Ratepayer Money Donated to Charity

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Donates Millions in Ratepayer Dollars to Charity

An investigation by David Goldstein of CBS Los Angeles found that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has donated millions of ratepayer dollars to charity, as ratepayers faced rate increases.


According to records provided by LADWP to CBS, the department has donated more than $5 million to charities since 2015. Individual donations ranged from $5,000 to nearly $100,000.


Some of the charities were related to energy or the environment, but in some instances, the charities have no relation to water or power. One donation was to the Boys and Girls Club in Santa Monica, which lies outside the jurisdiction of LADWP.


Martin Adams, chief operating office for LADWP, makes the decisions regarding charitable contributions, and defended the contribution policy.


“We don’t want to be, every two months, sending a water and power bill, we need to be part of the fabric of Los Angeles,” Adams said.


LADWP donated over $200,000 to the Council for Watershed Health, a nonprofit environmental organization, in 2017. The agency claimed the donations were not donations, but instead dues for membership and contract services. Goldstein found that Adams is the vice president of the board of directors for the Council for Watershed Health. The wife of LADWP Assistant General Manager Joe Ramallo was the executive director for the council for two years through December 2017.


Goldstein found these donations were not included in the original documents provided to him by the LADWP, and asked Adams if it that is suspicious. “I don’t think it’s suspicious,” Adams responded. “It should have been on this list.” (Source: CBS Los Angeles, January 30.)

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