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Metropolitan Digest / LOS ANGELES COUNTY NEWS IN BRIEF

LOS ANGELES : City Council Rejects Bill for $5,000 Farewell Party

November 17, 1994

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday unanimously rejected a $5,095 bill for a city official's going-away luncheon and adopted a policy designed to block such charges in the future.

The action stops payment for the retirement party two years ago for Harbor Commissioner Jun Mori, meaning that 60 current and former city employees, including former Mayor Tom Bradley, may be billed $78 each for the event.

The council supported a previous order by city Controller Rick Tuttle in blocking the payment to the catering firm that provided the lunch. Tuttle has been directed to work with Harbor Department general manager Ezunial Burts to devise a method for paying the bill.

Burts had called the city-paid luncheon "legitimate and justifiable" because he said Mori had played a substantial role in building the port's business. But other city officials said that such events typically are paid for by those in attendance, not by the city treasury. Councilman Joel Wachs called the event "a pig-out at the public's expense."

Mori's 15-year tenure with the port was notable both for a huge expansion in container shipping business and for protests about his alleged conflicts of interest. Mori's law firm represented some of the ports largest tenants while he served on the commission that oversees its operations.

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