Inside the L.A. County Fed: Humbled by racist leak, fearful more tapes might be out there
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is poised to begin an investigation into the handling of the Federal Reserve Bank of Los Angeles, with officials citing a potential breach of the law and the potential release of private information about the county.
A confidential memorandum obtained by this newspaper details a meeting between Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, then chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors, and Bank of America officials during which officials showed a “potential violation of Bank of America’s obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act” and the law prohibiting disclosure of private financial or personal information.
The meeting was about the bank’s plan to provide information on its Los Angeles customers to the County Board’s Department of Banking and Finance, the document states. The document states that the meeting took place on July 19, 2012 at Bank of America’s headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
In response to a call to the county’s Finance and Administrative Services departments, Assistant Finance Director Mark Wainwright stated in the document that “it is my understanding that supervisors … have directed that the above meeting be held in private.”
Wainwright told the Supervisors’ Committee on Banking and Finance on Aug. 9 that the Board of Supervisors had “already requested that Bank of America provide the confidential information requested in the Board meeting,” but that his department could not make the information available because of a potential federal law violation. That law prohibits banks, credit unions, and financial institutions from divulging confidential information about customers.
At Supervisors’ Committee, Supervisors Kuehl, Nadeau and Hahn asked Wainwright about why he could not provide the information to the committee since the Supervisors met with the bank’s Chief Privacy Officer, Michael Baker, on Aug. 2, 2012.
In that meeting, Baker told