Joseph O'Brien 10 a.m., Jan. 17
La Jolla billionaire homeowner's unreported six-figure gift comes back to haunt "No on 8" forces
A campaign contribution of $142,000 to a committee battling 2008's Proposition 8 - the state's same sex marriage ban - by La Jolla billionaire homeowner Ron Burkle plays a featured role in a stipulated agreement made public today between the "No on 8" campaign and the California Fair Political Practices Committee.
Due to be voted on by the commission at its regular monthly meeting next week, the 16-count stipulation requires the "No on 8, Equality for All" committee to fork over a total administrative penalty of $42,500.
Burkle, who made a large part of his fortune in supermarket takeovers, also has homes in both Beverly Hills and Manhattan. In 1999, he bought an old 1960s mansion on the La Jolla Farms bluffs, then tore it down, and built a sprawling new manse, said to have nine bedrooms and 13 bathrooms, on 5.5 acres.
(Update: We stand corrected on who tore down the property's original mansion. See first comment below.)
Democratic state Sen. Christine Kehoe of San Diego once carried a law, struck down in March 2005, that allowed Burkle to seal his controversial divorce case from public view.
In addition to "No on 8", two other political committees opposing Prop 8, Equality California Issues PAC and the Human Rights Campaign California Marriage PAC – No On Prop 8 Committee, reached separate agreements with the commission.
According to the documents up for consideration, Equality California has agreed to pay a $31,500 penalty. The Human Rights Campaign will have to come up with $6,000 under its own deal with the FPPC.
The agreements come less than a month after the Fair Political Practices Commission levied $49,000 in fines on the pro-Prop 8 committee, ProtectMarriage.com -- Yes on 8, for various reporting violations.
The currently proposed sanctions arose from post-campaign audits conducted by the state's Franchise Tax Board of each of the three committees for the period between January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008.
In the case of "No on 8," the committee "failed to timely file late contribution reports; failed to timely file election cycle reports; failed to timely file $5,000 reports; and failed to disclose certain information regarding persons who contributed $100 or more," according to an exhibit attached to the agreement.
Burkle's contribution to "No on 8," listed as part of Count 15 in the exhibit, was made November 12, 2008, a week after the November 5 election.
The "No on 8" committee was required by law to disclose such late contributions of $5,000 or more "in an online campaign report filed within 10 business days of receipt [of the contribution]," but failed to do so, the document says.
In all, "No on 8" raised approximately $43.3 million and spent about $43.1 million in its failed bid to defeat the measure.