Report says LA city attorneys orchestrated ‘sham lawsuit’ over DWP billing flub

LA City Attorney Mike Feuer’s run for mayor just got more complicated. On Tuesday, a court-appointed investigator released a long-awaited report on the 2013 billing debacle at the LA Department of Water and Power and the city attorney’s subsequent efforts to hold an outside consulting firm accountable. The report is not good news for Feuer.

As the LA Times reports, the investigation concluded that attorneys for the city “participated in a scheme to settle litigation sparked by a faulty billing system and turn around the DWP’s battered image.”

The report accuses the attorney’s office of directing and assisting the city in “suing itself with a sham lawsuit” — a scheme that allowed opposing counsel to collect $19 million in fees, all paid for by taxpayers.

You can read the details of the alleged scheme at the LA Times. The report points the finger at several attorneys in Feuer’s office in particular who “violated the ethical rules against dishonesty, deceit, and collusion and violated their ethical duties to the court in violation of Rules of Professional Conduct.”

A spokesman for the city attorney’s office disagrees with the findings. Rob Wilcox says the court-appointed investigator “never asked any city personnel a single question, orally or in writing — despite being empowered, and repeatedly invited, to do so.”