Ted Stein quits with jab at Chick*

The president of the city Airport Commission resigns but denies in strong terms any suggestion of corruption. In his statement, Stein also blasts City Controller Laura Chick, whose audit of the airport contracts process and her private report to the DA and U.S. Attorney about possible wrongdoing brought him scrutiny. Interestingly, Stein and Chick used to be political allies - she held a fundraiser for the controller's race at his Encino home.

Stein writes:

For the past six months, I have been subjected to an array of false, defamatory, and unsubstantiated accusations suggesting that I engaged in, or orchestrated, a plan to force URS (an airport contractor) to make political contributions in order to continue doing business at Los Angeles International Airport--what has been dubbed "pay to play."
While the URS allegations seem to change with each new "unnamed source" or politically motivated leak, they all have one thing in common: they are patently false...I have not spoken until now in the hope that these false and mean-spirited rumors would die of their own politically motivated weight. But I cannot allow these defamatory and unsubstantiated allegations to go unchallenged as they have impugned not only my reputation, but the reputations of the entire Board of Airport Commissioners and the hard-working professional staff of the Los Angeles World Airport...

Perhaps more troubling than the poorly researched report itself are the controller's refusal to correct the errors in the report and her unwillingness to admit that she, and her auditors, made fundamental mistakes.

The tactics employed by the Controller -- including publicly implying that the Commission may have engaged in wrongdoing yet refusing to produce any evidence to support her claim -- represent the worst traits in government. A public official should not be permitted to ignore research material, timelines, emails and other information simply because it exposes flaws in her work product and demonstrates that her attacks were unwarranted. But that is precisely what Controller Chick did here.

Mayor Hahn suggested in interviews last week that Stein's departure was about to happen. The Times this morning called for his head in an editorial. * And: A Rick Orlov story in the Daily News gave some advance context for Stein's move: the prospect that Hahn will face a number of challengers for reelection next year.

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