Ice Cream, An Aquarium, And AMEX: How Kinde Durkee Spent Her Clients’ Campaign Funds

March 28, 2012 10:00 a.m.

Federal prosecutors said in a 17-page filing this week that California campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee‘s illegal use of her client’s campaign funds affected 50 victims and caused a loss of over $7 million. The “information” filing typically means that a defendant has reached a plea deal, and Durkee has a hearing scheduled on Friday.

The court document says that Durkee “routinely misappropriated client funds by moving without authorization substantial sums of money out of client accounts, including political campaign accounts, into Durkee & Associates’ or into other clients’ accounts.”

So who lost what, and what did Durkee spend the money on? Here’s a rundown of the information disclosed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California:

  • Jerome Horton: Durkee is accused of taking $200,000 from Horton’s campaign for the California State Board of Equalization between Dec. 2006 and April 2008. She repaid about $90,000 to the Horton campaign between Sept. 2007 and March 2010. When she found out she was under investigation in June 2010 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) she repaid at least some of the money she owed the Horton account by misappropriating about $25,000 from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), $30,000 from Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and $15,000 from Linda Sanchez.
  • Dianne Feinstein: Durkee allegedly cut three checks for $6,000 from Feinstein’s account and deposited them into the account of Durkee & Associates in March 2010. The money was used to cover Durkee’s mortgage payment, a Sprint bill and $10,000 for payroll to employees of her company. In April, Durkee deposited a $15,000 check from Feinstein’s account that was used to cover the fees for Durkee’s mother’s nursing home. In May, Durkee allegedly deposited two checks for $20,000 into her company’s back account and used the cash to cover another mortgage payment, health insurance payments, pay a self-storage bill and her company payroll. In June she deposited a $10,000 check. In July she deposited another two checks totaling $23,000, money she used to pay a $30,000 American Express bill that included charges to the Los Angeles Dodgers,, Disneyland and Trader Joe’s. Another three $25,000 checks were deposited later that same month and used to cover a mortgage payment for Durkee and Associates’ office building, a credit card payment, payments to employees and a payroll company. The listed amounts taken from Feinstein’s campaign total $181,000.
  • Loretta Sanchez: Durkee had a check for $10,000 deposited into her company’s account in March 2010 that was used to cover a payment to Anthem Blue Cross and deposited a $15,000 check in April 2010. She deposited another $10,000 check from the campaign in June.
  • National Popular Vote: Durkee allegedly deposited a $100,000 check from the non-profit group into her company’s bank account in April 2010. She allegedly had two checks totaling $80,000 deposited into her company account the next month.
  • Linda Sanchez: Durkee allegedly took $10,000 from Sanchez’s campaign that helped cover a $25,000 American Express payment.
  • Lou Correa: Durkee deposited a cashier’s check for $207,751.39 to her company’s account in Sept. 2010.
  • Jose Solorio: Durkee deposited a cashier’s check for $300,000 to her company’s account in Oct. 2010. The cash eventually helped cover payments to American Express for charges from Baskin Robbins, Ulta, gift cards, Tivo, an animal clinic and an aquarium. A week later Durkee deposited a cashier’s check for $377,181.24 into Durkee & Associates’ bank account.

The full filing is embedded below:

Durkee Information

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