LOGO: The Los Angles Independent
The Los Angeles Independent • 4201 Wilshire Blvd. #600 • Los Angeles • CA • 90010 • Ph: 323-556-5720 • Fax: 323-556-5704
Tuesday, AUG 08, 2006
NEWS INDEX
Front Page
Hollywood
West Hollywood
Culver City
Westside
Campaign 2006
Gay Pride
Features
Tony Castro
Joe Scott
Mary Frances Gurton
Anna Scott
Jerome Cleary
K. Pearson Brown
Entertainment
Sports
Dodgers 2006
Prep Sports
Boxing
Opinion
Business
Beauty/Health
Mayoral Campaign
Villaraigosa Speeches
CHANNELS
Crime Blotter
Letters to the Editor
Calendar
Editorial Staff
Advertising Staff
Careers at LAI
Classifieds
Obituaries
Subscribe Today!
Place a Classified Ad
Guest Book


Guest Book
Email Us


Email Us
This Week's Poll
Should Hillary Clinton run for president?
Yes
No
Undecided
AD: line1
AD: line2
AD: The Los Angeles Independent
AD: Page Three
AD: Gelson's
AD: Hollywood Lincoln Ford
AD: Sparklettes
AD: Nordstrom
Ludlow: The End of the Mayor's Honeymoon?
Martin Ludlow and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on election night, 2005. Gary McCarthy Staff Photo
Martin Ludlow and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on election night, 2005. Gary McCarthy Staff Photo

Politics: Villaraigosa’s stronghold on labor support may wind up the loser in Ludlow’s troubles.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spent a restless weekend knowing he could do little about the inevitability awaiting his good friend and political protege, Martin Ludlow.

Secreted away with his family, Ludlow was coming to terms with an unceremonious fall from grace — a federal criminal conviction that would force him to give up all the power and influence he had amassed in a short, whirlwind political career.

Elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 2003, his political star had risen with Villaraigosa’s, who was elected to the council that same year and catapulted to the mayorship last summer in a historic election.

For Ludlow, he too rose with Villaraigosa. Both were former union activists, and just days before the election the head of the County Federation of Labor — Miguel Contreras — died suddenly of a heart attack.

In the weeks that followed, through a series of backroom deals and arm-twisting, Villaraigosa was able to galvanize his tremendous union following to make Ludlow Contreras’ successor — elevating him to one of the most powerful labor figures in the country.

But the past has come back to haunt.

A federal investigation into alleged fundraising contributions in Ludlow’s 2003 council campaign that dogged him for much of his brief tenure as executive director came full circle last week and culminated Tuesday.

Faced with the possibility of going to prison, Ludlow, 41, accepted a plea bargain deal that stripped him of office and power in leading the County Federation of Labor, which represents 354 unions with a membership totaling 825,000.

On Tuesday, Ludlow stepped down as head of that union as part of the plea bargain — which reportedly will involve Ludlow paying $181,000 in fines and $81,000 in restitution in exchange for pleading guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to violate city campaign limits.

Ludlow also accepted a 10-year ban from holding public office or union positions, effectively putting an end to a promising career in public life.

Ludlow’s demise may also signal a sobering wake-up call to Villaraigosa and possibly the end to the extended political honeymoon he has enjoyed since taking office last July.,

Villaraigosa now faces the daunting task of contract negotiations in the coming months with several city unions, as well as his campaign to takeover the city’s public school system in which he faces opposition from the teachers union.

In Ludlow, Villaraigosa had the consummate loyalist — the mayor referred to Ludlow as being “like a brother” at a news conference last week. Ludlow might have been able to marshal a significant amount of pressure on the mayor’s behalf in dealing with both the city unions and the teachers.

“Whoever replaces him, it's hard to imagine that it would be someone with the stature of Martin Ludlow or someone with the same relationship with Antonio,” Erwin Chemerinsky, a Duke University law professor who has known both men more than 15 years, told the Los Angeles Times. “This is a blow to labor, a blow to Antonio and a blow to the city.”

Villaraigosa may still wind up with a close ally as Ludlow’s successor, but the County Federation of Labor now faces closer scrutiny in its political dealings after the findings of investigations by U.S. Attorney's Office, the District Attorney's Office and the city's ethics commission.

Authorities have found evidence that Ludlow's successful 2003 campaign for the Los Angeles City Council campaign benefited from a secret effort by leaders of Service Employees International Union, Local 99, which represents school employees, according to reports.

