The FBI's investigation of City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo seems to center on his wife Michelle's businesses and income, the Times reports. It's clear the Times had been digging on the Delgadillo rumors and just got beaten by the San Francisco Chronicle, which broke the news Tuesday that the FBI office up there was leading an investigation. The Times follow-up has six bylines and credit lines, and refers to interviews conducted more than a week ago. Also on Tuesday, City Controller Laura Chick — an arch-rival of the City Attorney — volunteered to reporters that she had been interviewed by FBI agents and prosecutors two weeks ago. She did not divulge details. From the LAT:
Federal prosecutors and FBI agents have expressed interest in at least two firms that hired Michelle Delgadillo -- California Litho-Arts, a printing company based in Los Angeles, and Diane Castano-Sallee & Associates, according to sources familiar with the case who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation.
A separate source, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said one area of federal interest is whether Delgadillo's wife paid taxes on the income earned from her business.
The president of California Litho-Arts, Helen Mars, recently told The Times that her firm had received a subpoena.
For months, rumors had circulated at City Hall that Delgadillo was under investigation, that his e-mails had been seized and that he had hired a defense lawyer.
Speculation began percolating after FBI agents met with representatives of the Information Technology Agency, the city department that retains e-mails and other electronic records.
The Jan. 15 meeting focused on the city's protocol for retaining electronic messages, said the department's general manager, Randi Levin. As of Tuesday evening, a spokesman for Levin said her agency had received no written or oral requests from law enforcement for e-mails from Delgadillo or any other employee of the city attorney's office.
Rumors have also swirled in recent months that Michelle Delgadillo had left the state.
Backstory: LAT columnist Tim Rutten writes that "over the last couple of months, reporters and others who write about local politics and government have received a variety of tips that the feds are investigating Delgadillo, though it's never clear exactly why. Many of them come from the city attorney's political opponents; most involve secondhand information." He says the Times held off reporting the allegations until they checked out, and suggests the Chronicle got (willingly) used. Rutten argues the FBI should confirm or deny that there is a probe going on.