Shapiro’s and Bozajian’s Conflict of Interest Is Growing

The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.

from California Code Section 54950 (The Brown Act)

The silence of Calabasas City Council members David Shapiro and James Bozajian silence has been deafening. Mr. Shapiro and Mr. Bozajian failed to disclose that Mr. Shapiro was employed by Mr. Bozajian as his attorney when Bozajian nominated and voted to appoint Shapiro to the Council. As public servants, it is not their right to decide among themselves whether or not to disclose their professional relationship. The Brown Act says it is their duty as public servants to duly inform the public they serve.

Mr. Bozajian’s defense is his claim to have relieved Mr. Shapiro of his responsibilities as attorney after he was appointed to Council. But that explanation is not as nice and neat as Mr. Bozajian would have us believe. It certainly does not absolve Mr. Bozajian of his duty to disclose their relationship upfront. His error in judgment is all the more egregious as he was Mayor of Calabasas at the time. Nor does the potential of a future change in their relationship allow Mr. Shapiro the right to misrepresent the reality of his situation on his application form, which we disclosed in an earlier article.

In a judgment issued last week denying dismissal of Mr. Bozajian’s lawsuit against the County of Los Angeles, several items were revealed about the relationship between him and Mr. Shapiro. Mr. Bozajian’s case was first filed in 2009. He lost outside financial support for his attorney in early 2011, and not having the ability to pay an attorney out of his own pocket, he advocated on his own behalf for a short time. Some time later, Mr. Bozajian decided to drop his complaint, due to his workload and inexperience with civil cases. But then Mr. Shapiro appeared on the scene, and agreed to re-file and litigate the case on behalf of Mr. Bozajian on a contingency basis. Mr. Shapiro re-filed the complaint in court on January 24, 2012, one week after being sworn in as a member of the City Council.

Mr. Bozajian says that Mr. Shapiro is no longer his attorney. But that raises the question as to under what arrangement was Mr. Shapiro relieved of his role? Since Mr. Shapiro accepted Mr. Bozajian’s case on a contingency basis, and put in substantial work to prepare and file the case, it’s highly unlikely that he would walk away without some form of remuneration. We also know that Mr. Bozajian explained to the court that he had no money to hire an attorney. From the manner in which this was handled, those dots can be connected in an unfavorable way. If this is so, then the conflict of interest only grows in magnitude.

It appears that we’re not alone in our observation that the relationship of Mr. Bozajian and Mr. Shapiro deserves the acronym B-S. ListenCalabasas! has learned of a website and video devoted to the cause. (See the link below.) Fascinatingly, the video says that Mr. Shapiro didn’t vote in the last Calabasas election, raising even more questions about why this man is on the Council.

click for

Bozajian and Shapiro have a conflict of interest in Calabasas.