BEVERLY HILLS—Sheriff Leroy Baca of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has asked for an independent review involving a 2008 case where he’s been accused of giving favored treatment to an individual. The individual in question is Ezat Delijani, a Beverly Hills real-estate developer who has given political donations and gifts to Sheriff Baca over the years. The dispute in question involved Delijani and a tenant of his, Afshin Nassir, a pharmacist who Delijani accused of forging a signature on a lease.
Authorities from the Beverly Hills Police Department completed their investigation in the case and indicated that the disagreement between the two parties was not a criminal matter, but a civil matter. No charges were filed by prosecutors in the case who cited a lack of evidence. According to reports, Baca sent a note to his chief of detectives at the time to look into the incident. Canyon News spoke to the Beverly Hills Police Department, who said that they have no comment regarding the probe or investigation.
The probe is being handled by Michael Gennaco of the Office of Independent Review, who was asked by Baca to examine the case to assure the public that no favoritism or special treatment was given at the time of the incident. Baca is asking the Independent Review to examine new ways for him to handle requests for cases that involve individuals who are donors, friends or public figures. Canyon News contacted Michael Gennaco, who did not return our inquiries before press time.
Canyon News spoke to Steve Whitmore, spokesperson for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department about the probe. He indicated that Sheriff Baca asked for the Office of Independent Review to examine the situation on Tuesday, October 26.
When asked by Canyon News that considering Sheriff Baca was instrumental in establishing the Office of Independent Review, if he saw why the public would ask for another agency to investigate the probe, Whitmore replied, “The OIR does not work for the sheriff’s department. The reports they put out are critical on our department. They are an outside agency of six civil rights attorneys that makes sure everything the sheriff’s department does is unbiased.” He added, “They are the watchdog, overseer of the sheriff’s department.”
When asked about the department’s policy on requests made to a public official by an individual who has ties to an official, Whitmore told Canyon News, “There is no policy, but if it’s something illegal like expunging a ticket or taking a bribe, a public official cannot take part in that.” He added that if an individual comes to the sheriff with the belief a crime has occurred, the sheriff is obligated to look into it. “He’s an elected public official and a sworn peace officer,” said Whitmore. When asked if Sheriff Baca believes he has done anything wrong, Whitmore responded, “He’s done nothing wrong, that’s why he asked for the OIR to review the case.”