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Commission continues investigation into Kellar loan

Posted: February 13, 2012 6:05 p.m.
Updated: February 13, 2012 6:05 p.m.

Although the District Attorney's office has closed the case on any investigation into a loan received by City Councilman Bob Kellar, a Fair Political Practices Commission investigation continues, a spokeswoman with the state watchdog agency said Monday.

FPPC investigations into alleged violations of the Political Reform Act normally take about 14 days, Fair Political Practices Commission spokeswoman Tara Stock said in an e-mail Monday.

Stock said a letter alleging possible wrongdoing was received last week. The letter, written by Castaic Lake Water Agency board member Ed Colley, was dated Feb. 1.
Kellar and Mayor Laurie Ender are seeking re-election in the April 10 Santa Clarita City Council race and face three challengers, including Colley.

Colley said he noticed the loan to Kellar from developer Larry Rasmussen while going through a binder of financial statements required by state law.

The loan for more than $10,000 but not more than $100,000 was received in May. Ed Colley's claim states that the loan violated the Political Reform Act because Rasmussen's company, Spirit Properties Ltd., signed a 15-year contract in 1998 with the city of Santa Clarita.
Kellar has denied violating any laws in the case, as has a spokesman for Spirit Properties.

Dave Demerjian, head Deputy District Attorney for the Public Integrity Division, said Monday the District Attorney's office normally forwards cases such as Kellar's to the Fair Political Practices Commission.
"Anything that is an alleged violation of the Political Reform Act is deferred to the Fair Political Practices Commission, except in very unusual circumstances," Demerjian said.

Violations of the Political Reform Act are prosecuted as misdemeanors, while the Public Integrity Division only covers felony cases, Demerjian said.

Ed Colley said Monday that he was aware that the District Attorney's office normally defers violations of the Political Reform Act to the Fair Political Practices Commission and that it would be appropriate to wait for the commission's decision.

He said he was surprised that Kellar received a phone call from Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley to tell him the investigation was closed last week. Cooley has endorsed Kellar in the race.

"I am certainly very surprised that the District Attorney would provide a call to Bob Kellar himself and not provide me a similar courtesy," Ed Colley said.

If the FPPC determines the Rasmussen loan constitutes a violation, it may hold a hearing, according to Government Code Section 83116.

If the hearing determines that a violation has occurred, the commission can issue a cease-and-desist order, request more information or order a fine paid.




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