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Associate of Bradley Faces Charge

From Times Wire Services

City Attorney James Hahn today filed a misdemeanor charge against a business friend of Mayor Tom Bradley for failing to turn over her records in an investigation into her finances and the mayor’s.

City Controller Rick Tuttle early this month issued a subpoena to Juanita St. John for her records as director of the Task Force for Africa-Los Angeles relations.

Tuttle is investigating a possible conflict of interest between Bradley’s role in directing city funds to the task force and his private real estate partnership with St. John.

St. John, 57, is scheduled for arraignment Aug. 17 in Los Angeles Municipal Court on one misdemeanor charge of failing to comply with a subpoena.

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Earlier today, a top-level city investment officer contradicted testimony given by his superiors, suggesting that Treasurer Leonard Rittenberg and the other key staff member participated in a cover-up of Bradley’s role in the investment of $2 million in a bank that paid him $18,000.

George Sehlmeyer, an official in the treasurer’s office, said cash management officer William T. Hoss used correction fluid to paint over a notation on a competitive bid sheet that said a March 22 deposit of city funds at Far East National Bank was “per the mayor.”

He said the words were “whited out” after Rittenberg became concerned when a news reporter called him about Bradley’s relationship with the bank. Bradley served as a paid consultant to that bank in 1988.

In a new disclosure, Sehlmeyer also told the City Council’s Finance and Revenue Committee that Rittenberg was upset with him for volunteering information about the reference to city auditors conducting a review of the deposit.

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“He didn’t say, ‘Why didn’t you keep your mouth shut?’ ” Sehlmeyer said. “He said, ‘They didn’t have anything, why did you tell them that?’ ” He said Rittenberg accused him of being a “terrible poker player” who couldn’t play out a bluff.

Sehlmeyer also told the committee that the Far East competitive bid sheet may also have been doctored about a week after the deposit by someone trying to make it look as if he had used the correction fluid.

City Atty. James K. Hahn and several other city agencies and council committees are investigating allegations of conflict of interest and other aspects of Bradley’s involvement with the bank.


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