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Part 2 of Aero Bureau Audit Reportedly Finds Improper Flights (But Not Much Else) – UPDATED

December 20th, 2012 by Celeste Fremon

UPDATED:

(Scroll down for update and Audit}




Part 2 of the much delayed audit of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s Aero Bureau, the elite LASD division that oversees the department’s aircraft,
is due to be delivered to the Board of Supervisors on Thursday.

The audit from the office of the County Auditor-Controller, was requested last April by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky after both WitnessLA and the LA Times reported on a list of possible instances of wrongdoing inside the bureau.

From what we understand the audit did not substantiate wrongdoing in the charges of manipulation of flight records to produce overtime, or of retaliation against whistleblowers.

However, the audit reportedly did find that three flights constituted “improper use of resources”, which we presume are the flights that WLA reported on here..

Based on the reports we’ve gotten from multiple sources inside Aero Bureau, we find it surprising that the audit discovered no problems with overtime manipulation, et al. But we’ve agreed to hold our fire, so to speak, until we read the report.

More soon.


UPDATED:

Below you’ll find the audit itself. (And here’s a link, if the embed is slow to load.)

As you will see, with regard to the reported inflating of missed call stats and short-staffing flights to give the impression that more overtime was needed, the auditors state they did not “find evidence that established any of the overtime abuse allegations.”

As for the misuse of aircraft, the auditors say they “selected a sample of three alleged flights that could be considered egregious misuse of County resources, and substantiated the allegations.”

This tends to suggest there were other flights that were also possible instances of “egregious misuse of County resources.”

In any case, after the holidays we plan to check in with some of our Aero Bureau sources and get their reaction to the audit.

Posted in LA County Board of Supervisors, LASD, law enforcement | 28 Comments »

28 Responses

  1. Fish Eyed Cuban Says:

    Told you all nothing would happen. Another case of getting stories together on the trunk in the back parking lot before seeing the watch commander.

    Anyone up for a scenic ride over the Queen Mary?

  2. promo Says:

    3 flights? HMM? I guess the disgruntled employees lost this one. Can’t wait until the Fedral Investigation is over. The disgruntled employees who didn’t get promoted will lose that one too!

  3. IrishUWereAStreetCop Says:

    My only problem with the article so far is referring to Aero Bureau as, “Elite.” It’s about as hard to get there as it is to promote! HA!

  4. Mountain Man Says:

    Witness L.A. have you thought about the possibility that all of this has an enviornmental cause? You have reported at length about Paul Tanaka, Bernice Abrahms and Louis Duran.

    Absent was the L.A. County Counsel assigned to the Sheriff’s Dept. Paul Yoshinaga. By any assessment within the L.A. County Counsel’s office an 2nd or 3rd rate attorney, that had Cuban cigars, being shipped to Sheriff’s HQ confiscated by U.S. Customs. Yes, another friend of Paul’s. Gardena H.S. Class of 1976.

    Perhaps Erin Brockovich should be involved. Look at the common thread. What was in the drinking fountain water at Gardena H.S. in the middle and late ’70′s? Too many persons that were in that arena are exhibiting bizarre behavior.

  5. J.London Says:

    C: where can this audit be had?

  6. Fish Eyed Cuban Says:

    Nah, I think the lawsuit will favor the plaintiff(s) The bar of proof is lower. Just the like the Bouman case, they can cite retaliation and racial discrimination against Louie Duran.

    The reason why the audit proved nothing is because too many ISD big rollers would have been sucked into it because they oversee all the procurement. It’s called damage control, but in a civil court of law, Louie will lose it on the stand just like at the board meeting. He and other Aero counterparts won’t be prepared for the onslaught of what’s to come.

  7. Fact check Says:

    WLA – What happened to the multi-million dollar Aero Bureau procurement fraud? What happened to the conspiracy to keep aircraft down to get additional overtime? What happened to the whistle blower retaliation at Aero Bureau? Do you have ANY truthful informants amongst your band of non-promotes, disgruntled employees and bored retirees? After a criminal investigation, an independent audit, and a D.A.’s investigation all have proved false. You owe the following personnel an apology:

    Captain Louie Duran
    Deputy Dale Ryken
    Sergeant Casey Dowling
    Sergeant Mike Griffin
    Sergeant John Haughey

    You allowed posers to post unsubstantiated allegations about all of them by name prior to any investigation. Any credible journalist would have withheld the posting of any names until the investigation was over. Now several investigations have cleared their names. Their names should be prominently posted as exonerated, not just a catch all Aero Bureau was cleared.

  8. Celeste Fremon Says:

    EDITOR’S NOTE:

    J. London, I’ll have a link for everyone in a few minutes.

    Fact Check, to my knowledge, we never said anything about Mike Griffin. As for the story about gaming the system to produce a false need for overtime, and those involved, AND the take-home helicopter, we stand by our sources and our story.

