any effort by Mr. D'Arcy to delay the Controller's audit," Feuer wrote in an email to The Times on Wednesday. "The ratepayers of Los Angeles have waited long enough to learn how their dollars have been spent."

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jack.dolan@latimes.com
Twitter: @jackdolanLAT

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