By Carson Eschen
LOS ANGELES, CA – Eric Strong, a candidate for Los Angeles County Sheriff, Friday called for investigations by local, state and national officials into current LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s alleged abuse of department resources.
Strong, who has spent 29 years working in the LA Sheriff’s department, stated that, “The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is not Alex Villanueva’s slush fund to build himself a private helicopter pad. It’s not his propaganda machine to politicize the very serious issue of homelessness. Nor is it a private investigative tool to intimidate and harass his political foes.”
Strong added, “This is a misuse of taxpayer resources that the District Attorney, Attorney General and United States Attorney should investigate. Alex Villanueva has forgotten that he is in the business of public service. Los Angeles County needs a Sheriff that puts the public’s interest ahead of self-interest.”
His statement follows new accusations that Villanueva’s Civil Rights and Public Integrity Detail has targeted critics of Villanueva or his department.
The detail has specifically investigated LA County Inspector General Max Huntsman, a vocal critic of Villanueva, despite state and federal investigators reporting no evidence of him committing any crimes.
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón has refused to work with the department on a public corruption task force in the past, stating that “[Villanueva]’s only targeting political enemies.”
Villanueva stated he had recused himself from the anti-corruption team’s decision making process, but the Los Angeles Times has reported that sources within the department have heard people refer to the team as the sheriff’s “secret police.”
Strong, in his statement, was referencing a helicopter pad that began construction last summer near Villanueva’s house. It was constructed on the private property of Southern California Gas Company, despite the company rejecting the Sheriff Department’s request to build the pad there.