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Thomas C. 'Bud' Ferguson; Flamboyant Mayor

September 25, 1996

Thomas Cecil "Bud" Ferguson, a flamboyant onetime Moorpark mayor who was recalled by voters in 1987 after being caught up in scandal, died Saturday at his Palm Springs home. He was 77.

Ferguson died of natural causes, an official in the Riverside County medical examiner's office said. He was under a doctor's care for leukemia and a heart condition.

"He was a very outgoing, affable sort of guy--always wore western-type attire," Moorpark Mayor Paul Lawrason said. "Quite a figure in the city, he was very influential, kind of in the old style of a politician, you might say. He liked to wheel and deal. I don't know if that's what got him into trouble."

Ferguson was elected to the Moorpark City Council in 1984 and was mayor from May 1986 through March 1987.

In January 1987, then-Councilman Danny Allen Woolard told authorities that Ferguson had arranged up to $30,000 in loans to influence his council votes. Ferguson denied the charges by Woolard, a postal clerk who developed a cocaine habit, embezzled $5,500 and was sentenced to six months in prison.

Authorities cleared Ferguson of wrongdoing.

Ferguson resigned as mayor after making several racial slurs in a newspaper interview and was recalled from the council by voters in November 1987. He attempted a political comeback a year later, but finished last in the council campaign with just 6% of the vote.

Yet Ferguson, a big-game hunter, is also remembered as a colorful character with a penchant for cowboy boots and Stetsons, who was married three times and once jumped onto a bulldozer to rid the fast-growing town of debris by hauling it himself.

Born in Oklahoma in 1919, Ferguson moved to the Los Angeles area at the age of 17. He became owner of machine shops in several locations during his professional life. He was also a night club owner in Hawthorne, a quarter-horse racetrack owner in Texas and a onetime construction worker on the Alaska Pipeline.

He moved to Moorpark in 1976, where he dabbled in several enterprises even though he was semi-retired. He also bought and sold real estate.

He is survived by five children, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

His children said he was a hard-working man who was misunderstood during the Moorpark scandal.

"He never quit," said son Tom Ferguson, a Texas resident. "He was going full speed as fast as his body would let him until the day he died."

No mortuary has yet been named to handle funeral services.

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