Orange County officials are moving to hire a law firm to check into a host of sexual harassment and corruption allegations against county clerk-recorder Tom Daly, who is the frontrunner to become Orange County’s next Assemblyman for the 69th District.
An anonymous group, calling itself "concerned county employees," sent the letter to Voice of OC and a variety of county offices, including that of Interim County Executive Officer Bob Franz.
The letter alleges that Daly has handed out promotions and engaged in inappropriate behavior with at least four female workers at the clerk-recorders’ office. The letter refers to the women as “Tommy's Girls or Tommy’s Angels.”
“The inaction of the managers at the agency has led to a culture of mistrust, favoritism, cronyism and organizational manipulation. This inaction has also led to low morale district and fear throughout the department,” the letter reads.
The letter goes on to state that "it is our sincere hope that you will move to protect all employees and the integrity of County employment. Tom Daly has been at this agency for more than a decade. That is nine years too many.”
Daly, who is the former mayor of Anaheim and in June cruised to victory in the primary election for the 69th Assembly seat, did not respond to a request for comment.
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Moorlach confirmed receipt of the letter and the fact that an investigation is forthcoming. Moorlach added that several law firms had been interviewed by county officials on Thursday and that a firm would be hired on Monday.
“It’s always tough with anonymous letters. But we’re moving as expeditiously as we can,” Moorlach said. "We’re going to take this in a professional and prompt manner.”
The allegations against Daly come as the county faces continued fallout from the scandal that erupted after District Attorney Tony Rackauckas charged former Public Works executive Carlos Bustamante, who is also a Santa Ana city councilman, with 12 sex crimes against women who worked for him at the agency.
The Bustamante case has laid waste to the top echelons of the county government, with executives — including CEO Tom Mauk — losing their jobs after it became clear that the Human Resources department did not properly investigate allegations against Bustamante when they first surfaced.
According to the five-page anonymous letter against Daly, the so-called "Tommy's Girls or Tommy's Angels" include: Martha Arteaga, Chantha Muth, Adrienne Garcia and Ana Hutchins.
In each case, the letter states in excruciating detail how Daly has allegedly behaved inappropriately toward these women and also alleges that he showed favoritism toward them.
The letter does not accuse Daly of the same level of sex crimes that Bustamante has been charged with, which include sexual assault and false imprisonment. But it does state that Daly, who is referred to in the letter as "Uncle Tom," has made excessive visits to the women's cubicles, spent hours alone in his office with them and sent inappropriate text messages to them.
It states more than once that a woman has said Daly's behavior "creeps her out."
The letter goes on to state that Daly has intervened in disciplinary actions involving the women, paid for shopping trips with his county credit card and gotten them perks like tuition reimbursement.
Since the Bustamente case, groups of county workers have called on Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate the county, saying there are concerns that female workers who are being harassed have nowhere to go inside the county, given the political ties of the top-tier officials being accused of improprieties.
Given those concerns, officials close to the situation acknowledge that officials have now set up a three-tiered system involving county Human Resources, the Internal Audit Department and the county counsel to ferret out allegations like the ones being leveled at Daly.
“As a result of the issues that county has been experiencing with Carlos Bustamante, we’ve established a compliance oversight committee. And when anything like this is presented, they will review it,” Moorlach said.
Moorlach said under the new protocol, any allegations involving a department head or elected official would be handled by outside lawyers.
He said Human Resources Director Steve Danley would notify Daly of the process.
“We hope Daly will cooperate in the investigation,” Moorlach said, adding that in the meantime, all the alleged promotions inside the clerk-recorder's office would be researched.”