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Job Training Chief in L.A. Is Target of 4 Inquiries

October 29, 1987|GLENN F. BUNTING | Times Staff Writer

Records of campaign contributions reveal that nine PIC board members contributed a total of $2,365 within the past two years to Mayor Bradley, City Council members Farrell, Richard Alatorre and Michael Woo, and unsuccessful candidate Larry Gonzalez.

Ramos acknowledged that he asked staff members and Velasco to contribute to the Alatorre campaign because he wanted to get a Latino elected to the council. He said he never conducted fund raising during work hours.

"No one has ever been pressured or retaliated against because they did not (contribute)," Ramos said.

If the allegations are true, Ramos may be in violation of the Hatch Act, according to an official in the city attorney's office. The Hatch Act prohibits public employees who are in charge of federal funds from organizing or participating in political fund-raising drives.

Lawson's complaint also contains official documents and memos which show that the Los Angeles public relations firm of Fouch-Roseboro Corp. received a $160,000 contract extension last year in violation of the firm's contract with the Private Industry Council. The apparent violation occurred when Ramos failed to get the necessary authorization from the PIC board, according to a June 15 private memo to Ramos from PIC board Chairman Robert Clark.

Ex-Dodger Catcher

Fouch-Roseboro is run by Barbara Fouch, a prominent businesswoman who has close ties with the mayor's office, and her husband, former Dodger catcher John Roseboro. They have received more than $500,000 in PIC contracts since 1985 to produce radio and television commercials, billboards and slide presentations to attract employers and residents who are out of work to participate in PIC job training programs. Hollywood celebrities Ed McMahon, David Wolper and Mayor Bradley have been featured in some of the spots.

As a result of his handling of the Fouch-Roseboro contract, the PIC board stripped Ramos of his authority to approve contracts or sign any checks to a contractor, according to the June 15 memo from Clark.

Ramos insisted that the Fouch-Roseboro contract extension was discussed by the PIC marketing committee, but said he is unable to locate any record of the meeting. Ramos said that Lawson, the vice president who handled the Fouch-Roseboro account, was responsible for documenting the committee meeting.

"I released the money . . . " Ramos said. "It was my mistake, clearly. I would have to answer to the board if this lady (Barbara Fouch) did not pay us . . . All the work is finished and we're not contracting with her anymore."

Frustration Told

When city officials learned how the Fouch-Roseboro account had been mismanaged, they urged Clark to conduct a thorough investigation. Deputy Mayor Davis said she grew frustrated when Clark refused to inquire about the contract.

"Bob (Clark) kept saying we can't go into that kind of detail," Davis said. "There seemed to be confusion among board members on whether they wanted to hear anything. I blew my top."

When the board failed to act, city officials decided to have a private firm conduct a financial audit of the Private Industry Council. The audit, shown to The Times by a City Hall source, found that Ramos used government funds to purchase his own private luxury car, a new 1986 Lincoln Continental, instead of leasing an automobile as called for in his contract. The Continental is registered jointly to Ramos and his wife, Janet, who is a Los Angeles deputy city attorney.

When Ramos was hired in 1984, the PIC board agreed to pay him $400 a month to operate a leased vehicle and provide all fuel, maintenance, repair and insurance expenses, according to a copy of Ramos' contract. He initially leased a 1984 Mercury, which Ramos said was made available to his staff during office hours.

William Bruce, director of the Community Development Department's Training and Job Development Division, said that if his department had known of the auto purchase, "we would have said that raises a whole new question about whose car it is if it is purchased with (federal) funds."

City authorities are now investigating what to do about the vehicle, Bruce said.

Refusal to Buy Car

Ramos said that when he was hired he wanted the PIC board to purchase a car for him, but city officials refused. He said he believed he could spend the $400 monthly car allowance however he pleased.

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