An attorney representing Los Angeles County’s chief executive officer has accused Sheriff Alex Villanueva of defamation and threatened to take legal action against him over comments he made Wednesday on a live Facebook broadcast.
The spat centers around a question about the propriety of CEO Sachi Hamai’s position on the board of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. The nonprofit helped push a proposal to the Board of Supervisors this week to redirect 10% of the county’s general fund — which includes part of the Sheriff’s Department’s budget — to better address the needs of low-income residents in under-resourced communities.
Villanueva has suggested that the proposal is a veiled attempt to defund his department. Hamai stepped down from the United Way board before Tuesday’s vote to avoid the appearance of any conflict. During the meeting, she raised concerns about the proposal. Even so, the board voted 4-1 to draft a measure that could appear on the November ballot.
The question to Villanueva was posed on Facebook by his wife, Vivian, who asked in a comment whether it is a felony for Hamai to serve on the United Way board.
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