A consumer advocate says it’s time to shed some light on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s screwy spending priorities.  DWP customers have borne the brunt of under investment in infrastructure, what with two recent power outages in the middle of a heat wave.  Consumer Watchdog President Jaime Court says there’s self-dealing by the powers that be.

”I don’t think they’re criminal. I do think there are a lot of very, very smelly situations that involve the taking of rate payer and tax payer money and the infrastructure of the city falling apart.”

More specifically, Court sees a lot of relationships that are too cozy.

“The City Attorney’s Office and the Board of the DWP which is supposed to be the governing board have a very, very close relationship. We have at the head of the DWP board a former congressman named Mel Levine. He was a partner in the law firm Price, Waterhouse Cooper that is defending a billing error case being brought by DWP – there’s a lot of conflicts there … There’s a lot of cross-pollination between the people who settle these cases alleging illegality on the city’s side and the people who are bringing them.”

Court found DWP is not well-regarded by its peers.

“I’ve talked to many experts around the country who think DWP is the worst-run municipal utility in the country.”

He says the city should appoint an outside auditor to clean up the DWP.

Court was a guest on McIntyre in the Morning.

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