Another delay for LAX contract

The council's Board of Referred Powers, a special panel that's determining which group will win a big concession contract at the airport, apparently forgot that this Thursday is Rosh Hashana, so a scheduled all-day meeting has been postponed to next Monday (guess the folks at City Hall have cut back on calendars). Over the weekend, the LAT's David Zahniser further detailed the assorted conflicts of interest involving several of the council members on the Referred Powers board, not to mention City Attorney Carmen Trutanich. You'd need Agatha Christie to untangle all the connections... actually, I'm not sure even the old gal would be able to sort everything out.

Some of the most prominent relationships involve Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who has close ties to a lobbying firm that is representing HMS Host. The firm, Ek & Ek is based in San Pedro, where Hahn lives, and its principals are close friends of the councilwoman. Hahn raised $36,750 from Ek & Ek and its clients during her recent unsuccessful campaign for lieutenant governor. She has gone on vacation at least four times with the firm's vice president, Esther Ek, traveling to such destinations as Hawaii and New Mexico. Ek's husband, John Ek, also knows [City Attorney Carmen] Trutanich, having gone to him in 2003 for informal legal advice after Ek received a subpoena from a grand jury investigating airport contracting practices. Ek said he did not pay Trutanich, who was elected in 2009, but turned to him as a lawyer, friend and fellow San Pedro resident.

The losing bidder, HMS Host, received a gift oped in this week's Business Journal from the owner of one of its restaurants, Maria's Italian Kitchen (no doubt initiated by Host's PR people). Funny how all those shameless conflicts of interest didn't come up in her piece.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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