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Kellar: "I have done nothing wrong"

Mayor could face misdemeanor charge

Posted: March 20, 2008 5:16 p.m.
Updated: May 21, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 
If Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar continues withholding financial information required by the state, the maximum penalty could include jail time, according to information from the county District Attorney's office.

No one contacted at the District Attorney's office or the Fair Political Practices Commission could comment on whether anyone has actually served jail time as a result of withholding information from a Form 700.

"I know in my heart I have busted my neck for this community and I have nothing to be ashamed of, and I have done nothing wrong," Kellar said Wednesday.

So far, he has failed to fully disclose to the state individual sources of income of at least $10,000, which would include real estate commissions. Kellar has said doing so would jeopardize his work as a Realtor.
Kellar was first elected to the council in 2000 and is seeking re-election April 8.

One of the key things the Fair Political Practices Commission looks at is whether or not the omission is deliberate or inadvertent, said FPPC spokesman Roman Porter.

The FPPC has the ability to assess fines of up to $5,000 per violation of the Political Reform Act. The act also states: "Any person who knowingly or willfully violates any provision of this title is guilty of a misdemeanor."

The act states that prosecution for the violation must commence within four years after the date on which the violation occurred.

"If a person is convicted of this, the maximum penalty is six months in county jail and/or a $10,000 fine," said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman with District Attorney Steve Cooley's office.

She said the District Attorney's office had received a complaint on the matter and the complaint was referred to the FPPC for review. If the FPPC believes a crime has been committed, the commission would notify the District Attorney's office, Gibbons said.

Kellar said Wednesday that he is consulting with attorneys and does not plan to file additional amendments to his financial disclosure forms until he obtains more information.

He amended his financial records March 10 after the state began looking into those records. He had not included his gross income on his financial disclosure forms in 2002, 2003 and 2004, which he called an inadvertent omission.

Failing to file complete records is a violation of state law.

His amendments, however, did not include a listing of individual sources of income of at least $10,000, which would include real estate commissions. Kellar, a Realtor and partner of real estate sales company Kellar-Davis Inc., had still not filed amendments disclosing that information as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to the city clerk's office.

The state requires candidates and elected officials to record financial information, including investments, real property, gifts and income.

The Form 700 asks filers to "list the name of each reportable single source of income of $10,000 or more."

Kellar has said that most of his commissions exceed $10,000.

He has said he's concerned about protecting his clients' names from being placed on a list for public review, but said he has nothing to hide.

"I have always respected my clients and my fiduciary responsibility to them, and I have tried my absolute best to be a responsible City Council member," he said. "I'll tell you something: I have done nothing but cut both my wrists for this city for many years and I've done it on my own accord."

The FPPC stepped up its involvement and began reviewing Kellar's previously filed statements after The Signal reported his amendments did not include the individual sources of income of $10,000 or more.

Kellar said he will be preparing comments on the matter for Tuesday's City Council meeting.

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