FPPC to expose Dalidio’s opponents
September 27, 2010
The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) plans to publish the names of the controversial San Luis Obispo LLC members who allegedly committed 16 campaign violations in their fight against Ernie Dalidio’s proposed development on the FPPC website.
FPPC counsel Sukhi Brar said Monday morning that action is being taken against the Responsible Community Development LLC, following a report by state investigators.
On Oct. 14, at a hearing in Sacramento, the FPPC is slated to level $80,000 in fines against the members of the LLC. Because the sanctions are in default, the state is asking for the maximum, $5,000 for each violation.
The current FPPC action is the latest chapter in an almost 20-year battle to prevent Dalidio from erecting a 131-acre mixed-use-development on his land off Highway 101 near Madonna Road in San Luis Obispo.
In 2007, Dalidio’s attorney James McKiernan filed a voter fraud complaint against the top secret LLC which funded the No on Measure J campaign. According to the complaint, $220,944 was donated to fight Dalido’s project under the guise the money was a loan.
Until now, the principals of the LLC have kept their identities hidden from the public.
Nevertheless, California campaign rules require the transparency of donors and contributors.
In 2008, McKiernan attempted to file a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) suit which claimed local developers illegally interfered with Dalidio’s proposed development costing him millions of dollars in lost revenue. Court declarations, focused on the Copeland and Madonna family property developers.
At the time, attorneys for the LLC contended Dalidio’s lawsuit should be dismissed due to anti-SLAPP statutes allowing a judge to dismiss a suit at the onset. SLAPP or “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation” refer to lawsuits often filed by developers and government officials against individuals and community groups for speaking out on civic or government issues.
Now, however, Dalidio is considering reviving the RICO suit which could lead to a substantial settlement if it is determined that competing developers were illegally interfering with Dalidio’s proposed development.
In 2007, in a lawsuit contending illegal interference with business, a jury awarded a Glendale mall developer $74 million from a competitor that fought to block the Glendale Mall from signing a contract with the Cheesecake Factory.