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PASADENA : Candidate Wins $25,000 Settlement From Former Associate

November 03, 1994|RICK HOLGUIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

An unsuccessful candidate for City Council has won a $25,000 settlement from a former business associate and city planning commissioner who had filed a highly publicized lawsuit against him shortly before the election.

Nicholas T. Conway, a financial consultant and onetime candidate, and Edie Lopez-Lusk, a former chair of the city's Planning Commission, agreed to the settlement last June in Superior Court, averting a pending trial.

But the records of the settlement, which requires Lopez-Lusk to pay Conway $25,000 over several years, were unsealed by Superior Court Judge Coleman A. Swart just last week, Conway said. Lopez-Lusk, who could not be reached for comment, agreed to the settlement without admitting responsibility.

Conway said in an interview this week that the settlement proved that the allegations made shortly before the election were untrue. He also said it was a blow against scurrilous mudslinging that is prevalent in many campaigns.

"I worked 3 1/2 years to clear my name," said Conway, who added that he will not run for public office again. "If candidates are going to be subject to these kinds of wanton allegations and character assassination, no wonder people won't run."

The dispute started several days before the City Council primary in March, 1991. Lopez-Lusk, who backed another unsuccessful candidate, Nina Chomsky, filed a lawsuit alleging that Conway, her former business partner, had used her standing as a Latina to get Los Angeles city and county government consulting contracts available for minority and women-owned businesses.

At the time, Conway said the lawsuit was a smear tactic. And city and county officials familiar with the contracts said minority representation was not a factor in the selection of Conway's firm, Arroyo Seco Associates Inc.

The allegations contained in the lawsuit became a key issue in the runoff, in which Conway finished second to Councilman Isaac Richard.

Conway filed a countersuit between the primary and the runoff alleging that he had been libeled by Lopez-Lusk.

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