Rocky Delgadillo

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline)-An up-and-comer in the California political scene with eyes on the state's attorney general's office is reportedly the target of San Francisco FBI agents.

The San Francisco Chronicle cited anonymous sources in breaking the news on Wednesday that the FBI has opened a criminal investigation of Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo.

Delgadillo's spokesman Nick Velasquez called the Chronicle story "a hatchet job" by Delgadillo's political opponents seeking to stop the city attorney from launching a bid for state attorney general in 2010.

"Any allegation of any wrongdoing is nothing more than trash being shoveled by the city attorney's opponents hiding behind a cloak of anonymity," Velasquez said.

Later in the day, Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick told reporters she had been questioned by the FBI about her audit of the workers compensation unit that Delgadillo supervised.

Chick has recently been sued by Delgadillo over her plans for the audit.

Last year, Delgadillo admitted to ethical violations that included having his city-owned sports utility vehicle repaired at taxpayer expense after his wife crashed it into a pole while driving with a suspended license, and using city employees to baby-sit his children.

The Chronicle said its sources claim that FBI field agents went to Los Angeles to open a "wide-ranging probe" of Delgadillo, 48.

The investigation, the Chronicle reported, is being run out of the San Francisco office to avoid a conflict of interest if the case were assigned to the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, which has worked with Delgadillo's office on some cases.

Another news report late Wednesday claimed the investigation will include a review of Delgadillo's wife, and whether she paid taxes on income earned through her consulting firm. Again, news agencies cited anonymous sources.

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