The L.A.P.D. owes me mucho dinero- how do I collect from a municipality?

I did work for the LAPD early in June of this year. Promised payment prior, then because of “funding approval problems”, ( and with an approved contract lacking a written signature… ) I flew to LA anyway and did the work.

Despite the lack of a signature on a contract, I have emails galore approving it, saying when and where to be, etc. I can prove I was THERE because I signed into the Police Training Facility, and have mucho photos of myself with my trainees at said facility. Additional emails from the man who I contracted with apologize for the screw-up, etc. etc.

To date, not a nickel. Amazing. I’m told they screwed up on their end, and didn’t use some special form to submit, and now my invoice sits on a desk at the LA City Attorney’s Offices. THEY will decide if it is to ever be paid.

What, I’m gonna sue the cops? It’s appalling. I cannot even imagine how to extract my payment from the Los Angeles Police Department. Can I send a municipality to a Collection Agency? I am sorely tempted to do just that- they are not ( despite the LAPD’s repeated behavior to the contrary ) above the law.



It’s my understanding that you can sic a collection agency on anybody, including muni government. The problem is, those collections folks take a big slice of the money.

I’d talk to an attorney first. Since your invoice is in the City Attorney’s office, they’ll respond better to an attorney than to you directly. Hopefully, it’ll just cost you an hour or so of time for a few phone calls.

Good luck!

Doggone it. I clicked “Quote Message” instead of “Show Signature.” Sorry about that.

How would a collection agency collect against a sovereign entity? They don’t have any legal recourse to garnish wages. Is the Agency going to tell Standard & Poor’s to lower the bond rating?

Perhaps they intend to force a Sherrif’s auction… :stuck_out_tongue:

Be careful how you pursue this. The town might skip town.

In the case of Los Angeles, some would say it already has. :smiley:

The City of Los Angeles is not a sovereign entity. It is subject to the laws of the State of California and to U.S. Federal law. They can also be sued in civil court.

That said, however, I doubt that they are intentionally trying to rip off Cartooniverse. It may just take an attorney-to-attorney chat to resolve things.

That may well be. I sent off a polite but terse note asking for an update on payment. The fellow I’ve been dealing with sent the following missive to the accounting folks ( who don’t have the teeth for force the City Attorney’s office to approve or deny payment of the invoice, by the by )

I am not inclined to hire a lawyer. Look, I watched “L.A. LAW”. I know how it will go. I’ll be given coffee and croissants and billed seventy-five thousand dollars an hour for the privelege of watching Susan Dey flirt with her co-workers. No thank you sir !!!

Instead, I’ll do the logical thing. I’ll find the right people in Sacramento who oversee and prosecute fiscal malfeasance in police departments in California. And, will ask them to investigate it.

I’ll get paid soon enough after that. One does not steal from me and get away with it. :slight_smile:

Been there done that…

Sorry to tell you but by doing work for these folks without a properly executed contract isn’t a good move. Fiscal malfeasance doesn’t even figure into it dude, the pooch is screwed. Your firm and individual who arranged for this work will likely be on the hook for awhile.

The City of Los Angeles takes competitive bidding very seriously. Circumventing that process may be done in the case of an emergency but for routine work it doesn’t play that way. Also, businesses owned by women, minorities, disabled veterans and SLB’s often-times get preference over others. The City Attorney is likely trying to determine if any laws have been broken or if favortism played a role in your getting this work. Could be more of an uphill battle than you think, hope not, but it may be, so you better be squeaky clean on this one.

Anyway, once the city attorney is thru screwing around and your invoices finally find their way to AP that departments internal clock starts, and it’s a 45-day clock. Bear this in mind as you progress to the approval stage. Look for a nice but firm way to ask that your invoices be expedited for payment.

Good luck to you

Also been there, done that…right here in NYC.

In the final year of Dinkins’ administration, a buddy who worked for the city asked me to invent a map and text for a walking tour of literary lower Manhattan, so I spent the summer (of 1991? something like that) doing so, and submtted it. By then, Giulliani’s administration had started, and they kiboshed the project. Since I just had my (now-embarrassed) old college pal’s telephoned go-ahead, I didn’t even try to fight it.

