Both the Times and the Daily News are reporting, with somewhat differing details, that Board of Public Works president Andrea Alarcon was at the Doubletree Hotel in Little Tokyo when her unattended 11-year-old daughter was taken from City Hall to a nearby LAPD station about 11:45 on a recent Friday night, following a party in the building for Project Restore. Alarcon has gone on leave while the incident is investigated, saying she is seeking treatment for an unspecified problem.
This afternoon's Times story, by David Zahniser — who broke the original report on Alarcon on Nov. 21 — has the tantalizing detail that the daughter told police that she secretly followed her mother out of City Hall about 10:30 p.m. The girl said she saw Alarcon with a man and woman she did not recognize, and caught up with the trio at 1st and Main streets. Alarcon told her daughter to go back and wait inside City Hall, law enforcement sources told Zahniser. A Department of General Services officer later saw the child inside City Hall and she was taken to the LAPD's Central Area station about 11:45 p.m.
At about 1:30 a.m., Zahniser writes, Lorraine Green — identified as "an administrative assistant for one of [Mayor] Villaraigosa’s top aides" — phoned the daughter's cellphone. The child answered and handed the phone to police. Green reportedly told the officer that she and Alarcon, the girl's mother, had been together at the Doubletree, the former New Otani and Kyoto Grand hotel that is just two blocks from City Hall. Alarcon got on the phone, had trouble understanding what she was being told, according to the story, then arrived to pick up her daughter about 2 a.m. and was interviewed by someone from the county's Department of Children and Family Services.
I'm not sure what question was asked, but Zahniser says that Villaraigosa spokesman Peter Sanders told the Times that the mayor was not with Alarcon "at any time after he left City Hall Friday night." The mayor was honored during the Project Restore party.
The Daily News web story this afternoon, by Dakota Smith, also quotes Sanders saying "the mayor wasn't with Commissioner Alarcon after the Project Restore party." The DN version cites unnamed City Hall sources "with direct knowledge of the event" saying that Alarcon was with other party attendees at the Doubletree. Then there's this tidbit: "It's unclear if the group was celebrating at the bar or in a hotel room." Um, OK.
According to the Daily News, "After being contacted by police around 2 a.m., Alarcon took a taxi to LAPD's Central Division station to retrieve her daughter."
The 11-year-old girl's father, Herschel Chalk, expressed concern about his daughter when reached on Thursday, Smith writes.
"Andrea and I no longer have a relationship, but my priority is the safety of my daughter," said Chalk, who lives in Cincinnati and spends his summers with his daughter.