As the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office continues to investigate the allegations that City Councilman John Duran falsified expenses, the City of West Hollywood voted to defend the Councilman if charges are filed. Many of us in Los Angeles know John Duran, in my case from working in the County as a criminal defense attorney, and others know him through his hard work for the City of West Hollywood.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Duran had more than $7,000 in meal expenses on city credit cards over a three year period. John, I’m not sure where you have been eating, but I wish I could spend that little on business related meals in a three year period. Personally, I spend far more than that every year on business related meals and entertainment. Far be it from me to allege any type of conspiracy theory, but I fear the District Attorney’s Office may be barking up the wrong tree. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not friends with John and I do not know what is actually on Mr. Duran’s expense account, but there better something more than what has appeared in the Times.
So, let’s talk about his a bit. Theft is the taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with the intent to keep the property. Fraud is an intentional and material misrepresentation of a significant fact. The DA thinks that a City Councilman in West Hollywood committed a crime by having $7,000 worth of work related meal expenses in a three year period. I work about 60 plus hours per week. I eat about six or more meals per week during my working hours. Most of these meals are business related with at least one other person, often two or three others. This does not include special events at night and on weekends. I usually have at least a couple of those per month and they are usually much more expensive than an average lunch. If I assume six meals per week and multiply that by fifty weeks per year then we are talking about over 900 meals in a three year period. I am not sure if I have ever had a $8 business lunch, but if I did, I am certain it was not very productive.
John, I think you’re pretty safe here. Let’s have lunch. You can keep the receipt.
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