Los Angeles - Speculation that Orange County, Calif., may be forced to liquidate its battered investment fund grew Friday, as county officials began working with a team of financial crisis experts headed by former California Treasurer Thomas W. Hayes.

Full or partial liquidation within the next few months is almost inevitable, market observers say, and the only question now is-how the county will restructure its investments to deal with an actualized loss of at least $1.5 billion.

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