Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, March 29, 2012


Page 1


Family Loans Give Prosecutor Big Edge in Campaign Spending




Loans from himself and members of his family have given deputy district attorney Sean Coen a huge financial advantage in his bid for election to the Los Angeles Superior Court, campaign records show.

Coen, who faces three opponents for the seat now held by Judge Deborah Andrews, who is not running for reelection, reported raising over $450,000 through March 17. That’s at least three times the combined fundraising of the other candidates, according to reports filed with the office of the Secretary of State.

The bulk of Coen’s money, $400,000, comes in loans from his in-laws, Michael and Suzie Tamashiro of Honolulu.  Coen loaned the campaign $20,000, and his wife, Deputy District Attorney Lisa Coen, loaned another $10,000.

The candidate’s father, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen, donated $500. Other judicial officers who donated were Tomson Ong, who gave $200; and Clifford Klein and Olivia Rosales, who gave $100 each.

Over 50 attorneys and law firms donated as well.

Candidate Statement

The bulk of Coen’s fundraising went to purchase a candidate statement for inclusion in the sample ballot pamphlet, at a cost of $106,000, and to purchase space on 14 slate mailers. He still had more than $286,000 on hand at the end of the reporting period.

Of the other candidates, the only one to report significant fundraising was litigator Laurence Kaldor, who raised more than $133,000, of which more than $100,000 was loaned by the candidate, with the rest coming from about 30 individual donors.  He had over $22,000 on hand at the end of the reporting period.

The remaining candidates in that race are Deputy District Attorney Craig Gold and attorney Joe Escalante. Gold reported raising less than $25,000, including $16,000 he loaned to the campaign.

Escalante did not file an electronic disclosure. Electronic filing is not required for campaigns that have not raised or spent at least $25,000.

Large Loan

Besides Coen, the only candidate purchase a statement in the ballot pamphlet was Judge Sanjay Kumar, who reported raising more than $150,000, including $100,000 that he loaned the campaign. Kumar, who is being challenged by Hawthorne prosecutor Kim Smith, reported having less than $21,000 on hand after buying the candidate statement, obtaining space on nine slate mailers, and paying other expenses.

Kumar reported having more than 100 donors, many of them judicial colleagues.

Court of Appeal Justice Sandy Kriegler gave $1,000. Donors from the Superior Court bench included Judges Dan Oki, Ronald M. Sohigian, William A. Maclaughlin Ronald S. Coen Terry A. Green,  Thomas C. Falls, and Dennis J. Landin $500 each; Superior Court Judge Upinder S. Kalra $400; and Superior Court Judges Shari K. Silver, James C. Chalfant, Anita Dymant, and Ruth Kwan and retired Judge Jacqueline Connor $300 each; Judges Joanne B. O’Donnell, Joseph S. Biderman, David Minning, Samantha Jessner, Teresa A. Beudet, Michael Stern, Donna Fields Goldstein, and Laura Matz, and Commissioner Michael Shultz $250 each.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno gave $250; Court of Appeal Justice Victoria Chaney-Brosman $500; Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Norman Epstein $300; Court of Appeal Justice Madeleine Flier $180; and Court of Appeal Justice Victoria Chavez $250.

Kumar’s opponent, Smith, reported that he loaned $20,000 to the campaign and had no other loans or donations. He had less than $2,000 left after purchasing space on six slate mailers.


Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company