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What the members of these commissions do (at least some of them) is funnel money and gifts to elected officials from the people who want city business.
Originally Posted at: http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-me-wong14jan14,1,2042240.story?coll=la-headlines-sports-nba-lakers
City Hall Insider
Post, Kaiser Job
January 14, 2004
An influential appointee of Los Angeles Mayor James
K. Hahn quit both
his public post and his private job as
Leland Wong confirmed that he had resigned from
Kaiser and his unpaid
city position as vice president of the
Wong, 46, is a prolific fundraiser and a major
in Los Angeles politics. He has emerged in
Commissioners oversee city departments and have wide
latitude in awarding
millions of dollars in government contracts.
Kaiser officials said they asked for Wong's
resignation when they found
that he had spent the HMO's funds improperly
As a nonprofit institution, the HMO is barred by law
from holding political
fundraisers or making direct donations to
Cordova said the investigation also found that Wong
tickets to cultural and sporting events that were
Cordova said Kaiser lawyers alerted the city Ethics
Commission on Tuesday
to what it considered the violations of law.
"What is really sad for us is that Leland was a real
who represented Kaiser in a number of positive ways," Cordova said.
mistakes have been made. We're an organization that faces up to its
A spokeswoman for Hahn said the mayor would have no comment.
Reached at home late Tuesday, Wong said he was unclear what fundraisers Kaiser officials were referring to.
"They might be mistaking some of the events that
I've done to bring
together community leaders to hear from elected
Wong said he was unaware of a $100 limit on gifts to politicians.
Wong said his department bought Laker season tickets
to "build relationships"
with community leaders and
Political insiders say Wong developed considerable
clout because of
his position at Kaiser and because of the
In 2002, Kaiser reported giving money to more than
1,100 groups, ranging
from the United Way and the
"He's Kaiser's guy who hands out the money," said
Los Angeles political
consultant Harvey Englander.
His Kaiser job also entailed lobbying local officials on health-related issues.
Wong was mentioned in an Oct. 23 Times article about
of Los Angeles lobbyist and businessman
The district attorney's office is looking into the matter.
Kaiser officials said they launched their
investigation a week after
the article appeared, when they received a
Cordova said that allegation was unfounded but the
into other areas and led him to place
Tuesday's dual resignations by Wong severed his ties
with Kaiser after
16 years and ended 14 years of nearly
Former Mayor Tom Bradley first appointed Wong to the
city's police and
fire pensions board in 1989, then moved
The airport, harbor and DWP boards preside over
departments that run
some of Southern California's most
Wong served on the airport board through mid-1993,
when he backed Michael
Woo's unsuccessful bid for mayor.
Riordan moved Wong back to the Airport Commission,
where he also continued
serving when Hahn became mayor
Wong maintains a condominium in Los Angeles'
Angelino Heights neighborhood.
Commissioners are required to
He and his wife also own a house in San Marino.
Wong said Tuesday that he plans to work as a consultant here and in Asia and to start a bank.
Wong is a member of a group of Asian Americans who
have applied to start
a state-chartered bank in Arcadia.
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times