Civic Leader Sues Long Beach Over Queen Mary

Share Article

Long Beach community leader Traci Wilson Kleekamp has asked a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge to force the City of Long Beach to release financial records concerning the historic Queen Mary cruise liner, and its not-for-profit operator, the RMS Foundation.

In a lawsuit filed today, Wilson-Kleekamp claims city officials have unlawfully withheld hundreds of documents, including internal audits, income tax statements, and check registers that she has requested under the California Public Records Act during the past two years.

"This lawsuit questions the integrity of the city attorney, the city auditor and the city manager", said Wilson-Kleekamp, who has retained attorney Patrick Manshardt to pursue her records request. "Circumstances in this case, suggest why the public’s right to inspect public records should be strengthened," said Manshardt, of Los Angeles-based Southwestern Legal Foundation.

According to Wilson-Kleekamp, her interest began in 2002, when the city fired one its senior auditors, Earl Hobbs. Over the years, Hobbs had uncovered and exposed a number of questionable practices in city departments – often at the displeasure of city managers and elected officials. When he was put on leave and eventually terminated, Wilson-Kleekamp’s interest was piqued. "At first, I just wondered why Earl was put on leave, but then I heard that his house was ransacked by the police, they held a gun to his wife’s head, confiscated his computer and all his files, fired him, and then denied him his pension."

Wilson-Kleekamp believes her lawsuit will eventually exonerate Earl Hobbs. "If we can uncover what the City is trying to hide at the Queen Mary, then maybe we’ll find out why the City tried to destroy Earl Hobbs’ life."

On, January 5, the California State Lands Commission sent a terse letter to the office of the Long Beach City Attorney, to remind the city of its September 2001 and July 2003 requests for an accounting of it use of state Tidelands funds the city receives for its oversight of oil properties and production just offshore.

The Commission also requested details related to operation of the Queen Mary, which is docked in the Tidelands area and subject to State Lands Commission review. The city has not responded.

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Traci Wilson-kleekamp
Visit website