Federal and county prosecutors looking into the Hahn administration have recently asked for detailed information about the mayor's trip to Asia in 2002 with then-commissioner Leland Wong, members of the city council and select supporters, the Times reports Tuesday. The news suggests that, at the least, the coordinated investigations into city contracting practices are becoming more interested in Wong and his influence. But the investigators also specifically demanded info on travel expenses incurred by Jim Hahn, his deputies and others on the ten-day trip.
"It's the last thing he needs," said Republican strategist Allan Hoffenblum. "It's the corruption issue that has put Hahn in the position he is in … and it is the single issue that could cost him the race."
The Times reported last year that Wong, while serving on the Airport Commission in 2002, was also working as a consultant for Evergreen Marine.
Shortly after he informed the Ethics Commission about that job in an October 2002 report, Wong accompanied Hahn to Asia, where city officials signed agreements between Evergreen Marine and the Port of Los Angeles, and between EVA Airways and the airports department.
Port contracting was harshly criticized in a 2003 audit by City Controller Laura Chick, and auditors' notes obtained by The Times indicated that Wong played a role on both deals.
Also: Bernard Parks will endorse Antonio Villaraigosa this morning, the Times reports (apparently alone among the papers. * Update: The Breeze had it too, via the Copley bureau's David Zahniser.) "I don't expect we're going to agree on 100% of the issues," Parks told the Times, "but I believe we'll be able to work on 100% of the issues — although everyone may not get everything they want." It's another big African American endorsement going against the mayor, but Hahn strategist Kam Kuwata said, "Antonio Villaraigosa has had four or five different positions on Bernard Parks." [** P.M. Update: Hahn responds a few hours after the Parks announcement with a photo op starring council members who have previously endorsed him.]
Campaign three-dots: Hahn got the endorsement of Walter Moore, who finished sixth in the March primary...Villaraigosa got the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley...Bob Hertzberg's website has come back to life, with a revived daily news digest by campaign staffer Brian Hay.