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Bad Blood Lingers Despite Settlement Between Carmen Trutanich and Former Campaign Consultant

L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has settled his bitter legal battle with John Shallman, the campaign consultant who ran his failed bid for district attorney.


The dispute got so bad that at one point, Shallman called Trutanich "the Kim Jong-Il of L.A. politics." He claimed the city attorney owed him $166,000, while Trutanich accused Shallman of inflating expenses and blamed him for his defeat.

In separate statements on Tuesday night, attorneys for both sides said the terms of the settlement agreement would remain confidential.


"Both parties are glad to have this dispute concluded," said Kris LeFan of the firm of Lowe & Associates, which represented Trutanich.

Trutanich kicked off the legal fight by pre-emptively suing Shallman last September, accusing him of having "grossly mismanaged and squandered campaign funds" during the D.A.'s race. The suit also blamed Trutanich's defeat on Shallman's "negligence and missteps" and sought a full accounting of the campaign's expenses.

Shallman counter-sued, accusing Trutanich of failing to pay the $166,000, which mostly went to TV ad time. Shallman also settled some scores in his complaint, alleging that after he helped Trutanich win his first city attorney election in 2009, Trutanich "morphed into... a politician who protects the powerful at the expense of the weak and abuses the City's legal apparatus to bully civil rights protesters, cancer patients and street artists."

Shallman also blamed Trutanich's defeat on "misplaced priorities and a stubborn unwillingness to follow advice."

The bad blood has continued as Trutanich campaigns for re-election as city attorney. Shallman is working for his opponent, Mike Feuer, who finished ahead of Trutanich in the primary, 44 percent to  30 percent. Feuer and Trutanich will meet again in a May 21 runoff. And even as Shallman and Trutanich put their past disagreements to rest, new ones linger on.

Trutanich's new consultants have attacked Feuer over his contract with Shallman, alleging that the two "conspired to cheat, steal and lie" and that Feuer fraudulently obtained $300,000 in public matching funds by under-reporting the true cost of Shallman's campaign services.

Shallman's representatives have said the contract is not unusual, and Feuer has said he cleared the arrangement with the staff of the L.A. City Ethics Commission.

In his statement, Trutanich's attorney said that "Lowe & Associates wishes the parties well and looks forward to another successful term for Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich."

Andrew Cowan, who represented Shallman, said that his firm, Gallo LLP, "is pleased that this lawsuit will not be an issue distracting voters in the election for City Attorney, and that voters will decide the election based on the merits of the two candidates."