By Jack Leonard and Paul Pringle
11:29 PM PST, January 15, 2014
Government employees performed work on the garage of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ private home, installing drywall, an air conditioner, appliances and a security system, according to sources familiar with the job.
The detached garage at Ridley-Thomas’ Leimert Park residence appeared to have been converted into an office with a restroom sometime before the county work was done, said a source familiar with the property, who requested anonymity.
The source said the work cost the county about $10,000.
The county provides home security systems for members of the Board of Supervisors, but taxpayer money is not supposed to be spent on unrelated improvements.
The work at Ridley-Thomas' garage was done by employees of the county’s Internal Services Department. Tom Tindall, who retired last year as head of the department, said he was informed before he left his post of the need to upgrade or replace an alarm system.
Tindall said he did not know the details of the Ridley-Thomas project, but work on the walls might have been required to repair damage caused by wiring the security devices.
“The only thing I was a little concerned about is that it was finished space,” he said.
Jim Jones, Tindall’s successor as department director, declined to comment.
A search of city databases turned up no permits for a restroom installation in the garage or the more recent county work. Generally, permits must be obtained for the installation of restrooms, air conditioners, electrical wiring and drywall, said a spokesman for the city Building and Safety Department.
Ridley-Thomas did not respond to interview requests. One source said he was informed that the supervisor paid for the air conditioner, a flat-screen television and refrigerator the workers placed in the garage. It was unclear whether Ridley-Thomas repaid the county for the other costs.
The county has yet to release documents related to the cost and scope of the work that The Times requested nearly four weeks ago under the California Public Records Act.
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