Countywide : Ely Is Distraught Over Jail, Delays Surgery for Cancer

James T. (Tom) Ely, former Ventura County Community College trustee, did not undergo planned cancer surgery this week because he was emotionally distraught over his jail sentence, his lawyer said Friday.

Ely was sentenced Tuesday to one year in jail for embezzling at least $15,000 from the college district.

Superior Court Judge Lawrence Storch stayed the sentences of Ely and his wife, Ingrid, until Jan. 3 because of the planned surgery.

Ely suffers from skin cancer on his face and is undergoing radiation treatment, attorney James M. Farley said.


Doctors at UCLA Medical Center delayed the surgery, planned for Wednesday, because of Tom Ely’s emotional condition, Farley said.

“He was very distraught Wednesday,” Farley said.

“He was just told he might spend a year in the County Jail.”

Deputy Dist. Atty. Carol J. Nelson downplayed Ely’s illness.


“This is the stuff that comes from sunburn,” she said, adding that she has not been allowed to speak to Ely’s doctors about the reason for the delay.

In addition to the jail sentence, Ely also was placed on six years of probation and ordered to pay $14,415 in restitution.

Ingrid Ely was ordered to serve nearly 500 hours of community service and to pay about $2,500 in restitution.