Attorney clamps down on city officials

March 10, 2008

By DANIEL BLACKBURN
This county’s two state lawmakers, both millionaires, were modest in their acceptance of gifts and free travel from lobbyists and special interest groups during the past year, according to documents made public today by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).

State law requires annual financial disclosures by lawmakers by way of a “statement of economic interests.” Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) and Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) both submitted their statements on time during February. All private sources of income are separate from their respective yearly legislative salaries ($116,208, plus about $25,000 in per diem payments).

Most of Maldonado’s 15-page disclosure statement was devoted to listing his business interests in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

He is controller-auditor and a partner in Agro-Jal Farming Enterprises Inc., and a partner in Tri-M Rental Group, both entities worth more than $1 million. (Respondents disclose only that a business has a fair market value of “over $1,000,000.”)

Maldonado’s business interests also own or control real estate, agricultural and vacant land in Santa Maria, La Quintana, Pismo Beach, and Santa Barbara, values listed in the tens of millions of dollars, each of which pays him various forms of income.

Maldonado attended a Wine Institute reception in San Francisco, value $54.21, and got a free bottle of wine, no brand named, $7.08. He had dinner with the folks from John Deere ($52.61, in Washington, D.C.); PG&E, $103.39, in San Francisco; and the California Farm Bureau Federation ($56,95, in Sacramento).

The senator accepted a $1,385.73 trip from the Fundacion Nueva Generaction Argentina, a non-profit public benefit foundation, according to his disclosure. And it cost the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Hashemite Kingdom in Amman, Jordan, $900, to transport and entertain Maldonado in November.

Blakeslee, a financial planner, reported a fair market value for his Blakeslee and Blakeslee firm in San Luis Obispo of “over $1 million.”

He dined with Farmer’s Group Insurance ($57.41, Sacramento); the Police Officers Research Association of California, PORAC, $50.72 for a Sacramento reception; dinner with the Wine Institute in San Francisco, $54.21, and a $7-dollar bottle of wine. He got a nicer bottle from Paso Robles’ Steve Lohr, valued at $35; he shared a $71.14 dinner with the California Association of Winegrape Growers, and his lunch with the people at AT&T cost the communications giant $41.03.

Blakeslee was keynote speaker at September’s annual Society of Exploration Geophysists meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and he received $1,985.91 in travel and honorarium.

 Tags:, Maldonado


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7 Comments

  1. ccn_debate says:

    Member Opinions:
    By: Anonymous on 4/6/08
    It is a well known fact the City Hall had settlement issues prior to the earthquake. The area of the old childrens library was extremely out of level. Many local Architects and Engineers had inspected the building over the last 40 years. I know for a fact when questioned they confirmed the previous settlement. Staff is well aware.
    By: Anonymous on 4/5/08
    Click on XML link above for RSS feed.
    By: Anonymous on 4/5/08
    Since Mr. 'To the Reporters' asked, I created an unofficial feed for this site. Point your rss aggregator at http://feed43.com/uncoveredslo.xml
    By: Anonymous on 3/22/08
    Atrashcadero is indeed funny.

    They think they are too good for a WalMart, and would like perhaps a Nordstrom or William Sonoma instead when in reality they'd be lucky to attract a MegaPornshop.
    By: Anonymous on 3/16/08
    To Funny,

    Atascadero is funny at times. You would have to be around to understand what happens around here. As for cutting edge reporting. Well read on, there is plenty of it.
    By: Anonymous on 3/16/08
    Atacadero is a funny weird lil town that takes itself so very seriously! You all really need a hobby if this is all you can drudge up to keep you on the "cutting edge" of investigative reporting!
    Sounds like Jr High to me.
    Grow up Atascadero! At least a lil.
    By: Anonymous on 3/13/08
    Naner Naner Naner
    I still have my job.
    By: Anonymous on 3/12/08
    Could you please figure out a way to add RSS feeds to your site for your articles?

    Thanks.
    By: Anonymous on 3/12/08
    Thank you Atascadero! You make Los Osos look like a beacon of sanity!