You can’t fight City Hall, I figured, and you’ll probably get your buddy fired trying. oddly enough, we haven’t been close since. I think he’s still embarrassed to hang out with me.

Good luck, and keep me posted.

It’s said that not all attorneys are averse to taking a big slice of the money.

Oh. Well, I have no fears on this count. I’m beyond squeaky clean. I’m an independant contractor who was hired directly by the LAPD from their budget to teach their Video Unit some stuff. It is entirely outside the purvey of competitive bidding procedures, and entirely within the guidelines of purchasing goods or services directly for the LAPD. That doesn’t worry me.

They apparently didn’t process my invoice using the proper forms. Their bad, not mine. As a result, ( because it adds up to more than $ 1,000.00 ) it is automatically sent to the City Attorney’s office for review.

Squeaky doesn’t bother me much. For that matter, some LA City Attorney doesn’t scare me much either. Having done nothing wrong, I have nothing to fear. I sold them intangibles- I cannot recover an education. It’s not like I can sue to reposess boxes of hardware.

You’re a master of understatement, Xema. There are, however, attorneys willing to make a few phone calls and try to help out with a problem that won’t look for a cut of the profits.

Quick example: we had a problem when my daughter and her husband were buying a house. I have two attorneys I’ve dealt with in town. I called attorney “A” and his secretary said he was out sick that day. I asked her to have him call me as soon as he was better–the clock was ticking on the house purchase. I called attorney “B” and she basically said that’s not her kind of practice. She asked a few questions, and then said she couldn’t help.

Attorney “A” called back that afternoon. We talked for a half-hour, and he said he was doped up on Demerol for a back injury and I probably didn’t want his legal advice. He recommended attorney “C” that worked in the area.

Attorney “C” solved the problem with four phone calls spread over two days. He didn’t charge me, saying he was doing a favor for Attorney “A” and that “it was just a few phone calls.”

Attorney “A” didn’t charge me, saying all he did was recommend a friend.

Attorney “B” (who did nothing) sent me a bill for her time.

There’s good ones, and there’s bad ones…

[hijack]My sister in law was the exectutrix of my father in laws estate. We had to use a lawyer in Florida to handle the sale of some property there, and this woman charged an outrageous amount for very little work. My SIL complained to the family, but diligently sent the check for payment, along with a letter specifying what the payment was for. End of story, right? Noooooooooo. The lawyer sent a bill for reading the letter that accompanied the check.

That’s scary as hell.

So, the update. They claim to have cut a check- on August the 16th. :rolleyes:

This only gets better.

I’ll give them another two weeks. Then I contact the purse string people in Sacramento. :slight_smile:

I’m not your lawyer, I’m not giving you legal advice here, but I do want to point something out that hasn’t been raised so far. In many states, including but not limited to California (home of the LAPD), there is a requirement that before you can sue a governmental entity, you need to present a “claim” to the government. My google skills are weak tonight, so I can’t find you the citation to the California Code section, but I believe it is called the “Government Claims Act,” and it’s codified in the Government Code around section 900 or 950.

Basically, before suing, you present your claim to the government, whether your claim is breach of contract or injury or what-have-you. The claim must address the specifics (the who, what, when, where and why of your case) so that the government can analyze it. The government must then act on your claim relatively (in legal terms) quickly; if they do not, or if they deny your claim, then you can sue. It enables a cheap and easy resolution of many “disputes” with the government where they do want to compensate you but the proper paperwork needs to be done.

But it sounds to me as if your check has been cut and is on its way sloooowly to you, so this is all academic. I hope your check shows up soon.

Cartooniverse, if the work was for the LAPD, where do Sacramento’s purse strings come into it?

Because despite their outlaw mentality, they exist at the behest of the State Government and their purse strings and legal representation ( Attorney General of the State ) all reside in Sacramento. That’s where…


No, I better not.

Instead, I adopt what Campion says. She’s much nicer than I am, knows California law better and, after all, constant repetition sometimes works.

Well, it does with my dog. Much more effective than shooting him, anyway.