Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, June 4, 2018


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Troy Davis Is Highest-Financed Candidate in Los Angeles County Judicial Races





Deputy District Attorney

The high spender in Los Angeles Superior Court races so far this year, according to the latest campaign financial reports, is the committee to elect Deputy District Attorney Troy Davis, which has paid out $291,374.21 to promote Davis’s candidacy in the race for Office No. 118 on tomorrow’s ballot.

The committee for Davis’s sole rival, criminal defense lawyer David D. Diamond, tells of garnering $117,546 and spending $107,590.92.

Davis’s campaign is being financed primarily through loans from family members. Of the $591,365.88 that was raised, $495,000 is a loan from W. Howard Davis, the candidate’s grandfather, $50,000 is from his wife, Leslie A. Davis, and $10,000 is from his father, Christopher Davis.

Judges Contribute

Contributors to the Davis campaign include Superior Court Judges Efrain M. Aceves, $500; Philip Soto, $250; Arthur M. Lew, $125; Robert J. Schuit, $250; Andrew Cooper, $100, and Alison Estrada, $100. Also giving money were Steve Cooley & Associates, Inc., $500, the consulting firm of the immediate past district attorney; former Assistant District Attorney Curtis A. Hazell, $250; and Deputy District Attorney Mario Trujillo, a former president of the Mexican American Bar Association, $750.

Putting money in coffers of the Diamond campaign were the Law Office of David D. Diamond, $10,000; Diamond, $500; one Richard Diamond, $35,000; and retirees Lanie Bernard, $17,500, and attorney Richard E. Barnard, $5,000. Contributors included Superior Court Judges Robert P. Applegate, $500; and James Bianco, $100.

Criminal defense attorney Robert A. Schwartz gave Diamond’s campaign $250—but cancelled it out by donating twice that sum to Davis.

Campaign Rules

Each candidate who expected to raise or spend $2,000 or more, or wound up doing so, was required form a committee. The committee was obliged to file a “recipient committee campaign statement” (Form 460) by May 24, covering contributions made during the period from April 22 to May 19.

For each person or entity putting money into a campaign within that period, the cumulative amount the donor gave this year was to be reflected.

Receipt of any subsequent payment of $1,000 or more, or payment of a sum bringing a contributor’s total gift to that level, must be reported within 24 hours in a “late contribution report” (form 497). (Such reports reflect an additional $3,000 to Davis and an extra $1,000 to Diamond.)

Candidates not intending to accept or spent $2,000 file a “short form” (Form 450).

Specific contributions mentioned here are both from the current reporting period and from the earlier one, which started Jan. 1.

There are 11 judicial contests on the ballot. The campaign finances of the sole challenged judge, Malcolm Mackey, were reported Friday.

Here are the figures for the other nine contests on tomorrow’s ballot.

Office No. 4

Deputy District Attorney Alfred A. Coletta’s committee reported contributions of $219,100 (enhanced by $2,500 in late contributions) and expenditures of $80,318.28. Most of the money came from Coletta and his wife: $94,000 each.

A $20,000 check was issued by Tim Laughlin, chief financial officer of American Communities LLC, a real estate company.

Coletta was president of the Italian American Lawyers Association in 2006. His committee received money from the current president, Alice Salvo—$300—and from several past presidents and past and current board members. Former Assembly member Mike Gatto is a past IALA trustee; the committee formed to support his 2022 bid for lieutenant governor added $250 to Coletta’s coffers.

Superior Court Judge Efrain M. Aceves chipped in $100, as did two retired judges of that court, Bruce Sotille, a former IALA president, and Philip Argento, a member of the IALA since its founding in 1977. Another local retired judge, Daniel Pratt, a frequent attendee in past years at IALA dinners, gave $200.

Superior Court Commissioner A. Verónica Sauceda’s committee took in $16,630.16 and paid out $3,742.73. Superior Court Commissioner Armando Durón, himself a candidate for an open seat, gave $150 to his colleague’s fund.

Deputy city attorney Matthew Schonbrun has formed no committee, limiting his spending to $2,000.


Office No. 16

The campaign committee for Redondo Beach Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sydne Jane Michel has taken in $320,039 and paid out $213,324.64. Michel entrusted her campaign with a $100,000 loan and her husband, attorney Chuck Michel, lent it $200,000.

Her contributors include former District Attorney Steve Cooley’s professional consulting firm, $500, and Superior Court Judge J.D. Lord, $100.

Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Patricia (Patti) Hunter’s committee lists contributions of $54,600, including $20,000 from Hunter, and tells of expenditures of $29,298.84.

Benefactors include Superior Court Judges Susan L. Giss, $500, and Michael Amerian, $100, both former members of the City Attorney’s Office.

Dana Cole, who gave $300, is identified on the campaign financial report as “LASC Judge.” He’s a Century City attorney; his wife, Lisa Hart Cole, is a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.

Deputy District Attorney Hubert Yun’s committee has received $6,950 and spent $5,830.22. Yun loaned his committee $5,000.


