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Compton College Ends Lawsuit Over Takeover

Times Staff Writers

Trustees of the Compton Community College District have dropped a lawsuit in which they sought to block the state’s takeover of the financially troubled district, representatives for both sides said Friday.

Barrett K. Green, attorney for the district, said he had asked a Los Angeles Superior Court judge this week to dismiss the lawsuit because recent legislation made it moot.

The Compton district, the focus of federal and local criminal investigations, was taken over by the state in May and remains under the control of a special state trustee. An audit commissioned by state Community Colleges Chancellor Mark Drummond and released last month found that the district has suffered from mismanaged finances and potentially illegal policies and practices.

The district’s trustees and attorneys have fought the state takeover. Green suggested Friday that the fight was not over.

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“The board chose to dismiss the existing lawsuit because that lawsuit was focused on the chancellor’s failure to follow its own regulations in assuming the powers of the board,” Green said. Since then, the Legislature passed a law that grants the chancellor authority for the assumption of powers, he noted.

Green said the trustees were now likely to consider a lawsuit that would challenge the validity of the new law, which was written specifically for the Compton district.

Cheryl Fong, a spokeswoman for the California Community Colleges, said Drummond was pleased at the district’s decision to drop the lawsuit.

“What we’re hoping for from this point is that there will be ongoing dialogue with the trustees and administrators who wanted to go to court,” she said. “If there is any misunderstanding about the intent of the intervention, we want to continue to make every effort to meet with them.”

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