Sen. Kevin De Leon Scolds Vernon For Improper Hiring Of City Attorney Michael Montgomery

Comments (0)


Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 4:20 PM
click to enlarge Michael Montgomery: Time to wake up
  • Michael Montgomery: Time to wake up

Pressure is building on the Vernon City Council to rescind the hiring of Michael B. Montgomery as the full-time city attorney.

Last week, the Vernon Chamber of Commerce and ethics adviser John Van de Kamp criticized the hire, noting that the council voted without first putting the issue on the agenda -- a major no-no.

Now, state Sen. Kevin De Leon is getting in on the act.

In a letter sent to the City Council today (and posted below), De Leon called the hiring "an egregious violation" of Vernon's earlier pledge of rectitude. The move, De Leon said, "created the appearance of self-dealing that the city cannot afford."

From the looks of Vernon's council agenda for tomorrow, it appears the city received the message. City Administrator Mark Whitworth is recommending that the city rescind Montgomery's hiring and bring in a search firm to find a new city attorney. There's also a recommendation to do a thorough background check on the council's choice.

That's not a bad idea, considering that Montgomery has a long and colorful history of ethical scrapes. In 1996, he was indicted over allegations that he tried to buy an Assemblyman's vote on behalf of a card club. (The charges were later dropped.) In 1985, questions were raised about alleged conflicts of interest when Montgomery was appointed to the Fair Political Practices Commission.

Now, he's still a practicing attorney in good standing, and he currently serves as Walnut's city attorney. But he might not have the reputation that Vernon is looking for as it tries to put its corrupt history behind it.

De Leon, meanwhile, has good reason to be keeping a close eye on Vernon. Back in August, he pretty much single-handedly saved it from extinction. Assembly Speaker John Pérez was trying to disincorporate the city as a remedy for its corruption. The city fought back, and De Leon came in as a mediator, drawing up an elaborate reform plan that addressed corruption while allowing the city to stay alive. Pérez was not happy about that, to say the least, and he warned De Leon that he would be responsible for any future abuses.

Here's the letter:

Vernon Key Staff Ltr 10-31-11

Related Content

Now Trending

  • Here Is Where Violent Crime Is Surging in L.A.

    Earlier this month Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck announced that violent crime had increased in the first half of 2014. The city saw a 2.8 percent bump compared the same period last year. But while the increase was small, it was the first time the city had seen...
  • L.A.'s 5 Most Expensive Rental Neighborhoods Are on the Westside

    L.A. is in the midst of a housing crisis, including impossible real estate prices and some of the highest rents in America. And, according to the online rental marketplace Lovely, it's not getting much better: Rent increased six percent compared to last year, the site says. The good news is that the...
  • L.A. City Hall Gets Behind Hit-&-Run Amber Alerts

    L.A.-based Assemblyman Mike Gatto's proposal to create an Amber Alert-like system of freeway sign messages for serious hit-and-run collisions across California is getting the support of L.A. city leaders. Councilman Mitch Englander and brass from the Los Angeles Police Department stood with Gatto outside City Hall yesterday to trumpet the...
Los Angeles Concert Tickets


  • 21st Annual Classic Cars "Cruise Night" in Glendale
    On Saturday, spectators of all ages were out in multitudes on a beautiful summer night in Glendale to celebrate the 21st annual Cruise Night. Brand Boulevard, one of the main streets through downtown Glendale, was closed to traffic and lined with over 250 classic, pre-1979 cars. There was plenty of food to be had and many of the businesses on Brand stayed open late for the festivities The evening ended with fireworks and a 50th anniversary concert from The Kingsmen, who performed their ultimate party hit, "Louie, Louie." All photos by Jared Cowan.
  • The World Cup Celebrated And Mourned By Angelenos
    The World Cup has taken Los Angeles by storm. With viewings beginning at 9 a.m., soccer fans have congregated at some of the best bars in the city including The Village Idiot, Goal, The Parlour on Melrose, Big Wang's and more. Whether they're cheering for their native country, favorite players or mourning the USA's loss, Angelenos have paid close attention to the Cup, showing that soccer is becoming more than a fad. All photos by Daniel Kohn.
  • La Brea Tar Pits "Pit 91" Re-Opening
    Starting June 28th, The Page Museum once again proudly unveils the museum's Observation Pit, which originally opened in 1952 but has spent most of the last half century closed. Now visitors can get an up-close look at Pit 91, which is currently under excavation. The La Brea Tar Pits, home of the Page Museum, is one of the world's most famous ice age fossil locations, known for range of fossils from saber-toothed cats and mammoths to microscopic plants, seeds and insects. The new "Excavator Tour" is free with museum admission if purchased online at tarpits.org . All photos by Nanette Gonzales.