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  2. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 3/12/08
    Who is in charge? The main facts have already been disclosed. McKinney, Lewis, and some of their executive staff have gone on record lying to the City Council and the Public about the active public use of the historic portion of the Printery Building prior to the earthquake, the clean-up at the Youth Center Park site (only a portion of the park site is clean, not all of it), the old administration building continuing to sink after the earthqualke, the long history of special treatment toward a few developers, the outright lies regarding staff meetings with walmart officials in Las Vegas, the convenient disappearance of walmart documents upon public request, the deleting of e-mails and other correspondence. We could go on and on about the waste and inefficiencies at City Hall not to mention the out and out corruption. How about someone stepping up and taking charge of City Hall rather than waiting for the FBI, the District Attorney, or the Grand Jury to do it for us? Is it really that difficult? The City Management Team is an embarrassment. A fresh start with new management is sorely needed.
    By: Anonymous on 3/12/08
    Dewdog may be an "insider," though I'm not suire that's anything to brag about in Atascadero. Karen Velie has been investigating City Hall for more than two years, including conversations with the FBI. I'm sure that her initials interviews and queries with the FBI launched their interest in Atascadero.

    I don't know what kind of awards they give for on-line journalism, but Velie sure deserves one for her Atascadero reporting. It's clear that folks up here are hungry for this kind of reporting.

    Where the #$%&@ is the Tribune!?!?!?
    By: Anonymous on 3/12/08
    Congratulation's, it's 12:57am and the City Council voted 4-1 to go ahead with the EIR for the Annex and Wal Mart. Beraurd held her ground and voted no.
    Whoya for Atascadero
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    Carol,
    I was at City Hall the day that an engineering/foundation specialist discovered the 5" of settlement with the buildings foundation- prior to the earthquake. That information was not made known to the people who were hired to prepare the Langdon report which documented the damage to the Rotunda Building and what caused it during the earthquake. The report states the sinkage was caused by the earthquake-partially a true statement but mostly false.The report is available at City Hall for review, unless they have misplaced it.The estimated cost to repair the Rotunda Building was approximately 26 million dollars. That same report states the expected cost would probably be 36 million dollars when the City started the repair. After that there was the Katrina earthquake. We all know how that contributed to cost increases. Just look at what happened to the estimated costs of the 41 interchange, the Lewis Ave. bridge and the 9.4 million cost of the "Youth Center." I think with that in mind one could easily say the potential cost to repair the Rotunda Building could be 45 +/- million dollars. Although that estimate does not include landscapping, plans, engineering, parking and other items. With that in mind one could conservatively say the cost to repair the Rotunda Buildin to be in excess of $50 million dollars. The negotiated price with FEMA is around 17 million dollars. Is Atascadero prepared to spend approximately 35 additional million to repair the Rotunda Building? All of these facts are available at the Citry Hall.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    Hi,
    This site is fascinating. I had no idea that you existed. I heard about it tonight at City Hall. You should advertise or something so that every day people learn about you. Off to read more..
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    I know that the Rotunda Building (Real City Hall) was damaged by the 2003 quake and legitimately qualify's for FEMA funds. We all occupied the city hall right up until and including the day of the quake. It should be restored and there is no fraud there. Unfortunately the Printery has caused a problem with a real legitamite(Rotunda Building) FEMA claim. I hate to think about what problems some city officials have caused all of us.

