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Ex-Budget Chief Has Record Cleared

January 6, 1998

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) _ A judge has allowed former Orange County budget chief Ronald S. Rubino to clear his record of a misdemeanor conviction for mishandling public records in the county’s 1994 financial collapse.

Rubino now wants the county to reimburse $23,482 in legal costs on top of the $605,631 already paid from public funds. Supervisors earlier rejected the additional payment on a technicality but could reconsider it this month.

The county declared bankruptcy in 1994 after losing $1.6 billion in investments.

Rubino was accused of helping former Treasurer Robert Citron and former Assistant Treasurer Matthew Raabe hide a high-risk investment strategy by diverting more than $90 million that belonged to city governments, schools and special districts.

The men were never accused of taking money for themselves, but of improperly funneling it into general funds. A jury deadlocked 9-3 in favor of acquittal for Rubino, and he eventually pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor.

Superior Court Judge J. Stephen Czuleger on Nov. 24 approved Rubino’s request to change his plea to innocent and expunge the conviction, The Orange County Register reported Tuesday.

Citron pleaded guilty to six felonies and Raabe was convicted of five felonies.

Rubino’s legal bill still remains below the $665,800 approved by supervisors, his wife said.

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