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Lawyers Say Gov.'s Aide Can Join Bank Board

September 25, 2004|Robert Salladay | Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — Lawyers for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have ruled that a high-ranking aide to the governor can serve on the board of directors of a Nevada bank that does business in California, the administration said Friday.

Government reform groups had questioned whether Marybel Batjer, the governor's Cabinet secretary, violated conflict-of-interest rules by joining the board of Bank Holdings Inc. Batjer's government job involves overseeing the state's bureaucracies, including agencies that regulate banks and lenders.

A month before Batjer agreed to join the board of Bank Holdings, the Reno company announced it would purchase CNA Trust of Costa Mesa and open a branch near Sacramento.

Schwarzenegger's deputy legal affairs secretary, David M. Verhey, said in a letter than Batjer was allowed to sit on the board because regulation of the new branch would be handled by Nevada banking authorities.

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