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DIRTY ELECTION: La Mirada Councilman Andrew Sarega Has Additional Connections to Independent Expenditure Committee

La Mirada Councilman Andrew Sarega. Picture courtesy aschaper1.blogspot.com


By Brian Hews

Hews Media Group-Community News has obtained documents that strongly indicate La Mirada City Councilman Andrew Sarega has a long-term relationship with the Imbre family, the La Mirada family that distributed money for Residents for a Better La Mirada (RBLM).

RBLM was an “independent expenditure” committee that received $6,500 in questionable donations to influence the normally tranquil March 7, 2017 La Mirada City Council election.

The $6,500 was subsequently used to send several direct mail campaign flyers slamming Sarega’s opponent, Pauline Deal and Sarega ally Tony Aiello’s opponent, eventual winner John Lewis.

La Mirada had never before seen this type of dirty electioneering.

Weeks before the vote, HMG-CN published a series of articles outlining the campaign financing between Sarega, Aiello and RBLM, a series that resulted in California’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) opening an investigation on the three.

The series outlined probable collaboration; most of the Sarega, Aiello, and RBLM direct mail campaign flyers were printed at the same company in Texas and mailed from the same post office in Texas with the same USPS permit number.




It is a violation of the Political Reform Act for an independent expenditure committee such as RBLM to spend money “at the behest” of any candidate, violations of the Act carry heavy monetary penalties.

And now, the new evidence obtained by HMG-CN could bolster an already strong FPPC case against Sarega, which could result in additional fines over and above what the embattled councilman is facing now.

And it will put the Imbre family squarely in the sights of FPPC investigators.

There is no question that RBLM was operated by the Imbre’s: the HMG-CN series found that RBLM listed its address on the 12800 block of Oakwood Lane in La Mirada, and its treasurer as Ionel Imbre; a search of public records show that Imbre owned the house; and Imbre’s phone number was the contact number for RBLM listed on the Secretary of State’s website.

The HMG-CN investigation also found that a man with a similar Eastern European name as Sarega – the yet to be located Stelian Onufrie – donated the $6,500 to RBLM; that money was used to send out mailers in support of Sarega and Aiello’s campaigns.

Onufrie owns a small construction company called Diamond Construction based out of La Habra and listed a P.O. box located inside a UPS store as his business address when he donated the $6,500 to RBLM.

Such a listing is a common method of concealing a company from scrutiny during elections.




Although the connections were strong and warranted a FPPC investigation, no additional connections, other than the direct mail flyers from Texas, could be made between RBLM and Sarega and Aiello.

That is until HMG-CN acquired documentation from the La Mirada City Clerk’s office indicating a long-term relationship between Sarega and the Imbre’s, one that probably dictated how RBLM’s money was spent.

Sarega first ran for Council in 2013, filing his nomination papers in December 2012.

His controversial father, who himself has a questionable past, and who is seen at every council meeting condemning council members at public comment, with the exception of his son, circulated the petition between Nov. 15 and Dec. 6, 2012.

The petition was signed by 27 La Mirada residents.

The first four signatures were Sarega family members who apparently all reside at the same address on San Bruno.

The next two, on lines five and six of the petition, were RBLM treasurer Ionel Imbre and his wife Adriana Imbre with the address on Oakwood Lane, the same address as RBLM.

The last signature on the petition was the daughter of Ionel and Adriana, Marinela Imbre, who resided at the same address on Oakwood.


Nomination papers showing the Imbre’s on line 5 and 6. Click on image to view larger document.



Nomination papers showing the Marinela Imbre’s on line 26. Click on image to view larger document.



Social media screenshots from Facebook show that Sarega and the Imbre’s know each other, communicating through both Sarega’s personal and La Mirada City Council Facebook page.


Screen shot showing Imbre family on Councilman Sarega’s Facebook page.




A La Mirada resident who did not want to be identified for fear of retribution by the Sarega’s, told the Lamplighter, “very smelly, Sarega and Imbre’s friendship goes way back, Imbre is treasurer of Residents for a Better La Mirada, all their campaign literature is printed and mailed under the same permit from the same place in Texas. If it is not coordination it sure is an incredible coincidence.”

Emails into Sarega for comment went unanswered.



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