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South Bay Digest

Torrance

February 28, 1985

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is reviewing allegations made last week that City Clerk Donna Babb used city funds and staff members for personal and political purposes.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Candace Beason of the special investigations division said an investigator has been assigned to the case to determine whether criminal charges should be filed against Babb. Beason said that decision will be made in about two weeks.

City Manager LeRoy Jackson said he will await the outcome of the district attorney's review before deciding whether the city will conduct an internal investigation of the matter.

Deputy City Clerk Dora Hong, who has held that job for only seven months, made the allegations in a memo to the city manager last week. In the memo, Hong alleged that Babb, who defeated her boss for the city clerk's job in 1982, used city funds to have personal items framed, used city-owned cassette recorders to tape her college class lectures, had a staff member type her term paper and padded expense vouchers.

Babb has called the charges absurd and said, "There has never been any intention on my part to deceive anyone."

Hong also accused Babb of instructing a staff member to listen to religious tapes and of requiring prayer before two staff meetings. She also said that Babb used an annual staff Christmas party for political exposure, adding that Babb asked staff members to contribute food and drinks for the potluck lunch at the party and then submitted a voucher for reimbursement for her expenses.

Hong said that since Babb became city clerk, the nine-person office has had a staff turnover of 140%, including three deputies. In Babb's first 13 months in office, seven staff members resigned or transferred, Hong said.

Babb's reply was that the turnover was the result of political differences with employees who had remained loyal to former City Clerk Sherie Nelson. Babb had been Nelson's deputy and friend until Nelson tried to eliminate Babb's job a year before the election.

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