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O.C. official under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct

August 28, 2012 |  4:28 pm

Tom DalyOrange County Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly will be investigated for alleged sexual misconduct as part of an aggressive new county procedure that was put in place after the arrest of Carlos Bustamante, the former county official now accused of sexually assaulting female workers in his office.

It took nearly a year for law enforcement investigators to be alerted to the allegations against Bustamante. The case was initially handed off to one of his subordinates and then farmed out to a law firm, which prepared a report that county officials filed away.

Daly, the former mayor of Anaheim who is now running for state Assembly, is the first big name in county government to be subject to the new protocol. His lawyer said the allegations appeared to be politically motivated and have little credibility.

County officials received an anonymous letter from “Concerned County Employees” alleging that there was “sexual misconduct, favoritism and cronyism” going on in Daly’s office, according to the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Times. The Voice of OC, a local nonprofit news agency, first reported the letter.

The five-page document names several women and alleges that they received unjustified pay raises, promotions or preferential treatment.

It also alleges that some of the women, reportedly known to the staff at “Tommy’s Girls” or “Tommy’s Angels,” had inappropriate sexual relationships with Daly.

On the heels of the Bustamante case, the county has changed the way it deals with misconduct complaints, said human resources director Steve Danley.

Complaints are directed to a compliance oversight committee consisting of the internal auditor, county counsel and Danley, who acknowledged that the process of receiving complaints was not coordinated before the Bustamante case.

“It’s a much better, cohesive process when you have everybody together,” Danley said.

If a complaint is filed involving a high-ranking executive or elected official, the county will hire an outside law firm or attorney who specializes in workplace issues and complaints of fraud, misconduct or sexual harassment. 

After charges against Bustamante were announced in July, the county was criticized for its apparent inaction in investigating the allegations, which spanned eight years and were first brought to some county officials' attention a year before the district attorney's office began its probe.

Bustamante's supervisor in the public works department was fired and county CEO Tom Mauk resigned. The former human resources director, Carl Crown, had already retired.

Daly's lawyer, Dan Callahan, said he believes the investigation would be speedy and that the letter appears politically motivated, as Daly is running in the Assembly's 69th District.

“It’s not credible at all,” he said. “It appears just to be a blatant attack against Tom Daly.”

Callahan said  four women who were accused of having inappropriate relationships with Daly have all signed declarations stating that the allegations were untrue.

Supervisor John Moorlach said the declarations would be forwarded to the law firm investigating the case.

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--Nicole Santa Cruz

Photo: Tom Daly. Credit: Robert Lachman/Los Angeles Times

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