Reporter Eric Spillman at KTLA hounded the City Controller's office until it gave up 95 pages of receipts from Mayor Villaraigosa's 9-day trip last year to Berlin, London and Copenhagen. The $120,000 tab from city coffers includes some eyebrow raisers: $22,000 for ground transportation in Copenhagen, stays in five-star hotels in each city, and $3576 for three dinners in Copenhagen. I don't know if it made a story on the air, but Spillman blogs what he got:
His delegation included an official photographer and a videographer as well as two LAPD officers, paid by the city to provide security.
According to the documents, the Mayor and his staff employed a "full-service meeting and event management bureau" in Copenhagen at a cost of $33,899. The company organized transportation (3 minivans with drivers at a cost of $22,329), a hostess, dinners, and other nice perks, too, including passes to the Arndal Spa for workouts ($283).
The trip was partly paid for by the DWP and Port of Los Angeles since the official mission was "to tell the world of the ground-breaking work that the city of Los Angeles is doing to combat climate change and build the green economy."
Spillman also speculates that the "Brackpool" shown on receipts is Keith Brackpool, which if true would be interesting. He's the Cadiz water project entrepreneur who, um, socialized with Villaraigosa in the mayor's Sacramento days. He also employed Villaraigosa when the mayor was out of office, vacations with him in Iceland, hosted his birthday party last year, and was along on the mayor's trip to Asia in 2006 at a time when Brackpool's girlfriend was on the mayor's staff and also on the trip. He's also got an insatiable need for favors from elected officials in California to push his Mojave Desert water project. Says Spillman: "I've asked Sarah Hamilton, the mayor's spokeswoman, why Brackpool was a part of the Mayor's delegation. I've also asked her how she can justify the luxurious travel during a city budget crisis. She has not yet responded with answers."
Spillman had asked last year for city records on Villaraigosa's trip with Brackpool to Iceland and was stonewalled, the mayor's lawyer saying that releasing those records would "reveal the Mayor's deliberative decision-making processes."