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Fund-Raiser Remains Angry at the System

October 05, 1986|BARRY HORSTMAN | Times Staff Writer

Oct. 9, 1985, was supposed to be a day of celebration for the MacHutchin and Hedgecock families. To mark developer Graham MacHutchin's birthday, his wife, Nancy, had invited their close friends, Roger and Cindy Hedgecock, to their La Jolla house for dinner.

That afternoon, however, a Superior Court jury convicted Mayor Hedgecock of 13 felony counts, making the party plans seem most inappropriate. Expecting to scrap the dinner party, MacHutchin joined other close friends of the Hedgecocks at the mayor's South Mission Hills home for what she described as an afternoon of "drinking wine, some laughing and some crying."

"After a few hours, Cindy finally said, 'We're going to have that dinner party anyway!' " Nancy MacHutchin recalled. "I called the chef and he was overjoyed because he'd always been a big fan of Roger. So we went ahead with it. It was somber, but we carried through. I think it says a lot about them."

It also says a lot about the closeness of the two families, and helps explain why Nancy MacHutchin, of all those included in Hedgecock's inner circle, is among the most bitter over Hedgecock's conviction and subsequent forced resignation.

"If any emotion is left, it's primarily one of anger at the system," MacHutchin said. "I still can't believe this happened over such innocuous things that they made out to be so big. The main thing I found out is that the justice system is pretty unjust."

In addition to their personal relationship, MacHutchin was Hedgecock's chief political fund-raiser. Later, as Hedgecock's legal woes mounted, she turned her talents to a legal defense fund that raised more than $90,000 to help defray Hedgecock's legal expenses.

As a witness in both of Hedgecock's trials, MacHutchin had difficulty concealing--or perhaps simply made no effort at doing so--her self-described "absolute disgust" over the proceedings, in which she persistently parried prosecutors' questions with spirited defenses of Hedgecock's behavior. Her contempt toward prosecutors was palpable in the courtroom and, if looks could kill, the district attorney's office would have had several job vacancies.

"There's still a strong disbelief factor," MacHutchin said. "Roger should still be mayor."

Since July, MacHutchin has been director of the Cuyamaca Club, which reopened this summer after an extensive renovation. Her duties include handling public relations for the club, as well as trying to boost the club's membership--a challenge that she finds similar to political fund-raising.

"I'm still calling a lot of the same people, only now I have something to offer in return," MacHutchin said.

Her consulting agency, Nancy MacHutchin & Associates, also continues to raise funds for its clients, political and otherwise. In recent months, one of her most consistent ticket-buyers to fund-raising events has been Roger Hedgecock.

"I don't give him a chance--he doesn't have an opportunity to say no," MacHutchin said, chuckling.

Although Hedgecock says that he is unlikely to ever again seek elective office, MacHutchin believes that he would attempt a political comeback if his legal appeal is ultimately successful. In support of her theory, MacHutchin noted that Hedgecock recently agreed with her suggestion to update his political mailing list.

"I looked at him and said, 'So what are you planning on doing--sending Christmas cards to 4,500 of your closest friends?' " MacHutchin said. "He just laughed. I didn't directly ask him about maybe running again someday, but I didn't have to. We understand each other pretty well."

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