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  3. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    Actually it has been well known amongst "insiders" that the FBI was showing interest in the doings of Atascadero as far back as 6 months ago. I think the FBI first caught on to Atascadero when there were several complaints made to FEMA, Congressmen etc. regarding the fraudulent acquistion of FEMA funds for the Printery-it was never referred to as a Youth Center.A thorough search of City records would lead one to believe that fraud was committed. I think the frosting on the cake came when the City again submitted a false report to FEMA with an application for FEMA funds to repair the City Administration building which was damaged during the San Simeon earthquake. It was known that the building had settled at least 5" prior to the earthquake. The City failed to report this and FEMA found out about it. Another fraudulent application to FEMA. This is why the application is currently under appeal.I guess after the first receipt of funds from FEMA it was too tempting to the City so they tried it again and consequently raised the suspicion of the FBI.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    The FBI investigation came down after this site broke the story. There is a lot of info and leads revealed on this site and I have no doubt that the FBI continues to monitor it. They understand very well what happened with the e-mail scam and the conspiracy to gain info, by the city attorney illegaly. "What goes around comes around." Just relax and let those who don't deserve our trust or their salaries reep the wrath.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    Too bad that Brian Pierik doesn't consider talking to this paper when they call him for comment. Maybe he could have explained this? Maybe not? He isn't looking very good very now.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    I want to know what is happening with the FBI investigation too. My understanding of the e-mail conspiracy is that a person who was affiliated with the Kiwanis Club (who has several GOD members) made a public records request for private e-mails. Those e-mails would have had info that Mike(our Mayor) and Joan O'Keefe (our planning commissioner and a peoples champion for honesty) would have shared with each other and with the news reporter from this site.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    I'm tired of all the secrets and no transparency. With all the sources that this site has I should think that someone could tell us whats going on with the FBI investigation. I'm worried that our city is going to have to pay the money back. I'm confused about what the e-mail has to do with the investigation.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    Mike needs to retain the Brown Act Attorney, hire a new City Attorney and get rid of this K Club conspiritor. The fact that Lon Allen is a part of that club and the article he wrote in the Tribune and the fact that the records request came out of the Kiwanis.. Oh come on and put it together with the fact that Brian "scammed" Mike and there it is. Wake Up.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    I like it, I really really like it, yeah I like it and I want it, yeah, I really really want it. I want the NEWS and you don't snooze.
    Hey-It matters
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    The B's are great but my bet is on the 3G's. George, Gutt's & Girl! Get it..
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    Tom O'Malley, Jerry Clay, Lon Allan, Jim Lewis are all members of the Kiwanis.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    I agree with Old Timer. This is an excellent solution to a temporary problem. Atascadero needs the best right now. Put Terry Francke on retainer and contact him when you have a question regarding these types of issues.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    i think the City Council should consider the idea of putting Terry Francke on retainer. he is an expert and can answer Brown Act questions for the CC. That way we won't have to fire Pierik during the FBI investigation which could take 6 months. Seriously consider it.

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  4. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    To Glen Johnson,

    Put a lid on it. terry has been and is a part of both organizations.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    I understand that no diffrentiation was made in the request by Torgerson or the city attorney between e-mails that went to the atascadero.org address and those that went to Mike and Jones private e-mail address. They wanted everything. Shame on Pierik.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    At this time the FBI investigation is by far the greatest consideration . It superceeds any entertainment surounding replacement of the city attorney. He has a stake in getting the Good Old Boys and Bad Ones out of this.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    Regarding the Brown Act, no one should even get excited over it. I pursued a violation of the Brown Act and contacted First Amendment advocates and was informed that the local District Attorney's Office is the one who handles complaints. Give them a call, they don't even want to waste their time talking about a violation. It appears a complaint against anyone regarding a violation of the Brown Act is of little consequence to them.
    I have heard that Mrs. O'Keefe has attemtped this in the past with the same negative results.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    Carol Ann Riley
    I feel that if the emails were generated thru the atascadero.org email address it should be treated the same as any email at City Hall. The private computer is being utilized as an extension of the City's computer system. As far as the law goes it is always open for interpretation. If the table was turned on this one you could be rest assured that the "other side" would be demanding that the information be given out. Obviously a Catch 22 situation depending upon where your coming from.
    As far as the City deleting the emails regarding Wal Mart the "inside" word I got on that is "we all lied about that and had to do what was necessary." That statement and similar ones start at or near the top.
    The City has a notorious reputation for "loosing" things-usually for their benefit. If there is nothing to hide show the emails and get it over.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    To Mr. Winters,

    How can anything come out clean when it's posterior has a head stuck in it? HELLO?
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    Terry Francke does not work for the California First Amendment Coalition. He is the co-founder and lawyer for Californians Aware.

    Please get your facts right. What other facts have you failed to verify that are incorrect on here?

    If you are sloppy why should we believe you?
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    I'm outraged with all this. It sounds like the city attorney Mr. pierik has his "brown acts" confused. He should get his head out of his posterior.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    I think the Mayor needs to consider this all carefully. There is a FBI investigation and that is more important than the city attorney assissing an alledged (but believable)good old boy scam.
    The mayor can deal with them in other ways. Right now he has to hope that the city comes out clean (if thats possible).

