LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — City Controller Wendy Greuel is under fire amid allegations she used taxpayer dollars to fund her mayoral campaign as the days wind down to the May 21 runoff election with City Councilman Eric Garcetti.
Former Los Angeles Councilwoman Ruth Galanter filed a complaint with the Ethics Commission Friday. She accused Greuel of sending campaign-related emails from her city email address.
Her demand for an inquiry comes after Los Cerritos Community News obtained email exchanges between Greuel and her campaign advisers on the city email account. The outlet obtained the exchanges after filing a public records request.
The emails in question tallied 130 pages. Included were reported exchanges between Greuel and potential campaign endorsers. There was also what appeared to be a financial report sent to her advisers, the mayor and the City Council.
Greuel's campaign spokesperson Laura Wilkinson acknowledged campaign emails had been sent from the controller's city account but said it was done by mistake.
"Greuel recognizes that she could have done a better job of keeping her two email accounts separate," Wilkinson told City News Service. "But over a two-year period, there were only about 50-60 emails that were inadvertently forwarded by Greuel."
Wilkinson also dismissed claims the campaign benefited from the emails and said Greuel was not opposed to reimbursing the city.
Galanter disagreed with the statement. She told City News Service the emails indicate a "clear pattern of deliberate and illegal use of city resources" rather than a simple mistake.
Other supporters of Greuel's opponent, City Councilman Eric Garcetti, are also taking aim.
An independent expenditure group called "Lots of People Who Support Eric Garcetti for Mayor 2013" demanded the Ethics Commission audit Greuel to determine if taxpayer dollars were misused.
"It's now clear we need to audit the auditor to make sure her books are clean and the public's trust was not violated," the group's co-founder, Rick Jacobs, told CNS.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Eric Garcetti has taken a controlling ten-point lead over Greuel.
However, both candidates suggested that current polls take a back seat to election day as they faced off in a debate on Tuesday.
"I have seen a lot of polls, many of which have us neck-and-neck", Greuel said. "So the best poll is the day of election day."
"That's just a snap-shot," he said. "It's nice to have four polls in a row that have had me between seven and ten points, but the only polls that matter are the ones that are starting today and ending on May 21."
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