Burris Consulting workers want city to investigate illegal pay scheme

L.A. council candidate pays two workers about half the amount owed in wage theft cases, according to a legal document filed with the city ethics commission.

The document, filed by attorney Richard K. Tofel, accuses Mayor Eric Garcetti of engaging in an illegal pay scheme orchestrated by political consultant John Burris.

Under Garcetti’s leadership, the mayor’s political consulting firm, Burris Consulting, Inc., has been paid more than $10 million from city contracts.

Tofel is representing two workers who were allegedly paid less than minimum wage. They want the city to pay the full amount of their wages, plus interest for the past 18 months, in retaliation for filing fraud complaints against Burris Consulting. Tofel is also asking the city to investigate Burris Consulting’s paying employees with the mayor’s family’s company.

“The mayor has used his power of persuasion to extricate himself from the consequences of his actions,” Tofel wrote in the proposed ethics resolution.

The city ethics commission has the power to investigate such allegations, but that is usually done when the council approves a resolution to do so. In this case, the document said, “the mayor’s attempt to extricate himself from the consequences of his actions by paying the employees less than the wages required by the California Wage Order is an unethical act on the part of the mayor that will be investigated by the ethics commission.”

The mayor’s spokeswoman, Katherine Kliment, on Friday said the mayor was “looking at both sides” of any potential ethics case involving the $9.4 million Burris Consulting contract, saying, “we’re looking into this as quickly as possible. … I’m not going to comment further.”

The two workers are being represented by David Bernstein, a partner with the law firm Gibson Dunn.

Burris Consulting did not respond to a request for comment.

As head of Burris Consulting, the mayor has made a number

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