Successor Says Thomas Has Not Returned Master Key to Courts

Ousted Los Angeles Municipal Court Presiding Judge Maxine F. Thomas has yet to return a County Courthouse master key, which means the court may have to spend about $7,000 to rekey the locks, her successor said Monday.

Presiding Judge George Trammell, who replaced Thomas when her colleagues voted overwhelmingly June 25 to recall her, said he did not know whether she had lost the master key or whether she was simply refusing to return it.

He said he had been told by Court Administrator Edward Kritzman that locks on 185 doors will have to be rekeyed if the master key is not found. "You just can't have an outstanding master key unaccounted for," Trammell declared.

He said Thomas has given the same answer "over and over again." That is:

"I turned in all my keys."

But, he noted, she has never said specifically that she turned in the master key.

Thomas was unavailable for comment. Her recall followed accusations of excessive absenteeism and of using the position to enhance her campaign for the Superior Court bench.

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