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  5. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    I thought their was such poor attendance because no one (elected officials and commissioners) cared. Of course they should all be at the public City Hall event if they want to be there.
    What a bunch of B.S. Hire Terry Francke. Replace Torgerson with Emily and when it comes to Wade don't even think about taking the Jim Lewis route.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    Incompetent or Conspirator, he has to go. The FBI will understand.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    The bottom line is simple. If my attorney lied to me not only would I fire him but I'd sue him for my money back. You are supposed to be able to trust your legal council. The citizens of atascadero pay the city attorney to be honest with our elected officials and those in trusted positions. Our Mayor was just lied to, it doesn't matter why.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    I'll give Pierik the benefit of the doubt and call him incompitent.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    I sure can empathize with Mayor Brennler. He does have his hands full. It might not be a bad idea to replace Pierik right away. Even with the FBI investigation underway, I would seriously consider replacing him. He shouldhave known better and probablly did. If he didn't know better, then he was incompetent.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    I agree with Megan and Robert. Now it does make sense. They could have just asked Mike what Karen was saying but if you remember the Tribune articles, they were attacking Mike. They went so far as to try and blame him for the FBI investigation. They were afraid of Mike because they knew he wouldn't "cover up". They were so paranoid they forgot to consider that Karen had been on top of the FEMA fraud all the way back to when she first contacted the FEMA hotline (which was mentioned in her article as 6 months prior). Mike didn't know anything about it until she told him, so they neded to know what he knew! The city attorney should be dismissed and Wade needs to go on administrative leave.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    About Robert's Comment. I think it makes perfect sense.
    Why else would they ask for all e-mails between Mike and Karen Velie? Including Joan also makes perfect sense. She had disclosed several printery issues in the past. She was a person who was obviously informed.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    Dog3
    I have no personal ax to grind as do some of the people that have been mentioned in this article. The truth to the matter is that as an "insider" I was privy to alot of comments and discussions pertaining to what is being talked about here in this article. Let's just say that the people of Atascadero would and should be thoroughly disgusted with all of the lies, misinformation, fraud and back stabbing tactics that have come out of City Hall and its officials. I don't have an ax to grind but I have always been one to tell the truth and have expected other to do the same. Unfortunately that quality does not exist in a small handful of City Administrators and Officials. Why do you think the FBI is in town.

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  6. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    Oh Brother, What a wild site. What a corrupt city. You people suredo have your hands full. I know this isn't funny but it "kind of" is. You should start the "who will go to jail" game. Then you could move onto the "how long" part and add the "when and where " part. LOL.. I do love this site.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    The asking for all e-mails that mentioned the word Wal-Mart was a guise. Wal-Mart opposition was in full swing befor Mike was even elected. What they really wanted was the e-mails between Mike and Karen Velie (the reporter from this site and previously with New Times). They wre afraid because of the FEMA fraud and wanted to know what Karen knew and what she told Mike and or Joan.Tjey were afraid of O'Keefe because she had been asking question's.

    By the way, it wasn't O'malley alone who drummed up the b.s. records request idea at the K Club. It was Wade and a few GOB's.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    Looks like Bob has a personal axe to grind. The fact is that the city attorney should be admonished and dismissed.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    To Bob,

    Your missing the point here. The city attorney told them that the request was within the guide lines of the law. It clearly wasn't. Also what do you think should be done about the city staff having illegally deleted all the WalMart e-mails and never disclosing them. Maybe Wade and a few staff should be replaced?
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    If this is true and after following this site I would bet that it is true.

