Victims of the California campaign treasurer who embezzled more than $7 million from dozens, if not hundreds, of clients’ accounts may have to hire private attorneys and scramble to replenish re-election funds even as the government’s case ended in a guilty plea Friday. Since Kinde S. Durkee, 59, was arrested in September, everyone touched by the case has been asking one question: Where did the money go? Now, those facing imminent California primaries and November’s general election are forced to consider another: What if they never find it? “Everyone is trying to figure that out, and nobody seems to know,” attorney Atticus Wegman said of the money trail. “Even if, for the past five or 10 years, she was just taking money out and spending it here or there, it’s hard to say how that would take up all the money that she pulled out.”
Wegman’s firm, Aitken Aitken Cohn, is representing California Democratic Reps. Linda Sánchez, Loretta Sanchez and Susan Davis and California state Sen. Lou Correa in a civil lawsuit filed against Durkee and the bank in which she maintained their accounts. Durkee pleaded guilty Friday to five counts of mail fraud in a Sacramento courtroom. She was initially accused of using her firm, Durkee & Associates, to siphon nearly $700,000 from the election campaign of California Assemblyman Jose Solorio to pay for an array of personal expenses that included clothing, cosmetics, her cable bill and an assisted-living facility for her mother.
The scope of the embezzlement probe has widened since her arrest — prosecutors now say Durkee stole at least $7 million, and that figure could rise to as much as $10 million by the time they sort through account statements and banking records. Lawmakers and organizations that have already told the Federal Election Commission that Durkee embezzled funds from their accounts include Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.), Davis, both Sanchez sisters and four separate Democratic Party groups representing Los Angeles and Orange, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
Full Article: Durkee Case Jolts Elections : Roll Call Politics.