Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Audit: General Services spent $800K on equipment it rarely used

Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association mayoral debate.

Rebecca Hill/KPCC

Controller Wendy Greuel released an audit Monday that shows the General Services Department spent more than $800,000 on equipment that it didn't use.

Officials with the General Services Department spent more than $800,000 on two pieces of equipment that, once purchased, were rarely used, according to an audit released Monday.

City Controller Wendy Greuel (who is also a mayoral candidate) found GSD spent $518,016 on a mobile lab in 2008. The lab should have been used to test materials on city job sites. Instead, it was driven 402 miles in 5 years – though the warranty covered it for 36,000 miles.

That same year, the department bought a Geoprobe Drill Rig for $329,231 to test soil samples in real time. It went unused for the first 18 months the city owned it, and has only been used sporadically since then, according to the audit.

“It is inexcusable that the Department of General Services spent nearly $850,000 on specialized equipment without a plan to utilize it,” Greuel said in a statement. “The department must take immediate steps to prevent this kind of failure in the future.”


DWP union, entertainment industry join forces to back Wendy Greuel

Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti

Wendy Greuel Campaign/Eric Garcetti campaign

An independent political action committee is raising funds on behalf of LA mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel. No such group has surfaced in support of her main rival, City Councilman Eric Garcetti.

The union that represents employees with the Department of Water and Power is partnering with the entertainment industry to spend big money in support of mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel.

Working Californians, which is backed in part by IBEW Local 18, hired campaign veterans Ace Smith and Sean Clegg to run the PAC.

The campaign of Greuel's main rival, City Councilman Eric Garcetti, used the news to make a fundraising pitch to supporters Tuesday: 

"A few people with a vested interest in the election, spending unlimited amounts of money to keep change from coming to City Hall is not what we need in Los Angeles. Eric is the progressive candidate that wants to move Los Angeles forward but he can only do that with your help. "

No such independent campaign has filed paperwork in support of Garcetti, according to the Ethics Commission. Through Dec. 31, Garcetti has raised $3.6 million, about $127,000 more than Greuel has garnered.