Homework results: Which city campaigns received donations from L.A.’s largest tax debtors?

On Friday I challenged Metblogs readers to use the tools of the journalistic trade and find out which L.A. businesses owing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes donated money to local political campaigns. Either I overestimated your interest in some potential muckraking, or I underestimated how nice the weather would be. Hope you had fun tossing frisbees, cruising along the PCH, and mocking your friends back East.

If you had taken the time to search the City Ethics database, some items you may have discovered:

  • An individual identifying themself as the owner of United Valet Parking is listed as having donated $500 to Eric Garcetti’s incumbent campaign for City Council seat and $500 to Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign to be reelected as Mayor. The question here isn’t why either Garcetti or Villaraigosa need money for their relatively unopposed races, but why the owner United Valet Parking is donating $1000 to political campaigns while his business owes the city over $1 million in taxes?
  • Possibly more interesting is that while the legal firm of Engstrom, Lipscomb, & Lack is listed on the Office of Finance Top Debtors List with a tax debt of $451,659.25, eight employees donated a combine total of $6750 to the Jack Weiss for City Attorney Campaign.

Of course, I’m not suggesting any skullduggery – after all, the campaigns are required to make this data available and remain transparent. But as a citizen, it is your responsibility to take an occasional peek and keep an eye on who’s paying to keep the machine running.

Class dismissed. You’re now free to check on the latest news about the Octomom.

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