Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Report Green Dot's Ben Austin on the City Ethics Commission Complaint Form Online

Support Parents and UTLA against LAUSD and Green Dot's corporate charter cash cowsToday's closed faux "Garfield Town Hall" hosted at Catholic Charities (notably because Garfield's parents and teachers oppose Green Dot's hostile take over attempts) was the final straw. The fact that parents, teachers, and community members are being excluded from the process demonstratively illustrates the lack of democracy and accountability by CMOs. Both Mr. Austin and the Mayor should have had the courage to face all the people they are trying to disenfranchise. Our tax dollars shouldn't be used to privatize schools and devastate our communities!

Report Ben Austin at: Los Angeles City Ethics Commission - Complaint Form

Name and Title of Person Involved: Ben Austin, Assistant City Attorney
City Department Involved: City Attorney
Name and Contact Information of Witnesses: You can use my name and email

Here's what I wrote:

I am of the understanding that Assistant City Attorney Ben Austin has special arrangements with the City Ethics Commission to work part time for Steve Barr and Marco Petruzi's Green Dot Corporation lobbying arm, Parent Revolution (née LAPU). It has come to my attention that Mr. Austin is now working FULL TIME for Green Dot/Parent Revolution.

Mr. Austin is possibly violating City of Los Angeles Code of Ethics rules number VII and IX by working at a second job full time. Furthermore, as a city employee, Mr. Austin has fostered close connection with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Mr. Austin has used this relationship to recruit the Mayor into co-hosting closed "town hall" meetings in which they are promoting LAUSD VP Yolie Flores-Aguilar's corporate charter choice resolution. Mr. Austin stands to gain financially from this arrangement as the resolution would effectively award Green Dot more campuses. This is a very precarious situation, bordering on a clear conflict of interest, and might find Mr. Austin in violation of rules IV, II and I.

I am encouraging the City Ethics Commission to investigate this immediately.

In case people aren't aware of Mr. Austin's potential conflict of interest status:
Ben Austin: The Six Figure Salary Man - Green Dot

Shame on You Mayor Villaraigosa!
Call or write the Mayor's office and ask why he is campaigning alongside Ben Austin, a city employee, who also works with a private firm which stands to gain fincially through his job with Green Dot by passage of LAUSD VP Flore-Augilar's resolution on August 25, 2009.

200 North Spring Street, Room 303
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 978-0600


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