A law firm hired by the city to investigate an allegation that Los Angeles Fire Department Deputy Chief Fred Mathis was intoxicated while supervising the agency’s operations center during the Palisades fire, found he was likely intoxicated at LAFD headquarters in City Hall East, but it cleared him. of any wrongdoing, according to documents obtained Tuesday.

According to an investigative summary provided by the Los Angeles Fire Department, the law firm’s investigation concluded that Mathis “was most likely under the influence of alcohol or intoxicated” on May 18 but that ‘”there was no evidence that Mathis had alcohol in his P4 dormitory”. .”

The law firm‘s investigation, a summary of which was first obtained by the Los Angeles Times, also found that Mathis “was technically on leave when he was likely intoxicated because he was was made ill” that day. However, The Times reported in July that an entry was retroactively made in Mathis’ timing log four days after the May 18 incident, showing he was on sick leave on the day he would have been fit. drunk and on duty at East City Hall.

Mathis told the newspaper in an email that he had done nothing wrong. He admitted that he struggled with alcoholism, but denied ever being intoxicated while on duty.

FRONT COVER: Law firm investigating reports that LA Fire Chief’s deputy was drunk on duty

“Have I made mistakes in the face of my alcoholism?” Mathis wrote in an email to The Times. “Certainly, but I make no apologies for having an illness that I continually battle every day. I have never reported to duty impaired and my work has never been affected by my addiction.”

Mathis retired a few days before the end of the investigation in January, so he could not be subject to any discipline. According to The Times, he received a payout of almost $1.4 million, in addition to his annual pension of around $225,000.

The LAFD could not confirm the payment to City News Service, saying workers’ compensation claims are handled by third-party administrator AIMES. The department paid $292,587.09 for unused sick leave, holidays and vacation time, according to the department.

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Mathis’ last seven months with the fire department were spent on paid leave for “continuous trauma to one extremity”, although the nature of the trauma is unclear, the Times reported.

The findings of the investigation outraged department insiders, the Times reported.

The heads of three black, Latino and female firefighter organizations told the newspaper that the Mathis case is another example of how the department gives special treatment to senior officers, especially if they are male or white. Two members of the Fires Commission, the five-person civilian panel that oversees the department, also criticized the handling of the Mathis investigation, the newspaper reported.

The law firm’s investigation also cleared Mathis of allegations of misuse of his LAFD credit card and confidential investigation information after a furlough.

“There is no evidence that Mathis used the Voyager card to refuel his personal vehicles, or otherwise used the Voyager card inappropriately. Accordingly, it follows that this allegation is unsubstantiated. “, according to the summary of the investigation.

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