This is a good example of what has been going on for some time.  Oversight and ability of  investigation and enforcement agencies to do their duty and purposefully complete investigations and case development with an eye on prosecution and real resolution of the problems caused by the massive fraud, waste, abuse and corruption that is going on at nearly every level of government and in industry.  This situation is further exacerbated by near paralysis in the area of justice, and ability or willingness to prosecute by those who should be our strongest advocates for clean up.  Think about what has happened at the federal level in Department of Justice (Eric Holder).  GFS
 
 
From the Sacramento Bee:
October 28, 2010

Whistleblower: Cooley’s office slow to act on Bell corruption

Campaigning for higher office, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley touts his crackdown on Bell city officials for alleged public corruption — but a whistleblower says he complained more than a year before prosecutors took action.

Democrat Kamala Harris, Cooley’s opponent for attorney general, accused the Republican on Thursday of dragging his feet in the Bell probe. Her campaign officials pressed the argument by releasing a letter from Cooley’s office and holding a news conference featuring the whistleblower, James Corcoran, retired Bell police sergeant.

“We just want to know, very simply, why it took an election year — and getting close to an election — to take any action on this,” said Ace Smith, Harris political consultant. “It’s outrageous. … This is basically neglect that has cost the residents of California and the people of Bell millions and millions of dollars.”

Kevin Spillane, Cooley spokesman, characterized the accusations as a political stunt days before Tuesday’s balloting.

“This is just political second-guessing motivated by the election, and it’s coming from a losing candidate who is desperate to turn around her campaign,” Spillane said.

Accusations of corruption in Bell rocked the state for months, climaxing with a September press conference in which Cooley announced dozens of charges against former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo and seven other officials accused of misappropriating $5.5 million in public funds.

Corcoran said Thursday that Los Angeles prosecutors could have intervened long before they did, as early as April 2009, when he met for three hours with DA officials to complain about Bell improprieties.

“If (Cooley) would have taken action earlier, perhaps this thing would have taken a different direction,” Corcoran said.

Corcoran said that as the April meeting ended, an investigator for the DA’s Office suggested that the whistleblower ask a Bell public official to submit a letter about corruption in the city.

Former Bell Councilman Victor Bello wrote such a letter, saying that he had witnessed public corruption, bribery, underhanded real estate deals, unethical retirement arrangements, police misconduct and possible voter fraud.

Weeks later, in May 2009, Bello received a written response from David E. Demerjian, head of Cooley’s Public Integrity Division, that indicated an investigation had begun but requested more detailed information to continue it.

Bello responded in June 2009 with specifics about alleged wrongdoing by one Bell building official that ranged from accepting bribes for building permits to profiting personally by selling confiscated vendor merchandise.

“It was actionable information, things that could be and should have been followed up on,” Corcoran said Thursday. “That was the last I heard from the DA’s office (last year).”

In early 2010, Corcoran tried again, meeting separately with two officials from the DA’s office, one of whom aggressively pursued his complaints of improprieties and that’s “when this whole thing opened up,” he said.

Demerjian said that Cooley was not involved in day-to-day decisions made in 2009 about the Bell case.

The probe took time to percolate, but it was not dropped in 2009, Demerjian said.

“There were numerous allegations coming in, but none of them really provided any workable leads until the early part of this year,” he said.

In March, prosecutors were zeroing in on salary improprieties involving Bell city officials, Demerjian said.

Four months later, in July, the Los Angeles Times wrote a story exposing massive salaries of Bell city officials and sparking public controversy about actions by officials there.

Shortly thereafter, Cooley announced that his office had been gathering information since March and had launched a multipronged investigation into possible voter fraud and conflicts of interest involving Bell city business.

Demerjian said he did not think it was fair to accuse Cooley of fumbling the case last year.

“I believe it to be unfair, yes, but people can make of it what they wish,” he said. “These kinds of things take time. We need facts which allege a crime and some kind of workable leads.”

Categories: 2010 Attorney General race

Posted by Jim Sanders

 

Read more: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2010/10/whistleblower-claims-cooley-dr.html#ixzz13rSijmaH

Advertisements