Wendy Greuel launched a TV attack ad this morning, faulting her rival in the race for L.A. mayor for his support for a controversial settlement allowing hundreds of digital billboards.
However, Greuel also voted for the 2006 settlement with Clear Channel Outdoor and CBS Outdoor when the issue came before a committee.
The ad faults Garcetti for voting on the issue despite owning 200 shares of Clear Channel Communications, an issue that was first reported by the L.A. Weekly in February.
"At night, you can see what kind of mayor Eric Garcetti would be," the narrator says. "As council president, he hid his investment in a digital billboard company, when he illegally voted to give it a city contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars."
In response, the Garcetti campaign said that he properly disclosed his investment on his financial interest forms. The Garcetti campaign has also maintained that the vote was not an illegal conflict of interest because Garcetti was unaware that Clear Channel Communications owned Clear Channel Outdoor.
When the digital billboard agreement became controversial in 2009, Garcetti acknowledged that he had made a mistake. A judge recently ordered Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor to turn off the digital signs, and they have complied.
Greuel raised the issue in a spirited debate in Sherman Oaks on Wednesday night. In his defense, Garcetti said he had donated the stock to charity in 2007.
"We got rid of that stock," he said. "It's not an issue."
Greuel was absent when the council -- including Garcetti -- unanimously approved the settlement on Sept. 13, 2006. However, Greuel did vote in favor of the settlement agreement at a closed door meeting of the council's Budget and Finance Committee on Aug. 14, 2006. She also voted for a similar agreement with a smaller company, Regency Outdoor, in November 2006.
The ad also faults Garcetti for holding an oil lease related to the Beverly Hills High School drilling site.
"He would profit, while toxic chemicals are released at the school," the narrator says. "Digital billboards and toxic drilling. Eric Garcetti. In it for himself."
The lease paid Garcetti $1.25 per year, and no oil was drilled from under Garcetti's property.
Greuel has also been airing a TV spot highlighting her endorsements from Magic Johnson, Richard Riordan and Barbara Boxer. The Greuel campaign is spending $700,000 this week on TV time, split evenly between the positive and negative spots.
Update: Here's the video:
John Shallman, Greuel's strategist, issued the following statement:
"Garcetti has been falsely and relentlessly attacking Wendy Greuel for
months on the DWP when it turns out he's been secretly shilling for
the DWP union for years--taking thousands of dollars, free trips and
even hiding a damaging DWP audit from being released to ratepayers
before they voted on the union-sponsored Measure B... Ignorance is no excuse for violating the law."