Carson Mayor Albert Robles has agreed to pay $12,000 in fines to settle allegations that he failed to file required economic disclosure statements for personal and political campaign finances.
California’s Fair Political Practices Commission approved an agreement last week that resolves several claims against Robles and his various campaign committees for the paperwork failures for both his mayoral position and a second elected position he holds on a regional water board.
Robles declined to comment on the settlement.
In 2015, The Times learned that Robles — who is also a member of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California — was under investigation by the FPPC because of his failure to file the reports in a timely manner, as required under California law. At the time, Robles apologized, saying he’d been busy.
The law requires that as an elected official, Robles must make annual disclosure of his personal finances, including income from investments, business interests and other sources.
In July, the commission found Robles had violated 17 financial reporting laws since 2012, and he could have been fined as much as $25,000. A subsequent appeals hearing reduced the number of violations to five acts: failing to disclose campaign contributions and expenditures in a timely manner in 2012; failing to file timely pre-election campaign statements in 2012; failing to file late contributions reports in 2013; failing to file an annual statement of economic interest in 2014; and failing to file timely semiannual campaign statements in 2016.
This isn’t Robles first brush with the FPPC. In 2012, the agency fined him $1,200 for not filing several campaign finance statements for two committees he controlled.
In explaining the settlement decision, the commission noted Robles had deprived the public of timely, sensitive information regarding the source and amounts of campaign activity. But the commission added that he has now filed the required statements and retained a professional campaign treasurer.
Also in 2015, as Robles led the push for an NFL team in Carson, a Times report raised questions about whether Robles actually resides in the Adams-Normandie neighborhood of Los Angeles rather than Carson.
Robles has insisted that he lives in his parents’ home in Carson, but said he spends most of his free waking hours with his wife and two children at their Adams-Normandie apartment. He has maintained he is a Carson resident.
Robles, who joined the Carson City Council in 2013, still faces legal challenges.
The Los Angeles district attorney’s office is seeking to unseat him for holding two legally incompatible offices. The D.A. has filed a civil suit attempting to remove Robles from serving on the regional water board, arguing it is a conflict of interest and violates California law.
The suit asserts that one person cannot be mayor or a city councilman in Carson and be on the board of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California. The district is responsible for replenishing groundwater in basins that supply water to the residents of Carson and nearly 4 million other people in southern L.A. County.
Robles, who has served on the water board since 1992, denies the conflict, saying that the city has no water contracts or oversight of water issues.
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