Ludlow's friends

There's some chatter out there about today's Daily News editorial lambasting last week's Holmby Hills fundraiser for Martin Ludlow, the ex-councilman who had to give up his County Fed post after pleading guilty in federal and state court of violating laws governing unions and political campaigns. It begins:

What kind of people would gather at a swank setting to celebrate a criminal and pump tens of thousands of dollars into his pocket?

Rap gangstas? The Sopranos? No way, it's Los Angeles' elite that's paying homage to a confessed and convicted criminal.

In a grotesque mockery of justice, many of the city's most prominent civic and political leaders got together in Holmby Hills Friday night to raise money for Martin Ludlow, the former city councilman and head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

Plates at the soiree ranged in price from a $500 "donation" to as much as $4,000 for the truly dedicated.

And why does Ludlow need these mucky-mucks' generosity? Because he illegally funneled union resources into his 2003 City Council campaign.

This is not an "alleged" crime. Ludlow admitted his guilt to a felony in federal court. As part of his slap-on-the-wrist sentence, which includes probation, he has to pay $180,000 in restitution.

That's a pretty light sentence for a fellow who betrayed the union movement and his community.

Astonishingly, Ludlow has gotten nothing but sympathy from the city's elite, as if he were a victim of wrongdoing and not a criminal.

After naming several of the elected officials and leaders who feted Ludlow, the editorial concludes: "These leaders have made their contempt for the law - and the people of L.A. - all too clear. And that is truly a disgrace."

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