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Tom Ely's Legal Woes

January 05, 1994

That Tom Ely's life was ended prematurely by a terrible, disfiguring cancer was very sad.

In spite of a tragic turn of events, the facts of Ely's troubles should not be altered. There is an apparent attempt by some to transfer blame for Ely's troubles to someone else. This is reflected in the quotation attributed to Ely's wife, Ingrid: ". . . There was never any problem until Michael Bradbury decided he didn't want Tom to be a supervisor and tried to cut his throat," and in the statement of Patrick Hughes: ". . . the scandal that consumed Ely's final years was orchestrated for political reasons to thwart his bid for the supervisor's seat."

As your article correctly stated, Ely had his day in court. The verdict was that Dist. Atty. Bradbury was correct in bringing the charges against Ely, who was tried and convicted on charges of embezzlement and conspiracy.

History should reflect that Ely was not a strong contender for a seat on the Board of Supervisors. It should also reflect that Bradbury was carrying out the mandate of his office in bringing the charges against Ely. If there had been no substance to the charges or if the court had felt that they were unfounded, they would have been thrown out.

Ely's misuse of Ventura County Community College District funds, when funding for the educational programs of the colleges was very tight, was egregious and deserved the attention that it received in the newspapers and in the courts.

His wife states that "Tom never felt that he did anything wrong. . . ." A careful reading of the reports of his trial would convince any impartial person that he did do wrong. The district attorney should not be blamed for Tom Ely's troubles because Tom Ely brought them upon himself.



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