Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, August 21, 2002


Page 1


Top-Spending Judicial Race Gets More Expensive, Records Show


By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts


Candidates for the Los Angeles Superior Court seat left vacant by the retirement of Judge David Finkel, already engaged in the most expensive judicial race in the county this year, are continuing to raise far more money than their colleagues seeking other posts.

State Bar Court Judge Paul Bacigalupo raised just over $100,000 and spent more than $78,000 through June 30, while opponent David Gelfound, a deputy district attorney, raised over $126,000 and spent more than $30,000 in the same period, campaign reports show.

Both candidates have made good on their promises to spend substantial sums in their pursuits of a Superior Court judgeship, which pays just under $140,000 annually.

But the reports do not reflect that Bacigalupo plunked down another $61,000 last month to have a candidate statement mailed to voters along with their sample ballots for the Nov. 5 election. The next set of campaign finance reports is not due until Oct. 3 and will cover the period July 1 through Sept. 28.

Bacigalupo is the only judicial candidate in Los Angeles County to pay for the candidate statement. He also had one in the primary, while Gelfound relied primarily on slate mailers in the March contest and is expected to do so again in the fall campaign.

Bacigalupo and Gelfound led a field of four candidates in the primary. Superior Court Commissioner Steven K. Lubell and Pasadena attorney David Crawford were eliminated after being vastly outspent. 

Lubell’s entire campaign cost about $4,500, including the $1,300 filing fee. He ended up with about $2,400 in surplus campaign finds, which he donated to various charities, ranging from the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department to St. Vincent Meals on Wheels.

Crawford spent about $15,000, most of it to appear on a slate mailer associated with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

Bacigalupo’s latest report shows that his mother, Maria Bacigalupo of San Francisco, contributed $5,000 during the Feb. 17 to June 30 filing period. The Century City law firm of Castle & Lax, where Bacigalupo used to practice, gave $2,500, bringing its total for the campaign to $5,000.

Other contributors included Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Stanford Reichert, a former State Bar Court judge, $1,250. The Glendale consulting firm of Garcia, McCoy & Lee, where the candidate’s wife, Lucy McCoy, is a partner, made an in-kind contribution of $1,000, bringing its total to $2,000.

Gelfound, whose previous fundraising consisted almost entirely of personal loans from the candidate and from the family trust of his campaign treasurer, Robert B. Lefton of Thousand Oaks, reported a number of donors this time around, most of them from the legal community.

They included Los Angeles Superior Court Judge  Michael Luros, who gave $250, Judges Michael Hoff and L. Jeffrey Wiatt, and Commissioner John Murphy, who gave $100 each, and retired Judge Howard Thelin, who gave $200.

Gelfound’s colleagues at work also kicked in. Thirty-one deputy district attorneys donated a total of $4,875, including $500 from Deputy District Attorney Mary Stone, the wife of Superior Court Judge Richard Stone.

In other contests that will appear on the November ballot:

Attorney Joseph Deering, seeking the seat of retired Judge Michael Pirosh, reported contributions bringing his total to $100,00, with expenditures of $47,000. But the campaign has outstanding loans totaling $42,000, including $16,000 to the candidate, and Deering, the only candidate besides Bacigalupo to pay for a candidate statement in the primary, will not have one this time around.

His opponent, Deputy District Attorney Hank Goldberg, reported loaning his campaign $20,000 and raising another $5,000, while spending about $5,000 in total.

Workers’ Compensation Judge John C. Gutierrez, seeking the seat of retiring Judge Reginald Dunn, reported raising about $20,000 and spending about $11,000. His opponent, Deputy District Attorney Richard Walmark, reported raising about $26,000 and spending nearly $24,000.

His contributors included Superior Court Judges Michael Luros and Tomson T. Ong, who gave $250 each, and Commissioner Mina Freed and former Inglewood Municipal Court Judge Lawrence Mason, who gave $100 each.


Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company