County's Office of Independent Review makes money on the side

In her last story before leaving the Daily Journal for Warren Olney's team at KCRW, staff writer Anna Scott details lucrative outside consulting by Michael Gennaco's county-funded Office of Independent Review. The former assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles and his team of seven lawyers are independent contractors, but they work in a county-supplied office and receive county paychecks, cars and cell phones. Scott says, however, that in the past five years outside work as OIR Group for at least 10 other cities and counties has netted more than $412,000.

OIR Group is also known as the Office of Independent Review, an agency created by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors 10 years ago to review the sheriff's department's handling of excessive force and other misconduct allegations against deputies.

Since then, its leader, Michael Gennaco, has extended his reach far beyond Los Angeles, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in freelance contracts while building one of the country's best-known law enforcement oversight brands.

Gennaco says it's all good. "It's enhanced what we do because I learn so much when we go out to other jurisdictions," he says in the story. "By our forays into other jurisdictions, we learn better ways of doing things that we can bring back to this department, and have."

Also in today's Daily Journal: Staff writer Don DeBenedictis on a once-prominent Orange County lawyer who is still practicing despite an apparent conviction for laundering money for drug dealers. The case against him remains under seal in federal court, so the bar says it can't take disciplinary action.

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