LA MIRADA CITY COUNCIL CAMPAIGN EMBROILED IN CONTROVERSY AND POSSIBLE ILLEGAL COORDINATION

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Are two candidates illegally coordinating with the La Mirada Independent Expenditure committee called Residents for a Better La Mirada?

By Brian Hews

Last week Hews Media Group-La Mirada Lamplighter reported about dark money donations to an obscure committee called Residents for a Better La Mirada (RBLM) that is attempting to influence the La Mirada City Council race on March 7.

RBLM is located in La Mirada, its treasurer is La Mirada resident Ionel Imbre.

Read story click here.

Campaign documents obtained by HMG-LML from the La Mirada City Clerk’s office showed large donations from a shady La Habra based construction company to RBLM.

The money was used to slam District 1 candidate John Lewis and District 2 candidate and incumbent Pauline Deal with negative direct mail advertisements.

Deal is running against incumbent Andrew Serega, while Lewis is running for the newly created District 1 against Tony Aiello, Diane Gramajo, and Jim Emmerling.

HMG-LML identified the construction company as Diamond Construction and Design, found that the company had a UPS Store PO Box in La Habra as their business address, and finally found that the mailing address is in Buena Park and the owner is Stelian Onufrie.

Diamond and presumably Onufrei donated $6,500 to RBLM to oppose Deal and Lewis, with RBLM mailing out the  “hit pieces” against the two candidates to La Mirada residents in District 1 and District 2.

Many La Mirada residents called and emailed HMG-LML angry with the mailers and the content that blasted Deal and Lewis.

And those mailers could place RBLM and its treasurer Imbre in legal hot water.

They could also place Serega and Aiello in legal hot water.

 

Candidates Andrew Serega and Tony Aiello shown in a direct mail piece.

 

 

STRONG INDICATION OF COORDINATION-

HMG-LML has examined the campaign documents and three direct mail hit pieces sent out by RBLM against Deal and Lewis.

Also examined were the campaign documents and direct mail pieces sent out by Aiello and Serega promoting their own campaigns.

The similarities between the information on the campaign documents, the mail pieces and campaign flyers strongly indicate coordination between RBLM, Serega, and Aiello.

Coordination between an “Independent Expenditure” (IE) committee such as RBLM and any candidate(s) is a violation of Fair Political Practices Commission laws under the Political Reform Act.

 

USED THE SAME PRINTER AND POST OFFICE IN TEXAS-

According to campaign documents, the three direct mail pieces sent out by RBLM against Deal and Lewis were printed at Print Place located at 1130 Ave. H East in Arlington, Texas.

They were mailed from zip code 76161, which is a United States Post Office in Fort Worth, Texas.

Examining District 1 candidate Tony Aiello’s campaign documents show his mail pieces printed at Print Place 1130 Ave. H East in Arlington, Texas.

And, similar to RBLM’s mailers, Aiello’s mail pieces were postmarked and mailed from the same US Post Office in zip code 76161.

Examining all of Serega’s mail and campaign flyers show printing at Print Place 1130 Ave. H East in Arlington, Texas. One mailer Serega sent out was postmarked out of Arlington, Texas where Print Place is located.

 

 

 

Campaign mailer sent out by Aiello printed at Print Place and mailed from 76161.

 

 

Lewis hit piece mailer sent by RBLM that printed at Print Place and sent from zip code 76161. The Pauline Deal mailer was listed on RBLM’s documents as printed at Print Place and mailed from 76161.

 

 

Serega mailer printed at Print Place located in Arlington, Texas and mailed from Arlington.

 

 

In addition, all direct mailed flyers were very similar in design, indicating the same graphics designer was used for RBLM, Aiello, and Serega.

The ramifications of a candidate(s) coordinating with an IE are very onerous.

Each violation can carry a maximum fine of $5,000 under Section 18225.7 of the Political Reform Act.

Click here to read Section 18225.7

If Serega and Aiello were found to coordinate with RBLM on campaign mailers and flyers, they, along with Imbre, could be fined as much as $25,000.

Several emails into Serega the past few days have been unreturned.

Candidate Tony Aiello told HMG-LML, “Andrew has assisted me in some aspects just like I have assisted him. Anybody that knows me knows I would never have anything to do with that group or any mailers.”

LEWIS MAILER BELOW-TWO OF THESE WERE MAILED BY RBLM

 

 

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One Response to LA MIRADA CITY COUNCIL CAMPAIGN EMBROILED IN CONTROVERSY AND POSSIBLE ILLEGAL COORDINATION

  1. Pingback: La Mirada District 2 City Council Candidate Andrew Sarega’s Business Was Suspended by Franchise Tax Board | Cerritos Community News

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