L.A. city officials have raised concerns over how $40 million in taxpayer funds have been spent by the agency.
L.A. County Superior Court Judge James Chalfant denied a request by DWP workers' union IBEW Local 18 to block subpoenas issued by the city controller.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Controller Ron Galperin and City Attorney Mike Feuer praised the decision.
The two trust funds are administered by the DWP labor union, IBEW Local 18.
The controller has never been allowed to examine the union's books to obtain details about how the funds have been used. Only obtained broad summary statements.
"All we want is daylight," said Garcetti. "All we want is sunshine, to know exactly where that money is being spent, and to be able to move forward."
"The question is, Is that money being used for safety and training of workers? That's the bottom line," said Feuer. "If it's been spent properly, let's move on. If it hasn't, there could be consequences. Our job has been to assure the city controller has the opportunity to actually reveal to the taxpayers how their money has been spent."
The city controller said he will undertake two audits: One for the funds and another to audit the personnel and their performance within the union.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey's office also is investigating the trusts.
The judge wrote that Galperin has the authority to "perform an audit of the trusts at any time to determine if public money from the DWP is being spent legally, and for future reference by the City Council. The subpoenas also are valid, and the petition, styled as a motion to quash, is denied."
The subpoenas demanded that the Joint Safety Institute and the Joint Training Institute furnish financial documents as part of an audit being conducted by Galperin's office in response to questions raised over whether the funds were properly spent.
City News Service contributed to this report.