    SOME HEADS NEED TO ROLL.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    As a former Planning Commissioner I have to dive into this one. As a member of the Planning Commission, like Mrs. O'Keefe, I utilized an Atascadero City email address. Any email that went thru the City was automatically transferred to my private home computer. It was always my opinion that any City business that was conducted thru my computer would be subject to review, but not my private emails. Mrs. O'Keefe has been at the front of the pack when it comes to utilizing the Freedom of Information Act when obtaining public information. Therefore, I'm really surprised that she doesn't want to turn over emails that reflect her position or opinions as a Planning Commissioner.
    There really seems to be something fishy here. Mrs. O'Keefe was appointed to the Planning Commission by George Luna. If you remember during the original attack on Wal Mart and emails were requested, guess what, George Luna's hard drive crashed. Although some time later he was able to retrieve an email from that hard drive-amazing. Now we have Mrs. O'Keefe following in her mentors footsteps with a crashed hard drive-very convenient.
    You have to ask, what are these people hiding from? You also have to remember that Mrs. O'Keefe is the same Planning Commissioner who would turn citizens in for violations of municipal codes etc. and then without disclosing that she was the one who turned them in would also sit on the Planning Commission and hear there case. Once caught, those actions have been addressed by the City Council. I encourage Mike Brennler to push for his transparency. It's about time that the people who have demanded the truth come out and tell us what they have been up to. I think everyone in town is entitled to open government and no one who has taken a public position should be exempt. If Mrs. O'Keefe refuses to provide her emails that are related to City issues she should immediately step down from the Planning Commission. If Mrs. O'Keefe refuses to do either George Luna should remove her from the Planning Commission.

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  7. ccn_debate says:

    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    This is my first time here. what a great site. i agree with the boggers. The city attorney HAS TO GO.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    The Mayor is taking this way to light. There is a difference between asking him to do something and telling him that he has to. I understand that he ran on transparentcy in government and that he had nothing to hide. That isn't the point. He should be outraged at the aggregious behavior of his staff and do something about it. He should also put McKinney and the accountant(who compiled the FEMA reports) on leave until the FBI investigation is over. Brennler is too soft and they are throwing mudd in his face. Get tuff Mike.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    The only reason they didn't try to pull this on Luna is because he has been around longer than any of them and would have known that they were full of it. Shame on Pierik, Marcia and Wade. Keep your chin up Mike and Joan, now you know. Next time call Terry Franche.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    There is a HUGH difference between city e-mails and private e-mails on a home computer. Especially e-mails from private citizens. Also the City Council had to disclose all contact "with Wal-Mart" not with private citizens about Wal-Mart. What the city attorney did is just plain wrong. It doesn't even make sence. he should be dismissed.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    I remember when the City Council had to disclose all correspondence that they had with Wal-Mart or its representatives. But that had to do with the city and Clay and O'malley denying that there even was a Wal-Mart.The city had deleted all it's e-mails and Luna had told the public that they had been chasing Wal-Mart for a year,so thats when many citizens had the public meeting with Terry Franche. He said the city had to keep e-mails because it was city business and the public had a right to disclosure.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    Marcia Torgenson and Wade McKinney are dictating which City Council Members and which planning Commissioners can attend public meetings. What the hell? This has gone too far. Talk about reaching out to Tinbuck2 with the application of the Brown Act. Pierik has to go. He shouldn't be handeling an FBI investigation by any means. I agree that Pierik sounds less than scrupulous.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    I heard that this was drummed up at the Kiwana's Club by some of O'Malley's friends.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    Looks like the Good Ole Boys were out for Mike and got someone to put in an illegal records request and then the City Attorney backed up the request. The fact is that Mike is honest. I can't imagine what they thought they would find. If I were Mike, I would fire the city attorney and Marcia Torgenson too. She should have known that the request was illegal.
    By: Anonymous on 3/11/08
    I have read this twice and still think I don't understand what I'm reading.I think this say's that the city attorney told Mayor Brennler that he had to turn over all his e-mails from his private home computer that pertained to anyone (any citizen) mentioning WalMart and/or any e-mail between him and Joan O'Keefe(the planning commissioner)and/or any e-mail between him and Karen Velie (a long time journalist and reporter)! Mind you this was from his private home computer. That is rediculous and it doesn't take the expert Terry Franche to tell us. Then the city attorney also said that Joan O'Keefe had to turn over any private e-mails she shared with Mike Brennler! Again this is an outrageous request. What the hell is the Matter with Pierik? Something is very wrong here. If I were mayor Brennler I would call an emergency CC meeting an FIRE THE CITY ATTORNEY"S BUTT for incompetence. Pierik is "at best" incompetent although something more sinister is in the wind.

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