Sunday, September 4, 2011

State of California Employee Paid to Hang with Celebrities

As the state of California continues to teeter on the brink of financial disaster, LaTi has this report:
An appointee of  former Gov. Pete Wilson wasted more than $51,000 hobnobbing with celebrities — attending events including the Golden Globe Awards, World Magic Awards and a Julio Iglesias concert — while claiming he was recruiting for an anti-stigma program at the Department of Mental Health, a state audit said Thursday.

Arthur Kassel, a Beverly Hills resident who served as a "special assistant" to the department's director, denied squandering his time on the state payroll, even though none of the celebrities he talked to ever did a public event or radio ad shedding light on the stigma attached to mental illness.
A source tells EPJ, "Kassel is kind of a cop and celebrity groupie. If you carry a badge or your name has been in the paper more than two times, he wants to know you. I never imagined that he turned it into a paying position. The guy is everywhere, though."

Kassel told LaTi that he is an advisor to Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and is a reserve deputy sheriff.  Steve Whitmore, a Baca spokesman, said Kassel is an unpaid part of the sheriff's kitchen cabinet, " a loose-knit group of friends the sheriff sometimes consults," who has helped recruit high-profile people to participate in an annual golf tournament for the sheriff's youth foundation.

On August 30, the 10th Anniversary Gala of the Los Angeles Police Protective League’s  Eagle & Badge Foundation honored Warren Beatty & Annette Bening, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Buss Family & Coach Mike Brown, and The Metropoulos Family – Daren, Evan, Dean and Marianne - and Pabst Brewing Company. In the middle of it all was Kassel. As president of the E & B Foundation, he put the event together.

Another source tells EPJ that, becasue of his law enforcement connections, Kassel can be an effective power player in California in one on one situations. "He can help people out of problem situations, if you know what I mean. He likes to do it from the shadows. I would think he has been involved in some pretty interesting events," says the source.

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