Farrell Aides Sue His Foes, Charging Slander

Two of Los Angeles City Councilman Robert Farrell's aides filed a $1-million slander suit Monday against three of Farrell's political opponents who had raised questions about the propriety of his hiring of the aides.

The Superior Court suit was filed by Marcela Howell, who managed Farrell's unsuccessful Assembly race in June, and Anthony Thigpenn, who worked for the campaign. The suit alleges that Kerman Maddox, Otha Johnson and Gee Martin slandered and libeled Howell and Thigpenn when they suggested that Farrell's hiring of the two "represented a political payoff and a misuse of public funds," said attorney Melanie Lomax, who represents Howell and Thigpenn.

The two were recently hired for a total of $25,000 to work in Farrell's office. The councilman still owes them money for their campaign work. Maddox, who has said he will challenge Farrell for his 8th District seat next year, made the "patronage" allegation at a recent news conference. He was unavailable for comment.

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