Amid scrutiny, city council members amend financial disclosures

April 5, 2019

By KAREN VELIE

San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, and Grover Beach city officials have amended their financial disclosure reports amid scrutiny over unreported donations from a marijuana business owner and a liaison for PG&E, according to a Cal Coast Times review of financial disclosure forms. [Cal Coast Times]

After Cal Coast Times reported that eight council candidates who benefited from an Oct. 28 fundraiser hosted by marijuana mogul Helios Dayspring had not disclosed the donation, Dayspring’s attorney James Wagstaffe threatened litigation if the article was not removed from the web. According to Wagstaffe, by reporting that the council members had not disclosed the non-monetary donation as required by the Political Reform Act, Cal Coast Times was insinuating that Dayspring bribed public officials for special consideration.

However, the candidates were required to report the donation, not Dayspring, according to the Political Reform Act.

The eight politicians include: SLO Mayor Heidi Harmon, Morro Bay Mayor John Headding, Grover Beach Mayor Jeff Lee, SLO Councilwoman Caryln Christianson, SLO Councilwoman Erica Stewart, Morro Bay Councilwoman Dawn Addis, and Grover Beach council members Barbara Nicolls and Mariam Shah.

After Cal Coast Times reported on the fundraiser, Harmon, Heading, Chrisianson, Addis, Stewart, and Nicolls filed amended financial disclosure forms which report  Dayspring’s non-monetary donations.

Stewart said she had not realized she had to report the cost of the fundraiser on her financial disclosure Form 460.

“I had been under the impression that the host’s in-kind donations of food and drink were under the hospitality category and when divided by the eight candidates was much less than $500 per candidate, so there was no need to report that on my 460,” Stewart said.

During the weekend of the fundraiser, Harmon, Heading, Christianson, Stewart, Nichols, Lee, and Addis accepted multiple donations from people affiliated with the marijuana industry. Those donors, however, were generally listed as retired or affiliated with a non-marijuana related occupation. In several instances, descriptions of the donor’s occupation varied from candidate to candidate.

On Sept. 30, 2018, Dawn Legg, a liaison for PG&E and Supervisor Adam Hill’s planning commissioner, spent $1,500 on a fundraiser she hosted for Harmon, Christianson, and Stewart. However, none of the candidates claimed the contribution on their financial disclosure forms.

After Cal Coast Times questioned the failures to report Dayspring’s donation, all three candidates also claimed the Legg donation on amended financial disclosure forms they filed in March.

Both Christianson and Stewart reported a $500 donation from Legg, and that they had returned $200 to Legg because the donation was above the city’s $300 donation limit. In contrast, Harmon reported Legg and her cohabitant Daniel Blandford had split the cost of the fundraiser. As such, Harmon did not refund any of the costs.

California passed the Political Reform Act in 1974 to try to curb corruption by eliminating secret or anonymous contributions. Proponents of the act reasoned that if the public knew who donors were affiliated with they would be more informed voters.

Candidates are required to disclose campaign receipts and expenditures on Form 460 including the date a donation was received, the donor’s identity, their occupations, and their address. Form 460 also is used to amend prior reports.


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Nancy

These candidates are all aligned with the SLO Progressives, started by Nick Andre and Heidi Harmon with the support of Adam Hill. Nick Andre also heads the Democratic Central Committee. He takes donations from that, gives it to the SLO progressives, then funnels it to his political consulting group that promoted Dayspring. His gift, part ownership of Dayspring’s pot shop.


This is a group of people who fail to follow the Political Reform Act, have no transparency, and who promote city attorneys who fail to follow the Public Records Act, all while getting fat on graft. They claim to support women and minorities while they stomp on anyone who questions their bad behavior.


These laws were passed to protect the public. We need to demand our elected officials follow the law and promote transparency.


mary margaret

They’re cooking the books!


SLOBIRD

You just have to love the reasoning and manipulation of the logic and process used by the Progressive justice and equal for all, Mayor Flower Harmon. She certainly didn’t want to give up any money given to me so I will split it between Ms Legg (from PGE) and her “cohabitant”, $250 each and I get keep it all.


Did SLO taxpayer’s ever get reimbursed for these Mayors and Councilmembers relying on the FREE INCORRECT LEGAL OPINION PROVIDED BY THE INCOMPETENT SLO City Attorney, Christine Dietrick? If not, would this also be classified as a donation for free legal service to a candidate? We all have a right to know what our corrupt politicians are doing even through they keep getting elected by their Party of do or die!


rukidding

Some very strong truthful comments. You can rest assure for one thing to happen for sure and that will be NOTHING. I’ts SLO and has been going on forever, and Nothing has ever been done. These crooks here are new to the game and will only get better at it. Game on!


Snoid

Seriously? Wagstaffe is Daysprings attorney.The same attorney who represented the scumbag Charles Tenborg in the IWMA scandal.


JordanJ

James Wagstaffe is also the attorney for online troll and harasser of women Aaron Ochs. James Wagstaffe has zero integrity.


Nightrider

Karen,

How is PG&E tied into this story?

Everyone who works for the Company has to be Drug tested,

Anybody who gets a Taxpayer check should have to be tested too,

Adam Hill is a cockroach,

Many people around him are the same,

Follow the Money people,

Most of us don’t want Drug’s in OUR Community,

Starting to look like SLO COUNTY POLITICS IS A MONEY WHORE.


obispan

PG&E drug testing is pre-employment only. And why do you malign cockroaches by comparing them to Adam Hill? Cockroaches do not extort money from developers to gain approval of their projects. Cockroaches do not take their dogs to defecate on school recreational fields and arrogantly refuse to clean up as others do because of their political privilege and explicitly say so to their neighbors. Cockroaches do not threaten to withhold funding from the Food Bank for doing business with their political opponents. Cockroaches are gregarious insects that work together for their mutual benefit. You owe an apology to cockroaches.


Kalifornia_Bud

You have to believe that this happens all the time. It’s just this time they got caught. Being a Public Servant shouldn’t mean you automatically get rich, but that’s what seems to happen.


hotdog

So the crooks belatedly comply after being caught.

“Off with their heads”!


Mjd

Folks,


These politicians are clearly corrupt, and this incident chronicles the lack of moral compass that these so-called ‘progressive’ politicians embrace. Ironically, the ‘progressives’ always like to claim they are embracing the future and doing it ‘for the children’ but how does that square with funding their campaign for public office with admitted drug money?


CROOKS:


Heidi Harmon

Miriam Shah

Barbara Nichols

Erika Stewart

Carlyn Christianson

John Headding

Dawn Addis

Jeff Lee


Lock them up!