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Bradley Chooses Tax Attorney for City Treasurer

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Financial consultant and tax lawyer J. Paul Brownridge was nominated by Mayor Tom Bradley on Friday to serve as city treasurer of Los Angeles, apparently ending a nine-month nationwide search to replace Leonard Rittenberg, who resigned last spring amid a City Hall financial scandal.

Mayor Tom Bradley named Brownridge--a 45-year-old Phoenix resident and one of the highest-scoring candidates on a recent civil service application--to manage a $2.3-billion city investment portfolio that earned $163 million from investments last year.

Brownridge would also manage a $3.3-million budget and a staff of 50 people who direct the receipt, disbursement, management and investment of city funds.

“Our city is currently in the midst of a budget crisis,” Bradley said in a statement released Friday. “I believe Paul’s experience as a former treasurer, a public finance professional and a tax attorney makes him an excellent choice to manage the city’s treasury operations.”

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His appointment must be approved by the City Council.

Bradley has recommended that the job pay $99,000 a year, which is also subject to council approval.

Brownridge is a practicing tax attorney and financial consultant with more than 15 years experience. He served as director of revenue for the city of Chicago and was city treasurer in Grand Rapids, Mich. He is also a member of the Illinois, Michigan and Colorado state bar associations.

The city treasurer’s office was rocked last spring and Rittenberg was forced to resign over a $2-million investment he made in the Far East National Bank, an institution for which Bradley served as a paid consultant. Rittenberg made the investment after receiving a phone call from Bradley, although he has steadfastedly denied that the mayor tried to influence him.

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The City Council accepted a settlement last April that allowed Rittenberg to retire rather than be fired, and paid him $50,000 as a consultant for six months.

Council members said at that time that much of the treasurer’s office policies, procedures and history were carried only in Rittenberg’s head and needed to be committed to paper before he left for good.

In the interim, the job has been held by Acting Treasurer Robert L. Williams. Brownridge is scheduled to assume the post in late March, if approved.


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