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Kellar receives warning on loan

Posted: February 28, 2012 5:22 p.m.
Updated: February 28, 2012 5:22 p.m.

The Fair Political Practices Commission ruled this week that Santa Clarita City Councilman Bob Kellar violated the Political Reform Act when he received a personal loan from a local developer, but commissioners said they would only issue a written warning.

In a letter sent to Kellar, Gary S. Winuk, chief of the FPPC's enforcement division, said the councilman's loan violated the Political Reform Act.

The act states that a city council member receiving a personal loan from any person who has a contract with the council member's city is a violation.

Winuk issued a written warning to Kellar, who is running for re-election in April, telling him that any further violation of the Political Reform Act would result in penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation.

Castaic Lake Water Agency board member Ed Colley filed a complaint against Kellar Feb. 1 after noting the loan to Kellar from developer Larry Rasmussen while going through a binder of financial statements required by state law.

Kellar and Mayor Laurie Ender are seeking re-election in the April 10 Santa Clarita City Council race and face three challengers, including Colley.

Kellar received a loan in May for more than $10,000 but not more than $100,000 from Rasmussen.

In 1998 the Santa Clarita City Council granted at 15-year development agreement to Rasmussen's company, Spirit Properties Ltd., for the development of what is now the Centre Pointe retail and light industrial district.

In his letter, Winuk noted Rasmussen's development agreement predated Kellar's election to the council in 2000. He also wrote that Kellar did not appear to be hiding the loan, since he disclosed it.

During the duration of the loan and for one year afterward, Kellar has to disqualify himself from voting on any issues financially affecting Spirit Properties, according to Winuk's letter.

Kellar said Tuesday that he appreciated the FPPC handling the matter in a timely fashion. He said he has never voted on anything that involved Rasmussen because he is close personal friends with the developer.

"I'm appreciative of them handling this matter in a timely way and that, although I'm not in complete concurrence with their determination, of course I will follow their directions," Kellar said.

"However, as I have stated before, I have never and will never vote on anything having to do with my good friend Mr. Rasmussen."

"Once again, as I have indicated before, I will not violate my trust to the citizens of Santa Clarita," Kellar said.

A spokesman for Spirit Properties said the company disagreed with the FPPC's assessment of the situation.
"We disagree with the determination that our 1998 development approval constitutes a contract with the city; however, we're happy that the commission has closed this matter without any penalty," Randy Wrage said in a statement.

Contacted for comment Tuesday, Colley said the FPPC had not told him of the investigation's conclusion.

"My only comment right now is that I'm glad the FPPC had time to weigh in and now we have some clarification on what the law is," Colley said.




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