Office No. 20

Deputy District Attorney Wendy Segall’s committee has spent $227,533.73 of its $283.555—plus $4,500 in late contributions—most of the resources taking the form of a $250,000 gift from Matthew Segall, the candidate’s father.

Financial support has come also from Superior Court Judges Susan Townsend, $300; Kathryn Solorzano, $200; Stacy Wiese, $150; and Alison M. Estrada, $100. Former members of that court Michael A. Latin, now a mediator, and Richard Stone, who is retired, each gave $2,500.

Funds have come from former Assistant District Attorneys Curtis A. Hazel, $250, and Patrick Dixon, $100, as well as from civil practitioner and former prosecutor Alan Jackson, who lost the 2012 contest for district attorney in a run-off, $250.

The committee has a $5,000 loan from Segall.

Deputy District Attorney Mary Ann Escalante’ committee drew $144,886 in contributions, including loans amounting to $85,001 from the candidate and a $1,000 present from her husband, Dr. Kent Nasser. Expenditures total $136.641.10.

A check was sent in by Court of Appeal Justice Victoria Chavez of this district’s Div. Two.

Superior Court judges giving money are Ana M. Luna, $750; Patrick E. Connolly, $500; Christopher J. Frisco, $500; Robert J. Higa, $400; Margaret Bernal, $250; Roger Ito, $250; John Torribo, $250; Debra Cole-Hall, $200; Lori Ann Fournier, $200; Raul A. Sahagun, $200; Joan M. Chrostek, $100; Kristin Escalante, $100; Laura Laesecke (Kurinij), $100; Joseph R. Porras, $100; Olivia Rosales, $100, and Philip Soto, $100.

Also, a retired judge of the court, Peter Espinoza, plunked $100 into the pot, and a judge of the Orange Superior Court, Lance P. Jensen, did the same.


Office No. 60

The committee for Deputy District Attorney Tony Cho has received $500,000 in loans—$200,000 from New York attorney Michael Kim of Kirkland & Ellis, Cho’s brother-in-law, the same amount from Jennifer Kim, his sister, $50,000 from Cho, and $50,000 from L & J Management-Liberty Village in Buena Park, Cho’s parents’ company.

The total going into its bank account, as of its Form 460 report, was $159.650.50. It’s since received a late contribution of $1,000.

Expenditures are reported at $159,650.50.

Donors include Superior Court Judges Ann Park, $500; Alison Estrada, $250; Mark Kim, $250; Susan Jung Townsend, $250; Andrew Cooper, $100; Julian Recana, $100; and Allen Webster, $100.

Deputy Public Defender Holly Hancock’s committee has spent $22,006.93. Contributions to it of $18,988 were primarily comprised of the $16,500 loaned by the candidate, according to its Form 460 report. A late contribution report shows she added $2,500 to the fund.

Deputy District Attorney Ben Colella lent his committee $4,800. It has one other contribution: $1,000 from a local union.


Office No. 67

The committee for Onica Valle Cole, an unemployed lawyer, is the high-spender in the race for Office No. 67. Relying heavily on slate mailers, it has shelled out $203,928.28.

Total contributions are $154,164.05, according to its Form 460. Late contributions need be reported only if they are in the amount of $1,000 or more; Cole’s committee nonetheless made such reports of her late donations of $141.26 and $11.52.

Nearly all of the money that has come in was in the form of loans from Cole, amounting to $91,616.26. Her committee was also lent $150 by her husband and $3,200 by Political Reporting Plus, a political campaign accounting service

Of the $2,493.30 received in donations, three come from within the legal community: Court reporting consultant Mary Ann Lutz, $200; Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Amy Brooks, $200; and Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Heather Jones, $100.

State Bar Court Judge Maria Lucy Armendariz’s committee acquired $85,869—which a late contribution report shows to have been boosted by a $1,000 gift from a 2014 Long Beach City Council race committee.

The committee’s war chest includes a $20,000 loan to it from the candidate (with her occupation listed, in connection with the payment, as “Judge LA Superior Court”).

The committee has spent $116,981.75.

Contributors include Commerce Hotel Casino, $10,000. While much of the funding comes from outside the local legal community, those within that community giving money are Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Efrain M. Aceves, $500; former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, $250; former State Bar President Luis Rodriguez, $250; Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Griego, $101; and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mildred Escobedo, $100.

Deputy District Attorney Dennis P. Vincent said early in the campaign that he expected to spend “at least $250,000,” but did not know how the money would be divided between the primary and the generally election. He is apparently counting on being in a run-off; he has not collected or spent $2,000.


Office No. 71

Deputy District Attorney David Berger’s committee amassed $84.36l.04, according to its Form 406 report, and paid out $97.682.40.

Steve Cooley and Associates gave him $1,250, and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Susan Townsend provided $200.

Criminal defense attorneys contributed to the prosecutor. They include Robert Schwartz, $1,250 ($500 of that as a late contribution), Michael Nasatir, $1,000 (as a late contribution) and Harland W. Braun, $500.

There was also a $1,000 late contribution from an investor.

Gregory W. Smith, a lawyer who represents police officers and was an unsuccessful candidate in 2013 for Los Angeles city attorney, furnished a check for $8,000.

