Treasurer Kinde Durkee Accused Of Using Campaign Funds To Pay For Cosmetics, Mortgages, Mom's Nursing Home

Comments (0)


Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 6:33 PM

click to enlarge Kinde Durkee
  • Kinde Durkee
Update: 6:30 p.m.: Sen. Ted Lieu "astounded" by the scale of the alleged crime. Earlier: Durkee appears in court. The L.A. County Democratic Party may also have been victimized. More below.
The local political world was roiled over the weekend with the news that Kinde Durkee, a prominent campaign treasurer, has been accused of fraud.

We're learning more today, and it looks like this one's a doozy. According to the complaint (posted below), Durkee admitted to the FBI that "she has been misappropriating her clients' money for years."

Oh dear.

The complaint alleges that Durkee defrauded Jose Solorio, an Assemblyman from Orange County. According to the document, Durkee used campaign funds to pay her employees, her personal taxes, and even her credit card bills.

One such bill covered expenses including cosmetics, plane tickets, gas, Amazon gift cards, a visit to Baskin Robbins, and a trip to Ariel's Grotto at Disneyland. Durkee also (allegedly) used Solorio's campaign money to pay for her mother's nursing home.

Durkee admitted to the FBI that she had "personal and business tax problems," according to the complaint, and that she used her business account "to pay for her daily living expenses, including food, entertainment and mortgages."

Durkee also, allegedly, filed false campaign statements for Solorio, failing to note that she had withdrawn two cashier's checks worth a total of $677,000 from his account. Solorio told the FBI he had never authorized those withdrawals.

Solorio sent an e-mail to supporters saying "I've been robbed." He explained that he hired Durkee "because she was regarded as a highly respected professional, and for decades, the treasurer for the campaigns of many prominent elected officials in the state."

Durkee is based in Burbank and had many local clients, including the L.A. County Democratic Party, Councilman Paul Krekorian, Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, and Sen. Ted Lieu.

Some consultants, however, say they warned their candidates away from Durkee due to a history of errors and FPPC violations.

The Fair Political Practices Commission referred the case to the FBI in 2010, when their investigators suspected she had misappropriated money from clients' accounts and filed false disclosure statements to cover it up.

Durkee is expected to appear for an arraignment this afternoon.

Update, 4:05 p.m.: Durkee appeared in federal court this afternoon. She was shackled by the hands and feet, and appeared at one point to wipe a tear from her eye. A bail hearing was set for Friday.

For now, she is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center. Her attorney, Daniel Nixon, said the case would be transferred to Sacramento, and that she will plead not guilty at some point.

Meanwhile, Eric Bauman, the chair of the L.A. County Democratic Party, said that he was "trying to ascertain what our balances really are." Bauman said that a party official had tried calling the bank, but was referred to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Candidates are no doubt doing the same thing.

Update 2, 6:30 p.m.: Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, was also trying to determine his account balance today. "I am astounded by the scale of the alleged fraud, and just how brazen it was," he said. "This is one of the most heavily regulated areas of the law. I don't understand how she thought she could get away with this."

No comment yet from Controller Wendy Greuel, who was using Durkee for her mayoral campaign. Greuel was leading in fundraising as of June 30. Now we'll have to see if all that money is still there.

The full details:

Kinde Durkee Complaint

Related Content

Now Trending

  • Foster the People's Downtown L.A. Mural Is Coming Down

    The controversial Foster the People mural downtown is coming down, the office of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today. Despite claims by the pop band that it had necessary permits and that the artwork was legitimately produced, the mayor's office states what we reported previously: The piece is on a...
  • Sexual Predator Is Targeting Females in Eastside Park

    A sexual predator is on the loose in an Eastside park, police warned today. Cops say the creep has targeted "lone females" walking in Ernest E. Debs Regional Park three times between January and July. He has groped, exposed himself and even attacked with a knife, the Los Angeles Police...
  • U.S. Reps Call For Federal Intervention in Dodger TV Blackout

    A group of local U.S. representatives wants the Federal Communications Commission to help end Time Warner Cable's blackout of Dodger games for competing cable and satellite providers. Negotiations to bring the team's games to AT&T U-verse, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, DirecTV, Dish Network, Mediacom, Suddenlink Communications and Verizon FIOS have gotten...
Los Angeles Concert Tickets


  • Street League Skateboarding Super Crown World Championship
    On Sunday, Street League Skateboarding touched down in the Galen Center at USC as part of a four-stop tour for SLS's Super Crown World Championship. The L.A. stop determined the roster for Super Crown, airing August 24th on FOX Sports 1. The final eight are Nyjah Huston, Luan Oliveira, Torey Pudwill, Shane O'Neill, Paul Rodriguez, Chaz Ortiz, Matt Berger and Ishod Wair. All photos by Nanette Gonzales.
  • Comic-Con's "Celebrity" Autograph Area
    A sometimes overlooked (but still incredibly unique) aspect of San Diego Comic-Con are the celebs available to sign autographs, as well as the autograph seekers themselves. If you've ever wanted to meet the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld or the guy who played Michelangelo in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, chances are, as you wander the Autograph Area, you'll be able to connect with someone you didn't even realize you were waiting your whole life to meet! All photos by Rob Inderrieden.
  • Real Madrid Soccer Practice at UCLA
    Fans came out to greet world champion soccer team Real Madrid as they practice at UCLA. This is the first time that soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has practiced with the team this year. All photos by Jeff Cowan.