Countywide : Attorney to Review Elys’ Travel Expenses

The Board of Trustees of the Ventura County Community College District will hire an attorney to help determine whether Trustee Tom Ely and his wife, Ingrid, have violated district travel policies.

The board voted Tuesday night to hire an attorney to review an independent audit of Tom Ely’s travel expenses. The audit, commissioned by the board in March, found that Ely had charged $8,422 in questionable expenses for business trips he took during the past three years.

Ely is a candidate for the 4th District seat on the County Board of Supervisors.

Board members said the attorney will be asked to review a separate report that Ingrid Ely, president of the Moorpark College Alumni Assn., charged the association $866 in travel expenses that her husband had already charged to the district.


The board said it would decide what action to take, if any, against the Elys once the attorney’s review is completed.

Although Ely said he will cooperate in the study of his financial records, he maintained that the audit is flawed because it ignored district travel policies.

After the meeting, Ely told reporters that he will sue Trustee Timothy Hirschberg for making public comments about his wife’s travel expenses.

Hirschberg has said that the alumni association, which Ingrid Ely helped found, is “a sham and that it had only one purpose--to fund travel for a trustee’s wife.”

Hirschberg said Tuesday that he would stand by his statement.

The board commissioned an audit of Tom Ely’s travel expenses after learning that he had run up large gambling debts and that he had used district phones to call casinos in Nevada.

Also Tuesday, District Chancellor Barbara Derryberry announced that she will retire July 1, 1991. Derryberry has served as chancellor of the three-college district since 1988.