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REDONDO BEACH : City Treasurer, Saying Council Wronged Her, Files a Claim

July 21, 1994|JAMES BENNING | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Redondo Beach City Treasurer Alice E. DeLong filed an $8-million claim against the city this week, accusing City Council members and other officials of committing a host of wrongful acts against her over the last six months.

DeLong, who has threatened to sue the city since May, said she has been the victim of harassment, libel and defamation of character, and claimed officials violated the City Charter by interfering with her duties as treasurer.

Named in the claim are Mayor Brad Parton, the five council members, City Atty. Jerry Goddard, City Manager William E. Kirchhoff and two former employees.

DeLong, 60, has been under fire since February, when Kirchhoff said he could no longer supervise DeLong's office because she mistreated employees and failed to properly manage the city's investments. DeLong watches over about $45 million in investments.

"I think it's very damaging to me," DeLong said. "If you're proud of the way you painted a house and someone says you're doing a lousy job, you have to defend your work."

Also named in the claim were Gary Baum and Barry Kielsmeier, former city workers who Kirchhoff said have complained about DeLong's on-the-job behavior.

DeLong, an elected official who has presided over the city's investments for 19 years, said she believes recent criticisms of her are politically motivated.

Her four-year term expires in March, and at this point, DeLong said, she is "not sure" she will run for reelection. "I look like I'm about 80 now. I feel like it. I feel like I've been through the mill," she said.

The city has 45 days to respond to the claim, which is the first step in filing a lawsuit. A city committee and the council will evaluate the charges, Goddard said.

Parton said he was not surprised by the charges, but by the amount of DeLong's claim. "It's a little ridiculous," he said.

Memos written by Kirchhoff and council members that circulated throughout City Hall in recent months and that were released to the media concerning conflicts in the treasurer's office have brought an unusual amount of publicity.

"There seems to be no confidentiality around this place when it comes to Alice DeLong," said Councilman Stevan)Colin, a longtime supporter of the treasurer.

In an additional legal fray, a Torrance Superior Court judge is expected to rule Friday on DeLong's request for a restraining order against Councilman Joseph Dawidziak. The two had an angry argument at City Hall last month.

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