FBI agents believe Mike Feuer was involved in lawsuit coverup – NBC Los Angeles

FBI files unsealed Thursday show agents investigating corruption at the LA Department of Water and Power, and the city’s role in manipulating over-billing lawsuits, believed that former City Attorney Mike Feuer played a direct role in an effort to try to cover up the wrongdoing — something Feuer says is, “absurd.”

In probable cause affidavits, filed as agents sought a variety of search warrants in the case, they wrote that, “multiple sources of evidence provide probable cause to believe that Feuer obstructed justice, made materially misleading statements to the FBI…”

Agents wrote that Feuer gave, “implied direction,” to a top deputy, Thomas Peters, to arrange to pay an extortionist $800,000 who was threatening to expose the City’s scheme to limit damages from DWP ratepayer lawsuits, by secretly manipulating the case with the help of a friendly private law firm.

“Any claim that I knew about collusion and tried to conceal it is absurd,” Feuer emailed in response to the documents being released.

“To the contrary, when I first learned of it, in April, 2019, I worked with our team immediately to disclose it,” Feuer said of the collusive litigation scheme and cover-up.

The FBI documents were unsealed following legal action by the non-profit Consumer Watchdog and the L.A. Times, that argued successfully in Federal court that the corruption investigation concerned L.A. City government and elected officials, and the public deserved to know more about what agents uncovered.

U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Blumenfeld, Jr. ordered the records unsealed earlier this year.

“It really is, unexplainable. when you read these 1400 pages of documents, how it is that the government prosecutors didn’t prosecute Mike Feuer?” Consumer Watchdog head of litigation Jerry Flanagan wondered to the I-Team Thursday.

“And how is it looking at these documents, given all this illegal, unethical activity that Mike fears still has a bar license in California and can practice law absolutely unexplainable,” Flanagan said.

The files do not include information about what FBI agents seized while serving search warrants on City offices and on a variety of internet accounts, nor is there information that suggests why Federal prosecutors did not seek criminal charges against Feuer.

Peters, who was once one of Feuer’s top executives and pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting extortion, told the L.A. Times he was, “pleased but not at all surprised, to see that my statements to the FBI about Feuer were corroborated by multiple, independent sources.”

Feuer characterized Peters’ statements to FBI agents as unreliable.

“Four years ago, before all the facts were known, the agent mistakenly relied on lies from a now convicted criminal seeking leniency from the government,” Feuer emailed. “I, too, was misled.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office told Feuer in a 2022 letter that he was not the target of a criminal investigation.

The I-Team reported in 2022 that Feuer was scheduled to participate in that 2017 meeting in which the hush-money payment was arranged.

The I-Team initially asked Feuer about the cover-up scheme in March, 2022, after a private attorney who worked on the DWP litigation for the City filed a state bar complaint that claimed Feuer had lied about participating in the meeting.

“I don’t even know what meeting we’re talking about,” Feuer said at the time. “I’ve never been involved in any such discussion,” he emphasized.

The private attorney who filed the bar complaint against Feuer, Paul Paradis, pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge for receiving a near-$2.2-million kickback — for his role in manipulating a class action lawsuit that was supposed to recoup millions of dollars for thousands of overcharged DWP customers.

In addition to Peters and Paradis’s admissions, the former general manager of the DWP, David H. Wright, pleaded guilty to a bribery charge and admitted he agreed to accept payoffs to rig a $30-million no-bid contract in connection with the over-billing debacle.

Another former DWP executive, David F. Alexander, pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents. Federal prosecutors say Alexander was negotiating a ‘lucrative job offer’ connected with Paradis while serving as the DWP’s chief information security officer.

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