Can I Get a Witness? Sure – Got a $100K?

by Thomas Buckley at

Can I get a witness?

Sure – got $100K?

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors this afternoon unanimously approved to spend about $100,000 to re-hire former George Gascon’s former chief of staff so she can act as a “central witness” in the multitude of civil cases his own employees have brought against him.

Yes, correct: the county is now paying recently retired former county employee  $107.24 an hour for up to 960 hours this fiscal year to help District Attorney Gascon fight the “employment, whistleblowing, and retaliation allegations” against him.

The person being hired is Gascon’s former chief of staff Grace Woo, who recently retired. If the numbers seem oddly specific, the 960 hour limit is a direct reference to Woo’s ability to continue to receive her county pension while back working for the county (the supervisors also had to declare her “critically needed to make that happen.)  In case you do not have a calculator handy, 960 X $107.24= $102,950.40.

Gascon’s request to the board is surprisingly (almost unnecessarily – why not say ‘consultant?’)  specific, laying out why he needs to spend $100K of taxpayer dollars to defend himself from the legion of deputy district attorneys who have filed suit against him.

To justify the expense, Gascon wrote in his request that Woo is:

a central witness for the County in defense of these allegations. Ms. Woo will be working with County Counsel and outside counsel, Glasser-Weil, to defend the Department’s actions in these lawsuits. This will require background information discussions, witness deposition, and trial preparation. Deposition dates are scheduled to begin as soon as February 2024, requiring research, discussions, and preparation prior to the deposition dates. Preparation for these hearings will require Ms. Woo to access case information, personnel information, and prior office-related emails and other communications. Access to, and review of, this information will best be achieved by having Ms. Woo reinstated as a retired County employee prior to the deposition dates.”

Putting aside the technicality that is already March, 2024, there is the premise of the request; to wit,  paying a witness you seem to think will be on your side.