For Immediate Release: August 20, 2019
Contact: Nancy Jackson (213) 978-1960
At its meeting today, the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission unanimously approved a stipulated order imposing a penalty of $281,250 on former City Planning Director Michael LoGrande (LoGrande) for governmental ethics violations. This is the largest penalty the Ethics Commission has ever imposed for violations of the Governmental Ethics Ordinance (GEO).
The GEO limits the activities of City employees as they move between public service and private sector employment. The limitations are intended to prevent former City personnel from exercising, or appearing to exercise, improper influence over City actions. One of the revolving door limitations is a cooling-off period, which prohibits a former high-level City official from receiving compensation for attempting to influence action on any issue in any City agency for one year after leaving City service.
LoGrande admitted to violating the cooling-off period by attempting to influence City action less than one year after leaving City service. Immediately after leaving City service in 2016, LoGrande formed LoGrande and Company, LLC and began to work as a private consultant to developers with projects in the City. During the year after he left his City position, LoGrande accepted payments from clients for attempting to influence action by the Planning Department regarding four different development projects. The stipulated order does not call into question the Planning Department’s processes or decisions regarding the projects.
“These are extremely serious violations that illustrate the reason we have revolving door laws. Former City officials should not use inside information or personal relationships to try to create a special benefit for themselves or their clients,” said Ethics Commission President Melinda Murray. “The revolving door laws must be respected, to eliminate undue influence and ensure equal access for all citizens, and the resolution of this case highlights the important work that the staff does to promote equitable government.”
Anyone who is considering leaving City service is strongly encouraged to contact the Ethics Commission staff for advice about how to comply with the revolving door laws.
All penalties levied by the Ethics Commission are paid to the City’s general fund. Enforcement orders can be viewed and searched through the Ethics Commission’s Public Data Portal. The 10 largest penalties imposed by the Ethics Commission are identified here.
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The Ethics Commission was created by Los Angeles voters in 1990 to impartially administer and enforce the City’s governmental ethics, campaign financing, and lobbying laws.