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Court: City Controller Can't Audit Elected Officials

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Tuesday ruled that the City Controller cannot audit elected officials, including the City Attorney, whose office had sued the controller over the matter.

The ruling was a victory of sorts for City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, even though he's not he one who sued. Rather, it was his predecessor, Rocky Delgadillo, who took then controller Laura Chick to court after she tried to audit the attorney's worker's compensation program.

While Trutanich ultimately let the next controller, Wendy Greuel, audit the very worker's compensation program that led to his predecessor's lawsuit, he essentially stood firm by the notion that his office had the right not be audited.

The judge in the case wanted the parties to work out a compromise, but barring one, a ruling was handed down. "The court declares that the Charter for the city of Los Angeles does not authorize the controller to conduct performance audits of either the entirety of the office of an elected city official or any programs within the office of an elected city official,'' Judge Mark Mooney wrote.

The decision could set a precedent that also bars the controller from looking into the finances and programs of City Council offices.

Controller Greuel says she'll appeal the ruling.