Southern California breaking news and trends

Parks employee charged with theft at recreation center

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The director of a Recreation and Parks center was charged with grand theft and misappropriation of public funds for allegedly stealing $17,000.

A longtime city employee is facing charges of grand theft and misappropriation of public funds for allegedly stealing $17,000 from young athletes and campers who used a Recreation and Parks center.

Carol Brandt was placed on leave in May 2011 after the Controller’s Office turned over evidence of the alleged crimes to the District Attorney. Brandt was the director of the Montecito Heights Recreation Center. She is accused of misappropriating cash payments from adult basketball teams, a soccer team, day campers and the recreation center’s snack bar. 

“It just is unfathomable to me for any city employee to misuse the public’s trust and steal money," Controller Wendy Greuel told KPCC. "What makes it even worse is they were taking this money from children’s lunch money. Just is unbelievable to me.”

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LA city swimming pools to stay open through Labor Day

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Los Angeles city pools that were expected to close Monday will remain open through Labor Day. It's unclear how the city will pay for the three additional weeks of operation.

City swimming pools that were scheduled to close next Monday to coincide with the start of the school year will remain open through Labor Day, according to officials with the Department of Recreation and Parks. 

The Daily News reported yesterday that seasonal pools would close next week as students in the Los Angeles Unified School District head back to school. That drew criticism from Councilmen Tom LaBonge and Richard Alarcon, ultimately prompting Rec and Parks to agree to keep the 46 swimming pools operating through Sept. 3.

It was not immediately known how the city would pay to keep the pools open. Nor was it clear how the pools would be staffed by a department that has seen 100 layoffs over the last three years, while the remaining employees are placed on furlough.

“This was creative thinking at its best,” LaBonge said in a statement. “In the end, the department was able to do the simplest thing: serve the kids of Los Angeles.”

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