Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein is going to court to try to recoup money she believes was lost in the hands of Kinde Durkee, the veteran Democratic campaign treasurer accused of siphoning large sums of money from the accounts of her California clients.
A lawsuit filed today in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleges that First California Bank, which held the campaign bank accounts of Feinstein and other Durkee clients, "had knowledge of Durkee's scheme and knowingly provided substantial assistance."
"First California Bank intentionally ignored dozens of red flags, ignored its duties and obligations under state and federal law, and allowed Durkee to perpetrate the scheme," the complaint reads.
The suit, which also names Durkee's firm and business associates, seeks full access to bank records related to Feinstein's accounts, including transfers to other accounts held at the bank, and repayment of "all funds wrongfully transferred" within the bank.
"What we want is a full accounting from the bank of any of the accounts relative to the Feinstein committee. And we want a reimbursement for everything that was wrongfully taken," Feinstein consultant Bill Carrick said.
Feinstein's campaign fund was one of hundreds of bank accounts thought to be controlled by Durkee, who was arrested earlier this month on mail fraud charges. A criminal complaint filed against the Burbank-based treasurer alleges that she regularly transferred money between clients' accounts without their knowledge or permission and used campaign funds for personal expenses. The charges were based on allegations that she stole more than $600,000 from Democratic Assemblyman Jose Solorio's re-election account, though claims of wrongdoing from other clients in the wake of her arrest suggest the total involved could be much higher.
While Feinstein has said she worries her $5 million warchest has been "wiped out" ahead of next year's re-election bid, Carrick said it is not yet clear how much money has been lost.
"It is extremely hard to see all the pieces of this puzzle without having access to these bank records," he said.
A spokesman for First California Bank was not immediately available for comment.
Read the full complaint here.