Vincent Farnsworth 2:38 p.m., Sept. 26
San Diego Realtors Slapped for Repeated Lobbying Law Violations
The San Diego Association of Realtors has agreed to pay $500 to settle charges it violated the city's lobbying law by repeatedly failing to file quarterly disclosure reports on time.
According to a December 15 stipulation agreement posted online by the city's Ethics Commission, the association was two months late when it filed its report for second quarter lobbying activities on September 30.
The document says that the association "is an experienced organization lobbyist in the City of San Diego, and was aware of the Lobbying Ordinance’s quarterly filing requirements. Moreover, staff in the City Clerk’s office sent several letters to Respondent reminding the organization that its second quarter report was due by August 1, 2011."
The Realtors group "has an extensive history of failing to timely file quarterly disclosure reports. In particular, Respondent paid a $200 fine in August of 2009 for failing to timely file its 2008 third and fourth quarter disclosure reports. In addition, Respondent filed four additional quarterly disclosure reports late," according to the stipulation.
The organization's third quarter disclosure report, filed November 16, says that the association's Michael Mercurio and Kimberlee Theis lobbied city councilman Todd Gloria, his aide Stephen Hill, and Lori Zapf staffer Matt Donnellan regarding "no change to current city policy regarding point of sale."
The pair also lobbied Gloria, Zapf and fellow councilman Carl DeMaio seeking "no changes to muncipal policy regarding transfer taxes."
In the matter of business taxes on real estate agents, the association sought a "return to previous business tax application to Real Estate Brokers and Agents."
The disclosure says Mercurio and Theis lobbied Zapf, her staffer Job Nelson, DeMaio, and city attorney Jan Goldsmith about that issue.
In addition to the $500 fine, the Realtors group "has implemented additional procedures and safeguards to ensure that its quarterly disclosure reports are timely filed in the future," says the stipulation.
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