A former Inglewood city employee has filed a lawsuit alleging that she was fired by her former employer for blowing the whistle on a "pattern of financial and accounting irregularities" during the city's attempt to lure an NFL team. Via Larry Altman of the Daily Breeeze:
In the "whistle-blower" lawsuit filed May 18 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Barbara Ohno alleges she was fired because she disclosed to federal and state authorities that the city illegally pooled its general fund with grant monies.
"I was told to stand down, look the other way and be a team player because when Inglewood got the Rams, there would be so much money coming in, no one would care how the city ran its finances," Ohno said in a statement released by her attorney, Bruce Ishimatsu. "I refused to comply with what I was told was the 'plantation mentality' in Inglewood and got fired for it."
The lawsuit alleges that the city was in poor financial shape, and that (via the L.A. Times) the city misappropriated funds from federal and state grants, as well as from money seized from federal crime enforcement operations.
"On a regular basis, the City, at the direction of Defendant Mayor Butts, violated the rules of the program by tapping into the Asset Forfeiture Fund to pay for unauthorized expenses, again because there was insufficient money in the General Fund to cover such expenses," the lawsuit states.
NFL team owners voted in January to move the Rams back to Los Angeles. A new stadium will be built on the site of the old Hollywood Park race track in Inglewood, and is projected to be ready in 2019.