- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 26, 2007

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When Paris Hilton was sprung from jail early, few were as outraged — and as outspoken — as the prosecutor who put her there.

But City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo’s complaints of a two-tiered jail system where “the rich and powerful receive special treatment” have come to back to haunt him.

Soon after Miss Hilton was sent back to jail earlier this month, he acknowledged his wife had committed a similar infraction — driving with a suspended license. Among other things, he also conceded sticking the taxpayers with the bill after his wife crashed his city-issued car in 2004, and he acknowledged that staffers have occasionally run personal errands for him and baby-sat his children.

The disclosures have led the California bar and the city Ethics Commission to open investigations of one of Los Angeles’ highest ranking law-enforcement officers.

“He was living in somewhat of a glass house,” said Raphael Sonenshein, a political scientist at California State University at Fullerton.

The furor has sent the normally publicity-friendly politician into virtual hiding. Mr. Delgadillo’s office declined to comment.

Mr. Delgadillo, 46, is an up-and-coming Democrat whose close advisers are said to refer to themselves as “Team 1600,” a reference to the Pennsylvania Avenue address of the White House.

The son of an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Rockard Delgadillo grew up in East Los Angeles and won a scholarship to Harvard, where he played football. He earned his law degree from Columbia University.

He was a deputy mayor to Richard Riordan and an entertainment attorney for powerhouse legal firm O’Melveny & Myers, where former Secretary of State Warren Christopher practices.

In 2001, he was elected to the first of two terms as city attorney, becoming the first Mexican-American to hold a citywide office in three decades. He ran unsuccessfully for California attorney general last fall.

Apart from some questions about his claims of gridiron glory, including a boast he played pro football (he tried out for New York Giants but didn’t make the team), he had had little trouble in office up until two weeks ago.

That was when Mr. Delgadillo decried Miss Hilton’s release from jail by the sheriff. He argued that Miss Hilton should serve more time behind bars for driving with a suspended license and violating her probation on alcohol-related reckless driving charges.

On the same day, he acknowledged that his wife, Michelle, got a ticket for driving with a suspended license in 2005. Mr. Delgadillo said that she, unlike Miss Hilton, was not driving drunk.

The Los Angeles Times, which followed Mr. Delgadillo’s troubles in an editorial page fixture it called “Rocky Watch,” also reported that the city attorney had used members of his staff to run personal errands and baby-sit his two young sons.

Finally, it was discovered that a consulting and business-development company operated by his wife failed to file state tax returns for several years and did not have a city business license. On Friday, she paid an undisclosed amount in fees and penalties for not registering her company with the city, but said she reported the consulting income on her personal tax returns.

“Here’s a sobering observation,” the Times editorial page wrote. “Any police officer who committed Delgadillo’s offenses would be fired, and appropriately so. Why does the city’s top law-enforcement official get a better deal than its rank and file?”



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