Potential replacements wait in wings
Seventy-two year old Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt Dorn remains free this week and has vowed that he would fight criminal charges that threaten his political future and potential freedom.
Dorn was scheduled to be arraigned on July 3 in Los Angeles Superior Court on one felony count each of conflict of interest, unauthorized loan, use for private profit and misappropriation of public funds without authority of law, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. ?That arraignment was postponed.
The two-term Inglewood Mayor is now scheduled to be arraigned on July 24 and has retained noted defense attorney Albert de Blanc.
Inglewood City Hall was abuzz following the Fourth of July weekend and much of the conversation centered around a possible replacement if Dorn is convicted of the felony counts against him.
A bevy of potential candidates are apparently preparing for that outcome, but are hesitant to publicly admit they are pursuing a post that is not vacant.
Sources confirmed this week that some of the city council members might be interested in running for mayor if the “chair” becomes vacant.
Potential candidates are council members Danny Tabor, Ralph Franklin, Eloy Morales and Judy Dunlap. Both Tabor and Dunlap ran for mayor in the past and lost to Dorn.
Notwithstanding his reported health issues, State Senator Ed Vincent, a former Inglewood Mayor, might campaign for the post again. Former assemblyman Jerome Horton, who was an Inglewood city councilman may also be among those waiting in line to become mayor.
At press time, many of Dorn’s peers seem to be very sympathetic of his legal problems. They expressed their sincere support of the mayor during this critical predicament.
Among those are Assemblyman Curren Price who issued the following statement: “I am saddened to learn of the allegations made against Mayor Roosevelt Dorn. My thoughts and prayers are with the mayor and his family during this difficult time.”
Price, a former city councilman of Inglewood who worked with Dorn concluded, “During his several decades of public service, Mayor Dorn has made significant contributions to the improvement of our community. In fairness to the mayor, I believe it is important to allow the legal process to run its course and not rush to judgment.”
Former assemblyman and state senator-elect Rod Wright said, “It’s always sad to hear when any public official gets into legal trouble. I hope it works out well for him.”
Dorn is a former judge and an active member of the California State Bar. Two prominent legal experts shared their legal opinion on the charges against the mayor.
Robert H. McNeill Jr., a managing partner of Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt, said, “The essence of the case is that he participated in passing an ordinance extending a program in which the city was loaning employees money to come and live in the city while they were working there. My understanding is, they (the D.A.’s office) accused Dorn of participating in passing that measure to included elected officials and then properly got a loan for half a million dollars from the city of Inglewood. That’s the conduct, I believe, the district attorney is complaining of—as a conflict of interest.”
McNeill went on to add that it was his understanding the money had been repaid, meaning he no longer owes the city, “but the district attorney has chosen to go forward with the prosecution on the theory that the crime was committed and the fact that he repaid it is an issue of restitution.”
“Mayor Dorn is entitled to his day in court. In a situation like this, Mayor Dorn probably sought a legal opinion from somebody - the city attorney or private counsel—and somebody probably told him what he was doing was okay. So I think he got some bad (legal) advice and made a mistake,” McNeill said
Also elaborating on Dorn’s case was noted attorney Shawn Chapman-Holley of Kinsella, Weitzman, Iser, Kump & Aldisert, who also served as a member of O.J. Simpson’s ‘Dream Team’.
“There has to be both a criminal act and criminal intent. Even if the district attorney could arguably say that technically there was a criminal act committed, it’s hard for me to imagine that Mayor Dorn could have had any criminal intent in doing the acts he allegedly did. And for that reason it seems outrageous that the D.A.’s office would be charging him criminally. Without the intent, there is no criminal liability from my standpoint,” said Chapman-Holley.