Villanueva Defends Hiring Private Law Firm, County Says It Has Invalid Contract – NBC Los Angeles



Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva defends his hiring of a private law firm in his failed bid to reinstate a fired deputy over domestic violence allegations, despite county attorneys’ argument that the firm did not have a valid contract to be the sheriff’s attorney. .

In a new affidavit, Villanueva says the county council office told him in a February 28, 2019 letter that he was authorized to seek independent counsel in the case involving former deputy Caren Carl Mandoyan.

“Although I was not advised that the (supervisory) board and county attorney planned to sue me and LASD pursuant to the authorization contained in the February 28 letter, I engaged Quinn, Emanuel,” Villanueva said.

The county filed the current lawsuit Nov. 16 against Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, asking a judge to find that the company did not have a contract with the county for its representation of Villanueva. At a hearing scheduled for February 14, the county is also seeking a preliminary injunction to stay the arbitration that began with a panel selection in December until the question of whether a contract exists is decided. .

The case stems from Villanueva’s support of Mandoyan, which angered board members, and the county filed a petition in March 2018 asking that Mandoyan’s rehire be declared void. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff ruled in favor of the county in September 2020.

Villanueva says he objected to the county council office continuing to advise the board of supervisors against him and the LASD in the Mandoyan case after the county filed a lawsuit, but says his protests “fell on deaf ears”.

The sheriff says the county is now represented in the Mandoyan case – which is on appeal – by two private law firms and one of them, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, told the court that its attempt to reinstate Mandoyan was illegal and that a subsequent settlement with Mandoyan was unauthorized and invalid.

Deputy Carl Mandoyan is at the center of a legal dispute between the sheriff and the board of supervisors over whether the sheriff can rehire him. The deputy has been accused of domestic violence and accused of trying to break into his ex’s apartment. He speaks for the first time about the shocking video with Eric Leonard on NBC4…

“These statements are false, unauthorized and contrary to my position and that of LASD in the Mandoyan case,” Villanueva said. “To make matters worse, I am informed and believe that O’Melveny made these statements while allegedly acting as my attorney and that of LASD.”

The sheriff further says he rejects the law firm’s allegations that his hiring of Quinn, Emanuel was “unlawful, invalid and unenforceable.”

“As O’Melveny is well aware from his adverse representation of the county against me and LASD in the Mandoyan case, these statements are not a true representation of our position and no lawyer or I and LASD would ever do right, or would ever be allowed to make such statements in court or tribunal,” according to the sheriff.

Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan LLP served the county with a demand for arbitration on Oct. 29, according to the county’s pending lawsuit.

“Quinn claims she is entitled to compensation for unpaid fees and expenses she incurred in 2019 to represent the sheriff in a case in which she repeatedly refused to sign a valid recognizance agreement with the county, as required by law,” the lawsuit states. “Instead of contracting with the county, Quinn represented the sheriff for over nine months without a valid warrant.”

A representative for Quinn Emanuel previously released a statement regarding the complaint.

“Quinn Emanuel has been retained by the Sheriff and LASD as independent counsel pursuant to written approval from the Board of Supervisors and the county attorney,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, although the firm’s invoices have been reviewed and approved for payment, the county has refused to honor its authorization and pay the fees and expenses incurred in defending the sheriff and the LASD. The firm is pursuing the matter in arbitration as expressly provided in the signed undertaking. an agreement.”

However, the county alleges that Villanueva retained the services of the law firm in March 2019 without authorization.

“Because the sheriff had no authority to contract legal services, this contract was void, unenforceable and without the authority of law,” the pending lawsuit states.

Quinn Emanuel represented Villanueva despite an order from then-presiding judge Kevin Brazile that the company could not receive county funds without a contract, according to the county’s pending lawsuit.

Quinn Emanuel left the case in January 2020, and Stanley Friedman became Villanueva’s new attorney.

Mandoyan, who worked on Villanueva’s campaign and served as his personal driver, was fired in 2016 following allegations of domestic violence, harassment and harassment of a woman he was dating. According to a report from the Office of Inspector General, the Sheriff’s Department also found that Mandoyan had lied to Internal Affairs investigators.

Villanueva has repeatedly defended Mandoyan’s return to the department, questioning the allegations against the deputy and accusing the county Public Service Commission of ignoring evidence that could have exonerated him of wrongdoing.

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