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Loan under scrutiny

Posted: February 10, 2012 1:30 a.m.
Updated: February 10, 2012 1:30 a.m.
 

A loan to Santa Clarita City Council candidate Bob Kellar from local developer Larry Rasmussen has come under question.

The matter came to light after Ed Colley, another City Council candidate, sent a complaint to the Fair Political Practices Commission and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office regarding the loan. Kellar has been a city councilman since 2000 and is running for re-election in April. Colley is one of three challengers seeking two seats.

According to Colley’s complaint, which includes a copy of a California Form 700 candidate filing by Kellar, along with other documents obtained by The Signal, Kellar received a loan from Rasmussen, owner of Spirit Properties Ltd.

Form 700 said the loan was for more than $10,000, but not more than $100,000.

Spirit Properties entered into a development agreement for the Santa Clarita Business Park — now known as Centre Pointe Marketplace — in 1998.

Because the agreement is for a 15-year-long period, Colley is claiming that Kellar received a loan from a developer with a current development agreement with the city. Kellar confirmed he received the loan in May.

The claim alleges the loan violates the Political Reform Act.

A representative of the Fair Political Practices Commission said she could not comment on a particular case, but she pointed to Government Code Section 87460, which discusses loans to public officials.

The code states, in part, “No elected officer of a state or local government agency shall, from the date of his or her election to office through the date that he or she vacates office, receive a personal loan from any person who has a contract with the state or local government agency to which that elected officer has been elected or over which that elected officer’s agency has direction and control.”

If proven, the alleged violation could lead to as much as $5,000 in fines, said Tara Stock of the FPPC.

Kellar on Thursday denied any wrongdoing and said he disclosed the loan in his filings. He said he has not voted on anything that has to do with Rasmussen or his property during his time as a council member.

“I sincerely do not believe I have violated any laws, and if something is discovered that I have, I will certainly take steps to fix this,” Kellar said.

Colley said he saw the loan filing while looking through a binder of filings for himself and the other candidates at City Hall. He filed a complaint with the FPPC and the Public Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Randy Wrage, a spokesman for Spirit Properties, said the company does not believe it did  anything improper in issuing the loan.

“We don’t believe that the transaction was improper,” Wrage said in a statement. “To our knowledge, it was fully disclosed. In the event there is any official inquiry as a result of this allegation, we will assist the appropriate authorities in every way.”

District attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison confirmed that the office had received the complaint and said it was under review but said she could not offer any further comments on the issue.

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