Have Mike Ramos And Mary Ashley Patched It Up? Conflicting Reports

Are the district attorney and the assistant district attorney still an item? That is the question.
Last year, district attorney Mike Ramos promoted supervising deputy district attorney Mary Ashley to the position of assistant district attorney – the second highest ranking position in the office. Ashley was elevated to the post despite the far more impressive qualifications and experience of more than a dozen other prosecutors in the office.
That move instantaneously provoked grumbling throughout the organization, as it had previously been widely reported that Ramos and Ashley had been having an affair for several years, during which time she had earlier been granted plum assignments based on her relationship with her boss.
Indeed, just as word of the office reorganization that accompanied Ashley’s promotion was making the rounds last November, John Kochis, a 35-year veteran of the prosecutor’s office universally considered by his colleagues as the most deserving and logical choice for promotion to assistant district attorney were such an opening to come available, announced his retirement.
Despite the resentment of many in the office and the
perception that Ramos has created a standard under which competence, dedication, expertise and merit are secondary criteria to maintaining a personal relationship with him, his status as the elected district attorney empowered him to run the office as he saw fit and promote his employees based on standards of his own choosing.
Ramos’s penchant for womanizing has long been widely known and even acknowledged, having been the subject of press reports which cataloged his affairs with over a dozen women, including three of his own deputy prosecutors other than Ashley, two of his office’s evidence technicians and two of his office’s clerks. Despite the scandalizing effect of these revelations, Ramos for the most part managed to keep the potential trouble inherent in such office liaisons from manifesting, at least in part because some of those with whom he was linked succeeded in using their relationship with their boss to promote themselves professionally.
Inevitably, one of those entanglements played out badly when Cheryl Ristow, an evidence technician with whom he had been carrying on for 18 months in 2003, 2004 and 2005, sued him in 2009, alleging she was being retaliated against in the workplace in the aftermath of her decision to end the relationship with Ramos. Though Ristow did not prevail in her suit alleging she was being singled out for retribution, the county ran up a $140,000 bill to have a Santa Monica-based law firm compile a tortuously-worded report that neither confirmed nor denied the sexual nature of the relationship between Ramos and his employees while justifying the disciplining of Ristow. In the course of that litigation, a bevy of sordid and salacious details about the affair between Ramos and Ristow made their way into the court record and were publicly revealed.
Earlier this year, a repeat of the reproach created by the dissolution of the sexual bond between Ramos and Ristow from six years before appeared imminent, as reports of a breakup between Ramos and Ashley, who were previously said to be cohabiting, were circulating. Members of the office said they detected signs that the relationship between their boss and Ashley had suddenly deteriorated, sundering the chain of command at the top of the organization, creating difficulty in sustaining the normal lines of communication in the office. This appeared to be reflected in the discontinuation of the occasional sightings of the couple at various public locations where they had been witnessed previously. One report was that Ramos was on the verge of demoting Ashley or firing her outright, but that he retreated from that option because of concern that in doing so he might trigger a sexual discrimination lawsuit which would be even more difficult to fend off than the one brought against him, the office and the county by Ristow.
Earlier this week, following a published report this month about Ramos and Ashley’s uncoupling, the Sentinel was contacted by a well-placed and reliable source who reported that the account appeared to be in error. On the evening of September 3, the Sentinel was told, Ramos and Ashley had dinner together at the Chili’s restaurant in Redlands. This ran counter to the gist of the Sentinel article, which strongly suggested that Ramos and Ashley were on the outs.
Rechecking with sources still in place within the district attorney’s office on September 21, the Sentinel was told that as published, the article was accurate and that Ramos and Ashley are no longer together.
Efforts to get a clarification from the parties directly involved – Ramos and Ashley – as well as the district attorney’s office’s official spokesman, Christopher Lee, were unfruitful.

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