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New Mayor’s Debut Spoiled by Richard’s Tirade Over Tickets : Pasadena: The councilman threatens to sue after his colleagues decide to raffle 75 World Cup seats that would usually be allotted to him.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Several Pasadena City Council members had high hopes for improved relations with their volatile colleague, Isaac Richard. After all, the mayor’s post on the council was passing from Richard’s archenemy, Rick Cole, to Kathryn Nack, who pledged a no-nonsense reign.

But those hopes were dashed Monday during Nack’s first meeting as mayor, when Richard unleashed a tirade and the council voted to raffle the 75 World Cup tickets that would usually be allotted to the councilman to pass on to his constituents.

“If you think I’m going to roll over and see you thieving SOBs take my tickets . . . you’re wrong,” said Richard, who left in anger before the 5-1 vote on the ticket issue. He later pledged to sue the council over the dispute.

Richard’s conduct during the meeting caused Nack to ask a sergeant-at-arms to sit by him. The official at one point warned Richard that he faced ejection from the meeting.

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Councilman William M. Paparian, who cast the lone vote against the raffle, said he was disappointed at the meeting’s fireworks.

“My hope was with a new Administration we could begin to move forward in a positive way,” Paparian said. “But (the ticket) issue is going to get in the way.”

Monday’s vote was an extension of the council’s decision last June to censure Richard after he cursed a roomful of city officials. The censure stripped the councilman of such privileges as the opportunity to distribute tickets at face value for many Rose Bowl events.

The other council members, for example, will each be able to distribute 75 tickets for World Cup games, which begin in June.

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Councilman Chris Holden, who made the motion to raffle Richard’s tickets, said his colleague’s outburst at Monday’s meeting was reminiscent of the disruptive actions that led to the censure.

“The kind of antics he’s been involved in over the last several years have really done harm,” said Holden, who last year obtained a restraining order that prevents Richard from approaching him outside of council meetings. Holden secured the order after alleging that Richard threatened him following earlier disputes over tickets.

Paparian said he voted against the raffle for procedural reasons. The council censured Richard last June 8 for one year. The sanctions are due to expire before the first World Cup game is played at the Rose Bowl on June 18.

The raffle is expected to be held about June 1, and Richard would be allowed to distribute any tickets not sold, officials said.

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Apparently anticipating the action, Richard was clearly upset during the early stages of Monday’s meeting. He began arguing about the tickets with Councilman William Crowfoot as the rest of the members tried to conduct unrelated business.

“He was very angry with me about this issue,” Crowfoot said of the exchange with Richard, an African American. “He repeatedly kept calling me a racist.”

Nack told the two to keep quiet several times, but Richard continued to argue with Crowfoot. Finally, the mayor summoned the meeting’s sergeant-at-arms, Pasadena Police Sgt. Gary Capuano, who sat behind Richard as a silent warning.

But Richard erupted a short time later when the council began discussing a plan to distribute 1,742 World Cup tickets to out-of-town entrepreneurs and others to attract new businesses to Pasadena.

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Capuano then walked to the podium and read a statement warning Richard that it is a misdemeanor to disrupt the council meeting and that he faced ejection.

While Capuano read the warning, a defiant Richard taunted him, “Take your time. I know you’re not educated.”

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