North County : Trustee Is Censured in Kellerman Case

North Orange County Community College District trustee Chris Loumakis was formally censured by the district board Tuesday for allegedly releasing confidential correspondence to the media.

The action--which came in a 5-2 vote--caps weeks of acrimony between board members after an unanimous vote to place Chancellor James S. Kellerman on paid administrative leave for alleged financial misconduct. Loumakis subsequently accused fellow trustees of trying to cover up alleged wrongdoing by Kellerman and called for the Orange County district attorney's office to investigate. Prosecutors are conducting a preliminary investigation into the case.

Loumakis, who along with trustee Steve White voted against the censure, has denied that he leaked a letter that he wrote outlining allegations against Kellerman to reporters last month. The censure resolution, which also accused Loumakis of a "pattern of conduct which has breached the confidences of his colleagues on the board," is a public reprimand but does not restrict Loumakis' authority as an elected board member.

Loumakis, who resigned as president of the board after a similar clash in 1985, called Tuesday's censure action "vindictive."

"The censure resolution is based on their anger that I have been truthful and open with the public," he said.

White said his opposition to the censure "had more to do with the wording of the resolution than the action itself." He declined to elaborate.

Kellerman was removed from his $97,000-a-year position April 12 after an internal investigation indicated allegations of financial misconduct, board members have said. Loumakis has said that Kellerman "borrowed" money from a district account without authorization, pressured district employees for loans and that the district was billed for a $2,000 computer installed in Kellerman's home.

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