Investigators suspect Local 99 leaders illegally spent at least $53,000 in union funds to hire political operatives as phantom employees and pay for cell phones, computers and phone banks benefiting Ludlow's campaign.

Federal laws regulate political spending by unions.

Meanwhile, at Getty House, the official mayoral residence in Windsor Square, Villaraigosa’s restless weekend was not altogether because of Ludlow’s fall from power but over the mayor laying out a Plan B — coming up with a strategy that would allow him to again broker a deal for the person who succeeds Ludlow.

A City Hall insider close to Villaraigosa said that the mayor’s choice is Maria Elena Durazo, Contreras’ widow and president of UNITE HERE Local 11.

Villaraigosa’s friendship with Durazo dates back to the 1970s when both were young activists in the union movement.

“Antonio thought she would have been a good choice to succeed Miguel,” the insider insisted, “but Antonio knew what she was going through and that she needed time and space to grieve her loss.

“If Maria Elena succeeds Martin, it will be as if the leadership [of the County Federation] never skipped a beat. It would be the best of all worlds for the mayor.”

Tony Castro can be reached at tcastro@laindependent.com.

Tony Castro Archives


   


 more . . . Tony Castro
26.JUL.06 The melancholy prince of undercover cops
07.JUN.06 What the election means to Villaraigosa
17.MAY.06 Give us this day, our daily bread
10.MAY.06 Looking for Hemingway
22.FEB.06 Ludlow: The End of the Mayor's Honeymoon?
15.FEB.06 The New American Icon: Heroics and Flaws
18.JAN.06 Villaraigosa: 'I Want My Picture on That Wall'
22.NOV.05 The Remaking of Los Angeles - Part II
16.NOV.05 The Remaking of Los Angeles
09.NOV.05 Political Pickup Lines and Romancing the City
19.OCT.05 Getting Stars to Give Back to Hollywood Blvd.
12.OCT.05 Rod Stewart at 60: D'ya Think He's Still Sexy?
05.OCT.05 Villaraigosaizing the Urban Blighted Dodgers
21.SEP.05 'The Villaraigosas of Hancock Park'
17.AUG.05 Cover Story: Having a Nose for Michael
13.JUL.05 Cover Story: L.A. and the Jedi Mayor
25.MAY.05 Theme Songs for Antonio Villaraigosa
04.MAY.05 Can Hahn Steal the Thunder?
09.FEB.05 Cover Story: The Inevitability of Jim Hahn
02.FEB.05 Cover Story: The Power of Coach K
26.JAN.05 Cover Story: An American in Cuba
19.JAN.05 Cover Story: 'The Earth Is Cracking!'
12.JAN.05 Cover Story: 'Jim Morrison Is Alive'
29.DEC.04 The Best and The Brightest of 2004

search archives
Keywords:   
 Issue date:   
  Type either Keywords, Date or both.
  Date examples: 5/30/02, >5/30/02


This Week's Highlights
Front Page
 Anti-Semite Passion of the Road Warrior
 The Sex Also Rises
 Fear and Loathing in Mel Gibson's Church
Hollywood
 Tom LaBonge, the king of Hollywood
 Paramount recording studios closing up
 Seeking out veggies to the stars
West Hollywood
 West Hollywood celebrates National Night Out
 WeHo’s Pride fest getting a face-lift
 Time Warner takes over Adelphia Cable
 Firm hired to save WeHo’s library
Culver City
 ‘Culver City Reads’
 Has Saundra Davis stepped out of line?
Jerome Cleary
 Woody Allen’s Latest Film: Scoop, A Murder, and Mystery Comedy
Entertainment
 Review: 'Brothers of the Head'
 Deep Cover: Foxx and Farrell in 'Miami Vice'
 Q&A: Robin Williams
 Review: 'Scoop'
 Cooling off with a dip into Hockney
 Does the devil wear Oscar gold?
Crime Blotter
 Crime Blotter

AD: The Los Angeles Independent
AD: Wave
AD: Megan's Law
AD: The Los Angeles Independent

{ website powered by bulletlink.com }
^Top
  Copyright 2006  The Los Angles Independent.  All rights reserved.  content management system, online newspaper, newspaper software, newspaper websites, online newspapers, news websites, newspaper templates, classified software, news websites, news sites, news templates, classified ads software, media hosting, news hosting, association websites, sell online, shopping cart, online shopping cart, community websites, attorney websites, build your own websites, do it yourself websites, do-it-yourself websites, self managed websites, church websites, college websites, school websites
^Top

"