Ex-Staffer’s Claim Against Spitzer Didn’t Pan Out, According to DA Investigator

Nick Gerda/Voice of OC

OC Supervisor Todd Spitzer.

A former legal client turned staffer for Supervisor Todd Spitzer failed to provide evidence for her claim  she paid Spitzer in cash from her campaign job to clear legal bills she owed the supervisor, according to the Orange County Register. 

The Register said District Attorney investigator Tom Conklin, in an 11-page summary of the investigation of Spitzer obtained by the newspaper, said bank records of former Spitzer aide Christine Richters didn’t show the cash withdrawals.

“The records show three checks written to Richters from Spitzer’s Board of Supervisors campaign … were deposited into her account and normal purchases were made from those monies,” the Register said, quoting the June 9 report. “The bank records do not corroborate Richters’ statements that she cashed all of the checks right away and immediately gave 100 percent of the cash back to Spitzer.”

Spitzer is running against District Attorney Tony Rackauckas in next year’s election and accused the DA of  initiating the investigation to help his re-election.

“Today I’m sending a letter to the District Attorney insisting that he stop this nonsense by a violating his ethical duty to be impartial and objective and who has absolutely no business utilizing taxpayer paid for DA investigators to try to dig up dirt on me to privately or publicly convince me not to run against him,” Spitzer wrote Thursday in a comment posted on a Voice of OC story about the investigation.

According to the Register, Spitzer also asked the state Attorney General’s office to take over the investigation.

“It is absolutely clear that Mr. Rackauckas has an intolerable and improper conflict of interest in conducting any investigation or criminal proceeding against me or any candidate for the very same office he is seeking re-election,” the Register said Spitzer wrote.

The newspaper quoted Michelle Van Der Linden, spokeswoman for Rackauckas, “The Orange County District Attorney’s Office had a duty to investigate the numerous complaints made by several individuals that Todd Spitzer had engaged in political corruption. Every part of this investigation was conducted in partnership with the Fair Political Practices Commission and in consultation with the State Attorney General’s Office.  All of the information gathered has been made available to the appropriate enforcement agencies for their review.”

Spitzer told the Register he was informed by a high-ranking DA’s executive that both the DA and Fair Political Practices Commission ended their investigations 30 days ago.

But the Los Angeles Times said a “source close to the investigation” said as of Wednesday, it still was ongoing.

Conklin, the investigator who wrote the investigation summary, earlier filed a legal claim against the DA’s office, alleging a hostile work environment and retaliation. He is one of three current or former DA’s employees to file such claims.

The Times broke the story of the investigation Wednesday.

Spitzer once was considered Rackauckas’ heir apparent until the two had a falling out in 2010 and Rackauckas fired Spitzer from his position in the DA’s office.

You can contact Tracy Wood at twood@voiceofoc.org and follow her on Twitter: @TracyVOC

  • Lyanna Lyns

    These are the most inept bunch of politicians…it is like the Three Stooges do government. Ridiculous.

  • Paul Lucas

    This is like Godzilla and Mothra going at it in the civic center. All we need is a Johnny Sako to come into the race and steal it away from both of em. lol

  • David Zenger

    I’m missing something here. Here’s the quotation from the last story:

    “…as well as allegations from a former legal client that she couldn’t pay her legal bills so Spitzer put her on his campaign and county payrolls and she used $7,000 of that money to repay him in cash.”

    Except for the FPPC, I doubt if anybody cares about Richters kicking back to Spitzer from his campaign funds. That’s precisely the way SpitzerCorp® operates. The real issue is using public funds to employ someone who owes you money.

    I’m still a bit fuzzy on Ms. Richters’ skill set.

    • LFOldTimer

      Nice catch.

      It all comes down to the judgment of our elected officials. Judgment is practically everything when it comes to governance. Successful electeds must be able to read people and situations with accuracy and form proper decisions based upon their initial observations. That is a critical skill set for any politician.

      Obviously Spitzer made a poor choice in his entanglement with Ms. Richters – as she is now going for his jugular.

      Couple this with Spitzer’s behavior at Wahoo and my trust in his judgment abilities has waned tremendously.

      A DA must have impeccable judgment as the future of thousands of individuals rest on his ability to make proper decisions.

    • Lyanna Lyns

      Maybe she is good with handcuffs.