Local

LA can now audit public-funded DWP trusts, court rules

This April 7, 2010, file photo shows the exterior of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in Los Angeles. Union leaders have battled to keep expenditures — totaling more than $40 million thus far — of two nonprofits controlled by DWP from being made public for more than two years.
This April 7, 2010, file photo shows the exterior of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in Los Angeles. Union leaders have battled to keep expenditures — totaling more than $40 million thus far — of two nonprofits controlled by DWP from being made public for more than two years.
Nick Ut/AP

A court ruling has given the city of Los Angeles the right to audit two trusts funded by ratepayers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Officials at DWP and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18, handle the two trusts which receive about $4 million a year from DWP to provide safety and training programs for workers, according to ABC7. They were established in 2000 and 2002.

The Los Angeles Times reported that union leaders have legally battled to keep expenditures, which have totaled more than $40 million thus far, from being made public for more than two years. 

An audit released this year found that the top five administrators of the trusts were making $220,000 a year, according to the Times, while employees with similar positions at the state Public Utilities Commission earned about $148,000.

Thursday’s ruling allows the city controller to conduct annual audits of the trusts.

“The Court of Appeal’s decision is an important victory for transparency, accountability and the simple notion that anyone who receives public funds must account for their use of those funds,” said City Controller Ron Halperin in a prepared statement.

When contacted by KPCC, DWP declined to comment.