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An Interminable List of Drama for the City Attorney

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Our city attorney is never a bore. Adding to the very long laundry list of questionable moves, such as not paying utility bills, for Rocky Delgadillo, the LA Times uncovers the story behind his legal battles that those very moves caused him. Times writer David Zahniser finds that Delgadillo has three defense funds, which he best describes as "when politicians run into legal trouble, it's not unusual to see them open a defense fund, a move that allows them to pay their lawyers using money raised from private contributors."

Delgadillo opened each account to fight a separate court case or ethics commission inquiry. While some of the Ethics Commission probes stem from the past over possible campaign violations, the City Attorney became the subject of media attention this summer over a various amount of hiccups: caught driving without insurance, used city staff to pick up kids and do chores on city hours, didn't pay his electric and water bills, let his wife drive a city issued car, have her bang up that car, not report that bang and various other fun mishaps including claiming to play pro football by mistake.

Each defense fund account can accept contributions up to a $1,000 limit, meaning Delgadillo's allies of real estate developers, labor unions and law firms can donate to each account, including an officeholder account that can pay for politically related expenses such as meals and travel. Political watchdogs are weary that those who contributed to each account, especially companies that have a stake in a city contract or development, are expecting special attention.

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In the end, the higher than usual number of defense funds is still legal. Even using the officeholder account for a $256 meal with his wife at Jar to talk anti-gang programs with another city attorney and his wife is a-okay.

AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian