CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS / INSURANCE COMMISSIONER : Garamendi, Press, Collis Taking Loans Down the Stretch


Reverberations continued Monday over loans taken by two big spenders in the race for insurance commissioner, with state Sen. John Garamendi’s campaign refusing to disclose how the first installment of a $700,000 loan will be repaid, and Board of Equalization Chairman Conway Collis saying his home is worth enough to finance his $673,000 loan.

Garamendi’s campaign contribution and spending report filed last week showed that the first $200,000 repayment of his loan is due to the Union Safety Deposit Bank of Stockton, on June 18, only 13 days after the primary.

Revels Cayton, Garamendi’s campaign manager, refused to disclose Monday where the money would come from for the repayment. “I can’t comment about the senator’s personal finances,” he said.

Collis, answering a question about his loan, said his home is worth $1.4 million, not $1 million as an opponent suggested Saturday, and that he was therefore able to obtain a $650,000 second mortgage on it from the Equitable Mortgage Co. The other $23,000 in loans for his campaign came from other assets, he said.


Television commentator Bill Press said he has taken out a $100,000 loan for his campaign, obtaining a second mortgage on properties he owns in Los Angeles and Marin counties. Press said a report on the loan, the first he has taken, will be made to state election authorities today.

On Monday, spokesmen for Democrats Garamendi, Collis and Press clarified their contribution reports of last week, pointing out that these reports did not include fund raising or transfers from last year, and thus the three campaigns are bigger than reported in The Times Saturday.

The Garamendi campaign acknowledged gathering $1,417,150 overall, the Press campaign $1,059,264 and the Collis campaign $1,022,834. These clarified figures mean that Garamendi has received contributions, in addition to loans, of $717,150, the Collis campaign $349,854 and the Press campaign $959,264.

Press and Collis, meanwhile, questioned who had contributed the money making up new Garamendi transfers of $43,689 from his Senate reelection committee to his insurance commissioner campaign committee, bringing the total of such transfers to $299,778.

Press said he wonders if this is secret insurance industry money, but Garamendi’s manager said there is nothing embarrassing about the donors, and he promised to make the names of the contributors of the $43,689 available this week.