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Carmen Trutanich's Lively Decade

Carmen Trutanich reportedly went with CountryWide for two of three quickie Nevada deals; next, he defended USC athletes accused of sordid crimes through the school's disgraced Pete Carroll era; now he is said to want the DA's job in 2012 should Steve Cooley move to Sacto.

Long Beach Republican Carmen Trutanich, not yet even a year and a half into his job as LA City Attorney, is already said to be interested in his chum Steve Cooley's District Attorney job should Cooley become State Attorney General.

But if Trutanich finds a way into that office sooner or later, don't expect him to be much of a people's advocate on behalf of homebuyers victimized by predatory lenders.

As a point of interest indicative of the man's appetite for hot action, it appears to us that Trutanich and his wife as joint tenants flipped three homes in southern Nevada between late 2003 and early 2004, in the middle of that state's hottest real estate frenzy, when flippers from all over the country were overheating the Las Vegas market. The Nuches of Long Beach are said to have bought the new properties from Pulte Homes of Nevada in late 2003.

Before half a year was out, Nuch and wife are said to have made over $200K in aggregate over the purchase prices on these three quick Nevada flips. And sure, for good measure, two of the properties appear to be financed by CountryWide, the lender that fed the sand state bust and thereby, with the likes of IndyMac & WaMu, helped lay waste to the whole American economy. (A former Countrywide employee, Shadi Kamran of Santa Monica, now of Bank of America, donated $500 to Nuch's race against Jack Weiss in late 2007).

Nothing illegal about any of that, of course. If the reported flippings are documented, it will, however, demonstrate where Nuch's heart is: maybe not so much on the side of justice, especially economic justice, as on the side of churning something quick to make a buck.

From that point through today Trutanich's career is better known--as just as iffy when it comes to administrating justice. After taking in his reported real estate winnings from the overheated spec boom in Nevada to the bank, he took a series of cases on behalf of USC football players from the freewheelin' Pete Carroll era. Nuch's clients there were accused of awful things, and Nuch gladly sprung them. He also claimed that the players paid him, not the school nor any nods or winks. And Coach Carroll said of Nuch in a largely fawning article from 2005, "He's part of the [USC] community. Somebody has to represent these guys." Nuch was only too happy to be that somebody. To quote the Times:
Last spring, police arrested Eric Wright on suspicion of felony sexual assault and, according to documents, found 136 Ecstasy pills in an apartment he shared with a teammate. In August 2004, Dennis was the focus of a sexual-assault investigation.

Authorities did not find sufficient evidence to charge either man. Dennis remains with the team. Wright transferred to Nevada Las Vegas.

Football analysts were stunned when Cleveland drafted Wright early; sports media had convicted him of crimes that Steve Cooley's USC-booster-laden District Attorney's office did not. But the win-at-all-costs Carroll era recently ended in complete disgrace, with Reggie Bush handing over his Heisman earlier this month. Whether or not the NCAA remains interested in how the student athletes from this disgraced era were able to afford the services of Trutanich--and what role the institution played in facilitating these arrangements--remains a question.

All of this would be less than, well, clownlike were it not for the fact that Carmen Trutanich, even while threatening City Councilmembers with jail or setting million-dollar bails on misdemeanor perpetrators, is so fond of telling Valley neighborhood councils and other halls of ordinary citizens that they can be assured that he and his team is always "doing the right things for the right reasons." And over the past decade, Trutanich has been doing things that appear to ordinary citizens to be less that perfectly right: flipping out-of-state houses like burgers, putting out fires for otherwise disgraced athletic programs, and measuring the curtains of various offices, one of which he now holds, and one of which he is said to eye like a jealous lover.

As the election nears, the County Board of Supervisors, who will likely be obliged to appoint an acting DA, would do well to consider the ramifications of their appointment, and spend more than a few hours between now and then thinking about who meets the needs of Los Angeles County not only for the balance of Cooley's term but going forward. They wouldn't appoint Nuch; but if they feel strongly about not appointing him, they may wish to consider appointing someone in a position to run successfully against him should the man continue to covet the office.