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Probation Department executive under investigation announces retirement

A top executive at the Los Angeles County Probation Department announced his retirement Monday amid an investigation into his outside business interests.

Jitahadi Imara, 60, said he would retire in November as the deputy director responsible for managing the nation’s largest network of juvenile incarceration facilities, including three juvenile halls, 18 camps and 4,000 youth offenders.

“I am leaving on my own terms and have no regrets, only a pocket full of memories,” Imara wrote in an e-mail message to Probation Department staff. His message made no mention of the open inquiry.

In response to questions from The Times, the department acknowledged last week that Imara was under investigation after filing a financial disclosure form that listed no outside gifts, employment or investments.

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On a website registered under Imara’s name, he is listed as the chief executive of Kwanzaa Guide, an online publisher selling teacher guides related to Kwanzaa.

The website has been revised, but until recently it included a biography that described Imara as “one of the foremost experts in juvenile justice.” The site also referenced Imara’s extensive connections to the county’s court-mandated parenting programs and other therapies.

A Probation Department spokeswoman was unable to say whether Imara used his position as an executive in the department to influence the purchase of his teacher guides by organizations with county contracts. Imara last week declined to answer questions from The Times, referring a reporter to the department’s press office.

For a decade, the department’s juvenile detention facilities have been under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice because of allegations of civil rights violations that include the misuse of force against minors and the misuse of prescription drugs for their mental health needs.

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garrett.therolf@latimes.com


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