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California

Water board member faces fines of $30,000 for campaign finance violations

A water board member elected to represent Bell, Commerce and other cities faces $30,000 in fines for campaign finance violations that include failure to report contributions from former Bell Mayor George Cole, a casino and several government contractors.

Arturo Chacon is a member of the Central Basin Municipal Water District’s board of directors and has admitted to 13 violations of state campaign rules, including failure to disclose payments to family members, according to the state Fair Political Practices Commission. The commission is scheduled to vote on the fines Feb. 10.

The commission’s enforcement officers obtained bank records showing the source of tens of thousands of dollars that went into and out of Chacon’s campaign fund starting in 2006, when he won a water board seat vacated by Cole.

Chacon, who declined to comment, has agreed to pay fines for failing to report receipt of $37,000 in contributions and $41,600 in expenditures. He also accepted three cash contributions totaling $4,350 that exceeded a $100 limit on non-check donations, according to the commission.

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Chacon failed to properly disclose contributions that included $5,000 from the Commerce Casino, $1,500 from Cole and thousands more from engineering, public affairs and law firms that contract with the water district or cities in the area, the commission found.

Cole is one of eight former and current Bell officials who were arrested in September and charged by the L.A. County district attorney with misappropriating more than $5.5 million from the small working-class city.

The report on Chacon said contributions that he failed to disclose properly included $1,000 from Del Terra Real Estate Services, which has a construction management contract with the water district, and $250 from Diverse Strategies for Organizing, which has a public-outreach deal with the water district.

Other unreported donations included $1,000 from the law firm of Pomona City Atty. Arnold Alvarez-Glasman, $99 from Commerce City Atty. Eduardo Olivio and $1,000 from Mayans Development Inc. Mayans has had an agreement with the Commerce Community Development Commission to build homes in that city.

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None of the contributors is accused of wrongdoing.

An aggravating factor against Chacon, the commission report said, was that the unreported contributions and expenditures “included substantial payments to/from relatives and close associates,” including his sister, Leticia Chacon; his brother, Montebello school board Vice President Hector Chacon; and his brother’s political consulting business, Quantum Management Services.

Quantum Management received $9,500 from Arturo Chacon’s campaign committee in 2006 and 2007 that was not properly reported, according to the commission. The report said Leticia Chacon received $1,000, but it provided no information why.

Leticia and Hector Chacon could not be reached for comment.

A Commerce resident, Arturo Chacon represents a district that includes the cities of Bell, Commerce, Huntington Park, Maywood and Walnut Park and unincorporated East Los Angeles.

patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com


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