The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office decided Thursday not to prosecute Andrea Alarcón, the city official accused of going drinking while leaving her 11-year-old daughter unattended at City Hall.
But the city attorney or attorney general could still file criminal charges against Alarcón in the Nov. 16 incident. She's already facing drunken-driving and child endangerment charges in a 2011 case in which her daughter was in the car.
In a written evaluation released Thursday, Deputy District Attorney Michael Gargiulo said Alarcón's behavior Nov. 16 didn't constitute a felony because she didn't leave her child in circumstances "likely to produce great bodily harm or death." He noted the girl was inside City Hall and security officers watched her for most of the time her mother was gone.
Gargiulo referred the case to the city attorney, which prosecutes misdemeanors. Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for the City Attorney's Office, said lawyers there believed they could not handle the case because of a conflict of interest.
Alarcón, 33, is president of the Los Angeles Board of Public Works and thus a client of the city attorney.
DA spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said her office researched the law and believes there is no such conflict of interest. Mateljan said his office will review Gargiulo's evaluation but will likely refer the case to the state attorney general.
The night of Nov. 16, Alarcón went to a party at City Hall for the preservation and architecture group Project Restore.
After several hours, Alarcón and two other people left City Hall, and her daughter followed them down the street, Gargiulo wrote. Alarcón told the child to go back in City Hall and wait for her. She said she'd be back in 10 minutes after walking people to their car.
Instead, City Hall security officers saw the girl unattended about 45 minutes later - about midnight - and asked her what she was doing there.
The girl was taken to a Los Angeles police station while officers looked for her mother. Police found Alarcón at a DoubleTree hotel two blocks away from City Hall after 1 a.m., Gargiulo wrote. The prosecutor wrote that officers who saw Alarcón said she "appeared intoxicated."
Alarcón, whose city job pays her $127,000 a year, took a taxi to the Central Division station about 2 a.m. to pick up her daughter after police contacted her. She later took a leave of absence to seek treatment for an unspecified condition.
Her father, Richard Alarcón, is an outgoing city councilman facing perjury and voter fraud charges filed by the District Attorney's Office, which says he and his wife lied about where they live.
In a statement last month, Richard Alarcón said he was glad his daughter was "seeking the professional help she needs."
On Dec. 30, 2011, Andrea Alarcón was arrested in San Bernardino County after she blew at least 0.15 on a breath test administered by the California Highway Patrol, according to court records. Her daughter was in the car.
Alarcón was charged with driving under the influence and child endangerment. The case is still pending.
The girl's father, Herschel Chalk, who lives in Cincinnati, said in November he was concerned about her.
City News Service contributed to this report.