  9. Fact check Says:

    WLA – Griffin was mentioned in posts regarding flight physicals. You personally didn’t write anything about him or some of the others, but you allowed all of the names on your web page without the benefit of the completed investigation.

    If standing by your sources and story means you had real sources, but they gave you false information, I agree. If you are trying to say your information was accurate as to the thefts, abuse etc., that would be a pretty pompous statement after multiple investigations from different agencies cleared everyone.

  10. Fish Eyed Cuban Says:

    Fact check no one including Celeste or witnessla et al. an apology. The civil suit hasn’t even begun, so the beauty of that is when real attornies supoena rather than gloss over allegations and hard evidence, you are going to see cases getting re-opened. I’ll bet a Cuban cigar and a tank of jet-A on that.

  11. Celeste Fremon Says:

    EDITOR’S NOTE:

    A copy of the audit is now posted at the bottom of the post.

    Happy weekend!

  12. Celeste Fremon Says:

    Shoot. Technical issues. It’s now vanished. Hang on for a few minutes.

  13. FURTHER TO FOLLOW Says:

    My oh my, I wonder who subject 6 is? cold weather training to Conneticut lol. training in arizona lol, and then he blames the conneticut trip on the previous unit commander. how convenient. I love all the responses. Nothing but fabrication, justification, and oh yeh, lets not forget about the commander’s daughter and her free flight.

    My God, what a pathetic unit that used to be respected. Now it’s overseen by, well, I know this story ain’t over. Auditor controller’s report is not final, nor binding.

    I suspect the aero employees still get palpatations when they drive up to work. You just never know if someone will be waiting in dispatch prepared to read them their rights.

  14. Jerry Lewis Says:

    What a chicken shit investigation-how can you sample only 3-cases? LASD is a government agency that is subject to an open book for a full audit investigation inquiry . They went about this like a typical private corporation inventory or sale audit review. First of all, how can you be so stupid to believe that bullcrap story on why they traveled to Arizona…..If the County Supervisors accepts this report-it will clearly prove how the county supervisors should take half the blame for allowing Baca /Tanaka testosterone groupies to reign free of criminal misconduct all over the county. I’ve never ever in my life time heard of a government agency taking a sample, provides evidence of misappropriation and doesn’t open up to a complete inquiry of misconduct. They went the opposite direction on this one…..someone is dirty -again.

  15. FURTHER TO FOLLOW Says:

    Like i said, the civil portion of this will most thorough and those individuals will be the one’s who uncover the alleged real meaning of retaliation, criminal misconduct, violations of county ordinances and department policy. You see, when everything is uncovered during the trial, the Board will be made aware of ot big time, especially when general and punitive damages are being assessed. That’s when Wantanabe from the auditor’s is going to get her ass handed to her for taking a random sample of Aero Bureau flights and glossing over the rest.

    Trust me, it will be really embarassing especially when sworn employees are deposed. Then what? do they change their story which now changes their previous story? People lose their jobs for perjury, especially in 2013 when the new law prohibits award of retirement pensions for felonies. Last I checked, 118PC fell under a felony big time.

    I’m glad I never have been compromised to cover for Department employees. If I had, i would be really nervous right now.

  16. FURTHER TO FOLLOW Says:

    BTW, in the audit, does anyone know who subject 6 is? Seems between Arizona and the retirement party, and whatever else wasn’t uncovered, that person needs to find another home. Or he recently retired. What about Captain’s of the unit holding their helicopter rating? Where’s that lame justification? Pension spiking? CARPING at your own unit when other captains work the trains or patrol?

  17. Justin Says:

    #4 Mountain Man: I’m pleased to see that someone brought up the name “Paul Yoshinaga”. He is a big problem in many areas. As Chief Legal Counsel for our department, he has no idea what he is doing and has given extremely erroneous and amateurish advice on a number of issues. His connection with Tanaka explains why he holds his current position. I have had the displeasure of having to deal with him face to face. Nice guy, but he is certainly not qualified. In the near future, his advice is going to cost this department further humiliation and money. The man is truly an amateur.

  18. InterestedParty Says:

    Is this Auditor-Controller Wendy Watanabe the same Wendy Watanabe who used to work for a guy named Paul Tanaka over at the LACo Sheriff’s Department?

  19. J.London Says:

    IP(18): I totally agree with you. Wendy used to be a deputy and Tanaka ensured that she got a job with the Auditor-Controller. Why would Tanaka do that? So, he could use her in the future! And he did! Next time Celeste save yourself, and us,a lot of time by just stating who did the audit. What a croc! We were all(on and off the department)led to believe that real investigators were going to look into this matter. For those who are accused of misconduct this audit only makes your case even worse!
    Fact Check: you are obviously one of the people involved. You are in the wrong job for many reasons: one is; being accused of misconduct is part of the job and you know that! However, to illustrate I am not a hard person, I will walk into your office and apologize when Baca, Tanaka and all the other management whores apologize to Gomez, Leyva, Herrain, Olmsted, Gonzales and all the other witness that have already testified in courts and in front of commissions for lying about these honest people! Think it will happen?

