The nonsense continues over the awarding of the airport's big contract, with the council board in charge moving to postpone - once again - the decision on who gets the business. The incumbent, HMS Host, is ticked off because airport officials recommended that the award go to one of its competitors, SSP. Host has come up with as many cockamamie objections as it can, including the fact that LAX used a consultant that had done other work for SSP. Trouble is, the consultant has also done work for Host. No matter. Councilman Tony Cárdenas, who chairs the Board of Referred Powers, has brought in City Attorney Carmen Trutanich to have a look at the LAX-SSP connection. Funny he should ask Trutanich. From the Weekly:
As long as [Trutanich] is taking that much time with it, he might as well examine his own ties to John Ek, one of Host's top lobbyists. According to lobbying disclosure reports, Ek sent out 55 invitations to a Trutanich fundraiser in February, and raised $3,000 for Trutanich's campaign. (Lobbyists are barred from directly contributing to city campaigns.) He did the same for Cárdenas a few days later, raising $2,500. He also solicited $5,000 for Janice Hahn's council campaign in February 2009, and contributed $6,500 to Hahn's campaign for lieutenant governor. His wife, Esther Ek, also gave $6,500 to Hahn's state campaign, which was not prohibited from accepting lobbyist contributions.
The only member of the board looking good in this circus is Councilman Bill Rosendahl. At yesterday's meeting, he said, "I'm nothing but frustrated by the backchannel crap that's going on." Think he meant lobbying? The board had scheduled its next meeting for Sept. 9 , but as noted by the Weekly, that's Rosh Hashanah so it will almost certainly will be postponed again. Nyuck nyuck nyuck...
*Host emailed me a letter that one of its folks sent to the board last week, noting that its work with Smart Design ended in 2008. That predates the LAX bidding process. Lot of insider baseball, but there you go.