Kinde Durkee sees eight-year sentence as "just and appropriate,'' filing says
Former campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee sees the proposed eight-year prison sentence recommended for her theft of $7 million in political funds as "just and appropriate," her attorney said in a court filing Tuesday.
Attorney Daniel V. Nixon says a shorter sentence could be justified but the 97 months recommended by federal prosecutors, with three years' supervised probation, is more appropriate than the 11 to 14 years previously considered.
Nixon asked for the judge taking up the matter Wednesday to consider Durkee’s age, 59, the fact that she admitted to wrongdoing and cooperated with authorities, has no previous criminal record and her contention that she did not use the money taken from 50 politicians to live the high life.
"Unlike many defendants, Ms. Durkee did not use the stolen funds to finance a lavish lifestyle," the court filing says. "Although a significant amount of money was used to pay for personal expenses, including mortgage payments and credit card charges, a great deal of the stolen funds were used to keep the business afloat and her employees employed."
Her husband’s long unemployment and the lack of payment by some clients led her to begin borrowing from one campaign account to fill another and to cover business expenses, Nixon said.
"Unfortunately, it spiraled out of control, she lost track of the amount of the shortfall and it ultimately reached a level that she will be unable to repay in her lifetime," the court filing says. She has offered restitution including a six-figure 401(k)-plan balance and equity in her Burbank business property.
The filing also discloses that Durkee began to have financial problems in the 1990s when she worked for a prestigious campaign finance firm. At that time, she covered for other employees mistakes and sometimes did not take paychecks.
--Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: Former campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee. Credit: California Democratic Council