  20. FURTHER TO FOLLOW Says:

    Interested Party, Isn’t this blog fun? Sort of like the old game of connecting the dots, or like the jigsaw puzzles. I couldn’t wait til the last piece was put in it’s place so I could see the big picture. Cheers

  21. JB Says:

    You guys are a broken record. Look back at the original posts about Aero and you will see

    ” Wait until the DA’ s office sees the fraudulent spending by Duran, Wait until the ICIB does their criminal investigation on Griffin’s fraudulent flight physicals, It is a federal crime, Wait until the independent audit shows all the overtime given to Dowling, Riffken and Haughey”.

    Well, all the investigations are complete and all individuals mentioned above were completely cleared. So now the disgruntled few are saying wait until the civil case is over. That is when the world will end. Go back to blogging about how the Trilateral Commission runs the world and President Obama was born in Kenya.

  22. FURTHER TO FOLLOW Says:

    Hey JB, ask Sue Bouman what she thought when the Department initially looked into her claim. Same shit, but guess what? She won big time put us under a consent decree and monitoring by a federal judge for a whole long time.

    And how did this happen? Civil court, discovery, supoenas, depositions and a whole lot more infor came out the department couldn’t ignore. I don’t blog about trilaterilists, just like i predicted the Mayan calendar was a, well. And Whether Obama was born in Kenya so what? I could care lessMy parents conceived me in a shanty bar in TJ after a donkey show, and look how i turned out?

  23. J.London Says:

    FTF: Too funny. However, so true that initially the department stated many times that nothing had gone wrong in the Bouman retaliation case as well as the Gomez case. And look what happened!!

  24. Jerry Lewis Says:

    Shameful that news reporters can’t figure out that the LA County CEO’s office and certain county supervisors are well aware of all the on-going county wide corruption. They act stupid, surprise and dumbfounded like they just didnt know-come on. They are well aware of various issues of corruption, inter-intra-county nepotism, racist practices, favoritism, and/or requesting-ordering policy changes -breaking numerous Union’s MOUs. Why do they turn a blind eye? Guess why….they are as dishonest and worst than Tanaka 10 folds. Take that power away from them-you undermine their political clout and they can’t get a hard on anymore to belittle you- point a finger at you-control you and play GOD almighty. They and all the various county departmental heads are guilty of this practice and abuse of power. So ask yourself – why did Baca and Tanaka get caught? There is a higher power called the Federal Bureau of Investigations. If anyone wants to file a lawsuit- go federal. LA County has its political corruption arm all the way up the State’s arse.

  25. LATBG Says:

    I have found it quite entertaining to read all the Baca/Tanaka apologists rushing to claim victory over an apparent finding of nothing wrong at Aero Bureau but a couple of inappropriate flights. This is hilarious, actually, when you read the document and take in to consideration it was done by a Tanaka retread, Watanabe.

    In the review of allegations, Number 9 sums up the caliber of the entire “audit.” Regarding retaliation, this idiotic band of rubber-stampers made the astonishing conclusion there was no retaliation for “subject was transferred out of Aero and his flight pay was taken away for no reason.”

    The wording of their “finding” says it all: “Not substantiated. The subject’s union Memorandum of understanding does not provide any guarantee or rights to an assignment. The subject’s flight pay was appropriately stopped when he no longer served as a pilot.” (!)

    I would never claim to be a lawyer, however I do remember a few things about the POBR, property interests, whistleblow laws, and adverse employment actions based on 1st Amendment activities. Moreover, the auditor-controller’s office demonstrated how inept and/or corrupt they are when it comes to handling issues that do not involve numbers.

    Retaliation is litigated frequently in court, and usually involves an action and a reaction of some sort. Worthless Wendy should have spent her ink on the facts in the case in stead of papering it over and claiming nothing is going on because as an employer representative, she claims the subject has no rights. Is that the best you could do Wendy?
    Do you realize that claim will cause the county to write a check with many zeroes on it in federal court?

    Seems like the Koolaid drinkers have slipped a little extra into their eggnog…

  26. FURTHER TO FOLLOW Says:

    LATBG, you are right on the mark with your post. Federal court has much broader reaching arms, so when the retaliation goes forward, watch how it plays out. Aero will soon be in the paper again and I predict the unit commandr will retire pnding an admin transfer so he can keep his flight pay pension spiking.

  27. Bandwagon Says:

    Hey JB:

    Do you actually believe any investigation conducted by I.C.I.B., the Internal
    Affairs Bureau, or the DA’s Office is going to be complete, thorough, and unbiased. Give me a break! The outcomes will be determined by the same individuals who constantly violate their oaths of office and abuse the power they were intrusted with. Of course, that is my own humble opinion.

  28. FURTHER TO FOLLOW Says:

    JB is a Homeland Security pogue. Of course he believes the LASD justice system. LOL

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