State Panel Accuses Montgomery of More Campaign Violations
Former City Councilman Scott Montgomery, who resigned after pleading guilty to criminal conflict of interest charges, now faces a new set of allegations that he once approved a permit for a Moorpark company that had donated to his campaign fund.
According to the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission, then-Councilman Montgomery voted in 1994 to approve a special use permit for A-C Construction after the company and its president had donated a total of $500 to Montgomery’s election campaign.
Two days after the vote, Montgomery’s campaign received an additional $1,000 from the company, the commission alleges.
The accusations are just one part of the current case against Montgomery, once an influential voice on the Moorpark City Council.
The commission has charged Montgomery with 22 violations of state election law, most concerning his alleged failure to disclose the source of some campaign contributions. The next hearing in the case is tentatively scheduled for April 18.
Montgomery declined to discuss the allegations concerning A-C Construction.
“I’m not going to have any comment on it until after the case is heard,” he said.
Stephen Anderson, A-C Construction’s president, said his company has made a point of donating to numerous political campaigns in Moorpark over the years and that the contributions to Montgomery were not intended to influence the councilman’s vote.
“Of course not,” he said. “I contribute to everybody’s fund.”
In June 1996, a Ventura County Superior Court judge sentenced Montgomery to one day in jail and three years’ probation on criminal conflict of interest charges for taking a $3,500 loan from a Moorpark businessman and then voting on a contract between the man’s garbage-hauling company and the city.
Montgomery initially pleaded guilty to the charges in October 1995, then tried unsuccessfully to change his plea, saying that he had been coerced.
The commission’s charges, filed separately from the Superior Court case, are not criminal in nature and carry the threat of fines, not jail time.
Deputy Dist. Atty Mark Aveis, who prosecuted the criminal case against Montgomery, said that he did not remember whether the details concerning A-C Construction surfaced during his office’s investigation.
He declined to speculate whether the A-C Construction accusations could provide grounds for a criminal case.
“I wouldn’t want to comment on whether there’s a violation,” he said.
Although the commission’s outline of the case, written by enforcement counsel Mark Morodomi, says that Montgomery voted to give A-C Construction a special use permit, the actual vote was more complex.
The company had asked for city permission to store recreational vehicles on its Spring Road site, according to a Moorpark city staff report dated Sept. 28, 1994.
In the report, Jaime Aguilera, then the city’s director of community development, told the City Council that he planned to grant the request.
If council members had any comments or changes to Aguilera’s conditions of approval, they could submit them at the Oct. 5 meeting.
Instead, all five council members, including Montgomery, voted to receive and file Aguilera’s report, allowing the approval to go through.