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Former Aide Sues Holden

Council: Suit says he was forced to work on political campaigns.

June 21, 2002|DAVID ROSENZWEIG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A former field deputy to Los Angeles City Councilman Nate Holden charged in a federal lawsuit Thursday that he was forced to work on the councilman's political campaigns on city time.

Ronald Mayberry, 55, filed a suit against Holden and the city over his dismissal last June while on medical leave for treatment of diabetes. He accused Holden of violating his federal rights to due process as well as his rights under state disability laws.

Holden, responding though an aide, described Mayberry as a disgruntled former employee.

Mayberry says he went to work for the councilman in 1997. In 1999, he said, he was diverted to work on Holden's 10th District reelection campaign and on the campaign of Holden's son, Chris, who was running for mayor of Pasadena.

"For Mr. Mayberry and for many other city employees, there was no choice but to work on the campaign," his suit charges. "Holden made it quite clear that if Mr. Mayberry intended to be part of his staff, then he was obligated to work on the campaign even during city time."

Holden wound up in a runoff, and Mayberry said he continued to spend most of his on-the-job time working telephones at Holden's campaign headquarters. He said he was told not to let anybody, including his wife, know his whereabouts.

In 2001, Holden ran unsuccessfully in a special election to fill a vacancy created by the death of Rep. Julian Dixon (D-Los Angeles). Mayberry says he spent all of his time working out of the campaign's Culver City office.

After being defeated, Holden berated him for the loss, Mayberry said, and suspended him for two days as punishment.

Mayberry, a diabetic, says the stress caused his blood pressure and glucose levels to rise dangerously. Following his doctor's orders, he says, he took a medical leave of absence using accumulated sick time. Holden then fired him without justification, he says.

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