TheLiberalOC has formally filed FPPC violation complaints against two Santa Ana Planning Commissioners — Eric Alderete and Sean Mill — for failure to disclose their financial interests and/or investments. As evidence, that was required, we provided copies of both Commissioners’ Form 700 disclosure forms as posted on the City of Santa Ana’s website and indicated they are in violation of failing to disclose their sources of income or investments.
Neither Alderete or Mill have listed their employment or investments. In the case of Alderete, he failed to include a home address, phone number or email address in his filing. Mill’s form 700 was dated March 2013, there’s no filing for 2014. He listed his home address in what is believed to be his mother’s home. Alderete’s was filed in March 2014 but there’s no income/investment statement.
Both men has accepted tickets from various vendors.
Fines for failure to comply are $10 a day for the maximum of $100. The FPPC is expected to received our filings today and will inform me in two weeks if they decide to investigate.
The process is as follows, per the FPPC:
Enforcement Division personnel open a file on the complaint, enter it into our computer database and complete an initial screening to determine if the matter is appropriate for further investigation. For example, a complaint alleging a violation of California’s open meeting law may not fall under the jurisdiction of the FPPC and is closed at this point. Frequently, we base the initial review solely on the strength of the complaint and any supporting documents that are submitted. But we may also do further legal study, investigation and interviews at this stage.
The Enforcement Division sends a letter acknowledging receipt of each properly filed complaint, even one that is closed prior to a full investigation. Our letter is usually written within 14 days of receipt of the complaint. If we close your complaint without an investigation because it alleges violation of a law outside of our jurisdiction—such as the Public Records Act– our initial letter will explain the action.
A complaint found to merit a full investigation is assigned to a staff attorney and an investigator, an accounting specialist or both. We may obtain additional documents, interview witnesses, including the person alleged to have violated the act, and issue subpoenas.
There are several possible outcomes once we have done a full investigation. FPPC Commissioners may be asked by staff to approve a settlement agreement in which the subject of the investigation agrees to pay an administrative fine or take other remedial action.
The case may be closed for lack of supporting evidence or other reasons. Or, the case may enter a formal process that can result in an administrative prosecution by the Division and a hearing before an administrative law judge and possibly the full Commission.
Finally, the Commission may levy fines, dismiss the case or take other appropriate action.
In some cases, the FPPC may prosecute a case by a filing a civil lawsuit in the courts. We also may refer the case to a district attorney or the Attorney General for criminal prosecution.
TheLiberalOC contact the city of Santa Ana October 9, 2014 to ask why state mandated financial disclosures were not provided on Alderete’s and Mill’s Form 700s. Responses from the city manager’s office, the city clerk’s office and the city attorney’s office were unable to provide an explanation for the incomplete forms and failed to provide promised follow up calls from the Planning Commission’s legal representative. All three offices did indicate that the commissioners in question were notified about FPPC requirements and the city clerk’s office reported that the information provided on the Form 700s was accurate “according to the commissioners.”
But neither the city attorney or city clerk were able to state that either Form 700 was in compliance.
There’s an easy remedy for both commissioners – simply file updated forms. Should the FPPC proceed with an investigation in this case, both men will have to answer to why state mandated information is missing from their disclosure documents.