By Torey Van Oot
tvanoot@sacbee.com
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 4A
Last Modified: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 – 7:54 am

A new court filing suggests that bad business practices and an inability to confront underperforming employees and nonpaying clients sparked the most extensive campaign treasurer fraud in the history of California.

The document, filed ahead of Kinde Durkee’s sentencing hearing today, provides the most detailed account so far of what led the Burbank-based campaign treasurer to take millions of dollars from political accounts she controlled on behalf of big-name Democrats and where the money went. Durkee, 59, pleaded guilty earlier this year to five counts of mail fraud in connection with the embezzlement scheme.

In a response to the probation office’s sentencing recommendation, Durkee attorney Daniel V. Nixon wrote that “most of the (misappropriated) funds appear to have been used to keep the business running,” not to fund a lavish lifestyle.

“Although a significant amount of money was used to pay for personal expenses, including mortgage payments and credit card charges, a great deal of the stolen funds were used to keep the business afloat and her employees employed,” Nixon wrote.

“Unfortunately, it spiraled out of control, she lost track of the amount of the shortfall and it ultimately reached a level that she will be unable to repay in her lifetime.”

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