Berger lent the campaign $5,000.

The committee for the election of Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Danielle R.A. Gibbons gathered $32,145 in funds and spent $28,683.15.

Judges giving financial support to the commissioner are Philip K. Mautino, $500; Patrick T. Meyers, $500; Carol J. Najera, $500; Yvonne T. Sanchez, $250; James Bianco, $200; Joseph R. Porras, $200; Margaret M. Bernal, $100; Debra Cole-Hall; Lee Tsao, $100.

The candidate provided a $5,000 loan to her committee.


Office No. 113

The biggest chunk of the $130,534.30 collected by attorney Michael Ribons’s committee came in the form of a $100,000 loan from the Law Offices of Michael P. Ribons. The committee spent $130.534.30.

Three attorneys and no judges gave money.

Into the campaign fund of Deputy District Attorney Javier Perez’s committee has come $23,774 (plus a late contribution of $1,500); and out has gone $15,613.05.

Steve Cooley & Associates Inc. put in $500, and former Assistant District Attorney Curtis A. Hazel added $250.

Judges making donations are Roy Delgado, $250; Robert J. Schuit, $250; Philip L. Soto (identified on the campaign statement as “attorney”), $250; and retired Superior Court Judge Arthur M. Lew, $125.

Deputy District Attorney Steve Schreiner has said that he depleted his resources in his unsuccessful 2014 and 2016 runs. He has formed no committee, thus limiting spending to $2,000.

Last year, his 2016 committee, in terminating operations, reported that Schreiner had forgiven a debt to him of $105,000.


Office No. 126

Senior Deputy County Counsel Rene Caldwell Gilbertson is largely financing her own campaign. Her campaign disclosure statement shows that her committee has drawn $116.434.99 in contributions—but of that, $104,000 is in the form of a loan from her. Expenditures are reported at $172.080.37.

Since that report was filed, a late contribution report shows Gilbertson has loaned her committee another $15,000. Another such report tells of a $1,500 gift from a union.

Several contributions were sent from North Carolina, where she grew up and has family.

Superior Court Commissioner Debra L. Losnick (appointed Friday as a judge) supplied the committee with $150.

Deputy District Attorney Ken Fuller’s committee received a $150,000 loan from his mother, Sarah E. Fuller, bringing contributions to $167,514 (plus a $3,000 late contribution from a business owner).

Expenditures of $99,350.42 are reported.

Many of the contributions to Fuller’s committee were also from persons outside the legal community, as were Gilbertson’s.

Fuller’s apparent approach—in light of the prospect of a runoff, based on there being a third candidate in the race—was to hold back funds, in case they would be needed later. He has $63,163.58 in reserve, while Gilbertson, who may have been seeking an outright win tomorrow, spent heavily on slate mailers and has an ending cash balance of $1,354.62.

The third candidate is Shlomo Frieman, a retired patent attorney, who has not raised nor spent $2,000 or more.


Office No. 146

Superior Court Commissioner Armando Durón’s committee brought in $154,601.20 (plus $1,127.22 in a late donation) and spent $71,016.53.

The lion’s share of the money was supplied by a retiree, Lawrence Valdivieso, who was a litigation attorney in Pasadena. He lent the committee $100,000, and forgave $2,500 of the debt.

Superior Court judges adding to the campaign fund are Efrain M Aceves, $500; Rudolph A. Diaz, $500; Timothy P. Dillon, $500; Paul Bacigalupo, $250; Colin Leis, $250; Patricia Nieto, $250; Yolanda Orozco, $250; Yvette Palazuelos, $250; Raul A. Sahagun, $250; Yvonne T. Sanchez, $250; Ray Santana, $250; Michael Stern, $250; Michael Villalobos, $250; Mary Lou Villar, $250; Mildred Escobedo, $200; Georgina T. Rizk, $200; David Sotelo, $200; Hank Goldberg, $150; Kevin Brazile (assistant presiding judge), $125; Scott Gordon, $100; Thomas J. Griego, $100; Daniel Juarez, $100; Enrique Monguia, $100; and retired Judges Teresa Sanchez-Gordon, $500, Jaime R. Corral, $100.

Court commissioners assisting their colleague are James E. Blancarte, $250; Pete Navarro, $250; Steven P. Sanora, $250; Benjamin Campos, $200; Timothy R. Martella, $200; Louise Halevy, $150; Cynthia Zuzga, $125; Alicia Y. Blanco, $100; and Verónica Sauceda, $100.

Deputy District Attorney Emily Theresa Spear’s committee has failed to file the report that was due May 24. It did, however, file a report for the period from the start of the year through April 21 showing receipt of $8,674, payments of $10,497.17, and a debt of $4,866.16.

It recites payments to the campaign by Judges Carol Najera, $1,000, and Philip K. Mautino, $500.

Spear orchestrated the successful 2014 campaign by then-Deputy District Attorney (now Judge) Carol Najera against then-Judge James B. Pierce.

Late contribution reports show an additional $5,000 being supplied by Najera, as well as a $1,000 present from a Robert Spear of Illinois.


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