Dorn wins runoff to earn a third term as Inglewood mayor

Times Staff Writer

Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt Dorn has won election to a third term, overcoming a controversy over a low-interest $500,000 loan he received from the city.

Officials announced Wednesday that Dorn, in one of the lowest election turnouts in recent memory in Inglewood, captured slightly more than 58% of the vote to nearly 42% for veteran City Councilwoman Judy Dunlap.

In all, 6,542 ballots were cast in Tuesday’s runoff election, representing less than 15% of the city’s registered voters. The runoff was called after Dorn, the first-place finisher among the three original candidates, failed to capture the required majority in November’s election. In the earlier balloting, Dorn captured 49% of the vote.

Dunlap, one of the few white politicians in a city that is more than 90% black and Latino, also encountered controversy during the campaign.


A report in the Los Angeles Wave newspaper surfaced late in the race alleging that she had helped her former husband win a $688,000 city contract for his public-access television station, in which she was said to have a financial interest.

Dorn, who is black, is a former prosecutor and Superior Court judge and an ordained minister. A dynamic figure in Inglewood politics, Dorn often recounts how he arrived in Los Angeles from the cotton fields of Oklahoma with $1.50 in his pocket.

In the campaign, however, he was hurt by reports that he had abused the city’s lowinterest mortgage program. It was created in 1992 as an incentive to lure potential city administrators and to encourage city employees to live in Inglewood.

In 2004, Dorn voted to expand the program to include elected officials; the mayor casts one of five votes on the City Council.


Dorn then received a 30-year, below-market-rate loan of $500,000 from the city. He used nearly half to pay off the home he and his wife bought in 1996, and deposited the rest in a bank account.

Dorn, who earns about $95,000 as mayor, repaid the loan in the fall, but the Los Angeles County district attorney’s Public Integrity Division is still investigating the matter.

After complaints from residents about conflicts of interest, the Inglewood council repealed the provision extending the program to elected officials.

Dunlap, a former schoolteacher elected to the council in 1993, came under fire when the Wave reported that, as chairwoman of the council’s public information committee, she had granted a two-year contract to Inglewood Community Television Station, which is run by her former husband, Milton Brown.


Dunlap did not return phone calls Wednesday.