West Edition

Inglewood fires former executive assistant to mayor

INGLEWOOD — Melanie McDade Dickens, the executive assistant to Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr., who was paid $342,000 in salary and benefits in 2018, has been fired by the city.

McDade Dickens was a fixture at Inglewood City Hall for most of Butts’ eight-year administration, not only serving as the executive assistant to the mayor but also as the executive assistant to Inglewood City Manager Artie Fields. 

According to attorney Mira Hashmall, who works at the Miller Barondess law firm representing Inglewood in the matter, McDade Dickens is no longer a city employee as of Dec. 31.

McDade Dickens hired attorney Carl Douglas to represent her last August. Douglas is best known as a member of O.J. Simpson’s criminal defense team.

Douglas said McDade Dickens first met and worked for Butts in 2010 during his mayoral campaign.

Sometime later, Douglas alleges his client entered into a consensual relationship with Butts, who is married.

However, Douglas said McDade Dickens decided to end the relationship in March 2018.  For the next year, Douglas alleges Mayor Butts texted his client hundreds of times trying to win her back and later stalked and harassed her by using a garage door opener to enter McDade Dickens home in the middle of the night to see if she was alone.

“His conduct was not becoming of a 16-year-old who got turned down from the prom, let alone the mayor of Inglewood,” Douglas said.

Douglas said he believes the tipping point was when McDade Dickens took steps to purchase a home without Butts.

A few months later, McDade Dickens was walked out of City Hall and suspended with pay.

Hashmall said the city “categorically denies all allegations” made by Douglas.

Before being placed on paid administrative leave in July 2019, McDade Dickens was an influential and integral administration member, whose job duties also included contract negotiations that were on par with the role of an assistant city manager and housing manager.

Last April, Butts publicly credited McDade Dickens with compiling important research for a comprehensive report that helped city council members understand and eventually pass permanent rent control in Inglewood.

Meanwhile, McDade Dickens is a key witness in Madison Square Garden’s lawsuit against the city of Inglewood and the Los Angeles Clippers over the team’s proposed billion dollar Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center. 

According to Transparent California, a non-partisan public pay and pension database, McDade Dickens’ total compensation of salary and benefits was $342,000 in 2018.

Only an Inglewood assistant city manager, the city attorney, the city manager and seven members of the Inglewood Police Department, including the police chief and deputy police chief were paid more than McDade Dickens by the city of Inglewood in 2018.

In a letter responding to the city before McDade Dickens was ultimately terminated on New Year’s Eve, Douglas referenced 15 allegations of misconduct made by the city against his client. 

Meanwhile, Douglas said he expected to file a claim for damages against the city within the next 30 days. If that is rejected, Douglas said he is prepared to file a wrongful termination and sexual harassment lawsuit against the city on behalf of McDade Dickens.