Monday, June 6, 2016
Townsend Donations Dwarf Rivals’ as Campaign Nears End
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Deputy District Attorney Susan Jung Townsend has emerged with by far the largest war chest among candidates seeking election to the Los Angeles Superior Court in tomorrow’s primary.
Townsend, one of four candidates seeking Office No. 84—the seat left open when Judge Kathleen Diesman declined to seek reelection—reported raising more than $600,000 last year and this year for the campaign, through May 21, the cutoff date for the last comprehensive report that must be filed before the primary election.
Townsend—who hired two experienced campaign consultants, David Gould and Fred Huebscher —reported spending nearly half of her funds, mostly on slater mailers. She had $317,000 on hand at the end of the reporting period, and more mailers touting her candidacy have been hitting mailboxes in recent days.
The bulk of the funds come from Townsend’s family and their real estate businesses, including $200,000 from Trium Investment Group, LLC: $155,000 from the candidate’s husband, Los Angeles police officer James R. Townsend II; and $75,000 each from Peter and Chris Jung, the chief executive and chief financial officer, respectively, of KMJ Property Management.
Other notable donors include former District Attorney Steve Cooley, who gave $500, and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Alison Matsumoto Estrada, who gave $250.
Townsend’s spending dwarfs that of her three rivals, Deputy District Attorneys Javier Perez and Hubert S. Yun, and civil attorney Aaron J. Weissman.
Perez is the biggest spender among the three, having raised nearly $200,000, including more than $50,000 in loans from himself and five other people. But he had less than $40,000 on hand at the end of the reporting period.
About 60 donors contributed $1,000 or more, including the Mexican American Bar Association PAC, which gave $3,000. Superior Court Judges David Brougham, Patricia Nieto $250, and Steven Sanora gave $250 each and Judge Lillian Vega Jacobs $100.
Weissman reported raising over $72,000, about half of which was spent before the reporting deadline. Less than $10,000 came from himself and others in his firm, Novian & Novian, and the rest from about 180 individual donors.
Yun reported funding his entire campaign by loaning it $9,000.
There are three other open seats on tomorrow’s ballot:
•Office No. 11, saw Deputy District Attorney Debra Archuleta raise more than $268,000, including $165,000 in loans from the candidate and her family. Other notable donors included Lancaster Mayor—and attorney—R. Rex Parris and the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, which gave $1,500 each; retired Judge Janice Clare Croft, who gave $600; the Mexican American Bar Association and the National Women’s Political Caucus, $500 each; Judge Philip Soto, who gave $150; and Judge Craig Richman, who gave $100.
A $500 donation from Cooley, who withdrew his endorsement of Archuleta during the course of the campaign, was returned.
Deputy District Attorney Steve Schreiner raised an almost identical sum as Archuleta. He loaned the campaign $100,000 and obtained $125,000 in donations from seven individuals, including family members.
MABA PAC chipped in $2,000, Judge Chris Frisco gave $600, Cooley gave $500, and Judges Julian Recana, Tomson Ong, John Torribio, Lori Ann Fournier, Benny Osorio, Joan Chrostek, Jesus Rodriguez, and Amy Carter gave smaller amounts. There were about 120 donors in all, many of them current or former deputy district attorneys.
•Office No. 42, in which the high spenders are Deputy District Attorney Efrain Aceves and Superior Court Commissioner Cynthia Zuzga.
Aceves raised more than $282,000, including $160,000 in loans. Of the loan, $100,000 came from Fullerton attorney Dennis Saab. The campaign listed about 280 donors, most of them lawyers or law firms.
State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s campaign kicked in $1,000, and Judge Jacobs gave $400. Donations of $250 each were made by Judges Sean Coen and Nieto, and Judge Julian Recana gave $200.
Zuzga and six others, including family members, loaned the campaign $200,000 of the $237,000 it raised. Much of the remainder came from other judicial officers, including Judges Patrick Meyers, who gave $500.and Maren Nelson, who gave $500 left over from her re-election campaign.
Also Judges James Bianco, Matthew Schultz, Mitchell Beckloff, James Brandlin, Stuart Rice gave $250 each; and Jacqueline Lewis and Howard Halm, $200 each. Lauren Birnstein and Jacobs gave smaller amounts, as did Lelan Tipton, Ralph Ongkeko, David Herriford, and Joel Wallenstein, Sandra Thompson, Lori Behar, Alan Honeycutt, Thomas Sokolov, and Lynn Olson.
Fellow commissioners who donated included Rocky Crabb, Matthew St. George, Debra Losnick, Jeffrey Harkavy, Bruce Mitchell—now retired—, Dennis Carroll, Alan Friedenthal, Terry Truong, Louise Helevy, and Barbara McDaniel.
Of the other candidates in that race, Michael Ribons did not file an electronic report, suggesting that he did not meet the threshold of $25,000 in donations or spending to trigger the requirement that such a report be filed, while Alicia Molina reported less than $40,000 in donations.
•Office No. 158, the leaders in fundraising were Deputy District Attorney David Berger with more than $220,00, including $175,000 in family loans, and Deputy Attorney General Kim Nguyen, whose total of more than $250,000 included $110,000 in loans from herself and her family.
Nguyen, who is married to campaign consultant Michael Shimpock, reported a number of donations from elected officials his firm, SG&A, has represented.
The other candidates in that race are attorney Naser Khoury, Deputy District Attorney Fred Mesropi, and Deputy City Attorney Onica Valle Cole. Khoury reported raising nearly $120,000, while Mesropi and Cole reported about $30,000 each.
There are also three incumbent judges facing reelection. Kathryn Solorzano, James Kaddo, and Ray Santana all reported substantially outraising their opponents.
Copyright 2016, Metropolitan News Company