MALIBU—During the Malibu City Council meeting on November 30, the council voted unanimously to make the report of the findings of the investigation of former Councilmember Jefferson Wagner’s allegations of corruption available to the public.
Almost a year ago, the Malibu City Council was presented with an affidavit by outgoing City Councilmember Wagner alleging wrongdoing and corruption in city government. It prompted the Malibu City Council to retain lawyers Evan Jenness and George Newhouse to conduct an investigation into the allegations.
Their final report was provided to councilmembers on October 28, 2021. During their November 8 meeting, the city council requested to discuss at a future meeting whether to make the final investigative report publicly available.
On November 30, Interim City Attorney John Cotti advised that the final investigation report was protected from disclosure under state law, but acknowledged that the council could waive any protection afforded the report and authorize its release.
After public comment and a short discussion, Malibu City Council voted unanimously to make the report available to the public, allowing only for the redaction of personal identity information of witnesses.
The city of Malibu indicated in its report the following:
“After an objective and thorough review of available evidence, and interviews
of numerous witnesses, we have determined that the allegations and insinuations of
public corruption set forth in the December 20, 2020, affidavit of former Malibu City
Councilmember Jefferson Wagner (the “Affidavit”) are either inaccurate or
unsubstantiated.1 In our opinion, the credibility of the affiant also is doubtful.”
City Council added, “To the extent that the Affidavit purports to reveal corrupt acts (such as an offer to pay or the payment of bribes, or providing services or official functions or
actions based on favors or illegal inducements), the allegations are incorrect,
untruthful and/or not substantiated by the information obtained by the undersigned
counsel (hereafter, “Counsel”). Based on our findings, we do not recommend any
follow-up action be taken by the City Council.
We reached these conclusions after interviewing 28 witnesses, including
former Councilmember Wagner, reviewing numerous written materials (including
materials provided by witnesses and the City of Malibu), litigating a motion to
unseal materials related to certain allegations in the Affidavit, reviewing publicly
available records and media pertaining to select matters, and analyzing potentially
applicable laws, regulations and other authorities.”
The report can be viewed at: www.MalibuCity.org/WagnerAffidavitReport. The cover letter to Mayor Grisanti accompanying the report can be viewed at: www.MalibuCity.org/WagnerAffidavitLetter. Additional materials will be released as they become available.
Video of the item during the November 30 meeting can be viewed on the city Youtube channel (starting at 5:53:00) – https://youtu.be/PyuTSMaZHxY?t=21177.