Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Bank asks judge to sort out accounts in campaign fraud case

September 28, 2011 |  1:09 pm

Photo: Kinde Durkee. Henry Vandermeir/AP The bank used by a campaign treasurer accused of co-mingling money from the accounts of numerous California politicians, Democratic clubs and nonprofits filed a lawsuit last week in Los Angeles County Superior Court to ask a judge to sort out how much money belongs to each customer.

The suit details 398 accounts that the treasurer, Kinde Durkee, controlled at First California Bank and how much money is in each one. The list starts on Page 9.

Durkee, was arrested this month and charged with mail fraud for allegedly filing false campaign finance reports after she transferred $677,181 from an account belonging to Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana) to an account belonging to her Burbank firm. Federal investigators are probing whether she may have embezzled from her clients.

In the legal action, state-chartered First California Bank, which is based in Westlake Village, lists 398 accounts controlled by Durkee or employees at Durkee & Associates. When it froze the accounts on Sept. 21, they had balances totaling $2.5 million. But the bank notes that because money was shuttled between accounts it “cannot, with certainty, determine the proper amount due.”

The lawsuit asks that the account holders resolve their conflicting claims through the court.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) had the two biggest accounts, with $662,101. Feinstein’s campaign sued the bank Friday, saying it should have detected Durkee’s unusual transfers between accounts and charging that it “was at the heart of the illegal transfer of money.” The senator’s campaign also sued Durkee, her firm and a top employee, noting that her firm told officials with the Feinstein for Senate account that it had $2.3 million on June 30, when it really had just $266,425.

The bank’s attorney, Robert P. Beckham, did not respond to requests for comment.


Burbank accountant held in fraud case

Many Democrats used treasurer despite her history

State launches inquiry into bank's actions in Durkee fraud case

-- John Hoeffel

Photo: Kinde Durkee

Credit: Henry Vandermeir/Associated Press