The district attorney's office has found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of City Manager James C. Hankla in a 12-year-old theft case at the Queen Mary. In fact, Deputy Dist. Atty. Herb Lapin concluded that even the "alleged allegations" were unfounded.
The confusing tale began earlier this month, when Long Beach City Council candidate William F. Stovall raised the issue while complaining that police were harassing him and his son, a police sergeant. Stovall, who is endorsed by the police union, is running against incumbent Councilman Evan Anderson Braude in the District 1 runoff.
Stovall, a retired police deputy chief, told the City Council that Chief Lawrence Binkley had sent a sergeant and a lieutenant to his home March 29 to ask him whether he had any information linking the city manager to a 1978 Queen Mary theft case.
Hankla said he ordered the investigation after Binkley told him that he had been implicated in the case by Stovall. But Stovall denied linking Hankla to the closed theft case. "Somebody started a rumor and attributed that rumor to me and my son," Stovall said this week.