The Vanguard received a letter from the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), via a records request from the city in which Alan Pryor, the Treasurer of No on Measure L, received a letter from Galena West, Chief of the FPPC Enforcement Division.
The letter states: “Thank you for your response to the complaint received by the Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission alleging that you violated the campaign disclosure and use of campaign funds provisions of the Political Reform Act. The Enforcement Division will not pursue this matter further.”
On January 18, 2018, attorney Stephen Boutin sent a letter to the city, following litigation filed against the West Davis Active Adult Community (WDAAC) Measure R ballot measure, in which Samuel Ignacio filed a fair housing lawsuit against the project’s Davis-Based Buyer’s Program. The lawsuit has since been dismissed due to lack of timeliness, and it remains unclear as to whether a suit will be filed in the future.
David Taormino told the Vanguard that attorney Mark Merin received $20,000 for services to represent Samuel Ignacio.
Mr. Taormino told the Vanguard he wants to know how Mr. Ignacio, who does not live in Davis, even became aware of the project. Mr. Boutin maintained that Mr. Ignacio lacked sufficient standing to sue and research showed it was unlikely he had the means to fund the $20,000 needed to initiate the lawsuit.
Mr. Boutin, writing the city, noted that “if No on Measure L funds were used in relation to the Ignacio Complaint, those expenditures would likely violate the PRA [Public Records Act]. At the very least, litigation-related expenditures would need to have been disclosed by the Campaign.”
Mr. Boutin wrote: “What you do not yet know is that over the course of the Lawsuit, we acquired information that strongly suggests persons connected with the No on L campaign (‘Campaign) expended $20,000 to initiate the Lawsuit likely for the purpose of influencing the election and defeating Measure L. Although those persons were ultimately unsuccessful, Dave and I harbor serious concerns about the credibility of the local election process moving forward.”
In the meantime a few weeks later, the city forwarded complaints against the Yes on Measure L campaign.
In a letter to council, Mr. Pryor noted David Taormino and Stephen Boutin had made “numerous inflammatory statements suggesting the actions by the No on Measure L campaign used ‘dark money’ to ‘influence the campaign’ which ‘presents a direct threat to the integrity of the Davis election process.’”
Mr. Pryor complained, “Those boys sure know how to write a letter when confronted with this full frontal assault on our fledgling, fragile democracy in Davis. However, in my humble opinion, I have been unfairly and slanderously maligned and libeled and subjected to further expense to defend myself by these unwarranted and unsubstantiated allegations.”
He said these allegations are “flat out false.” And said, “This is because according to the FPPC’s own campaign finance and disclosure guidelines, it would actually be illegal if the No on Measure L campaign actually used campaign funds to finance such a lawsuit.”
Mr. Pryor in his letter details a number of what he believes to be campaign violations by the Yes on Measure L campaign.
That complaint is still outstanding and has yet to be resolved.
—David M. Greenwald reporting