Mayor Jim Desmond has been cleared of wrongdoing after an independent investigation found no “probable cause” to validate claims he violated campaign finance laws concerning his bid for the District 5 seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.The complaint was filed on May 29 by Realtor Ana Rosvall, among others, who claimed Desmond violated the city’s municipal code (2.16.010), which prohibits votes within 12 months of receiving a donation or receiving donations within 12 months of a vote. Rosavall’s complaint alleged Desmond accepted campaign donations from several sources prior to votes on development projects in the city.“Unfortunately, it was a last-minute campaign hit,” Desmond said. “An independent Elections Council was able to determine very quickly that there was no wrongdoing and I’ve been cleared of all allegations. So, we’re going to continue full speed ahead with the campaign.”Desmond, a republican, is running against Oceanside City Councilman Jerry Kern, also a republican, and Democrats Jacqueline Arsivaud and Michelle Gomez. Many consider Desmond the frontrunner for the June 5 primary. On June 2, Desmond continued his campaign by reaching out to voters.“We are phone calling, we’ve got several people walking precincts,” Desmond said. “We’re making sure people are going to get out and vote.”A letter to Desmond from investigators dated June 1 confirmed he did not violate any ordinances. The independent Elections Council verified what Desmond and his campaign believed since the complaint was filed. John Hoy, Desmond’s campaign consultant, said on May 31 the municipal code in question does not apply to elections outside the city. The code, he added, only applies to candidates running for election in a city race, and not any other jurisdiction.Also, Hoy said Desmond’s attorney, who is also his campaign director, did not send a formal letter to the Elections Council or have any contact with investigators.“Our position is it just simple doesn’t apply to him,” he said on May 29. “That’s a City of San Marcos ordinance drafted to regulate elections in San Marcos. He’s running in the county of San Diego for supervisor under the rules of the County of San Diego. This ordinance is just not applicable in this situation.”A letter from the law firm, states the alleged violations in question are not covered in the municipal code, are barred by the statute of limitations or will be by next Tuesday (June 5) and no sufficient facts to “demonstrate probable cause.” In addition, the letter states the amount of campaign contributions apply only to municipal elections, which has been the position of Desmond and Hoy since May 29.The complaint alleged Farouk Kubba of Vista San Marcos LLC donated $800 to Desmond’s campaign on June 6, 2017, and Desmond voted for the controversial San Marcos Highlands project on Nov. 15, 2017. In addition, $650 was donated to Desmond by David Hammer and Eric Armstrong, who worked on the Brookfield project.“I’m pretty disappointed,” Rosvall said of the investigation. “I feel that these laws should be applied to all elections. It seems like no matter what you do, they’re one step ahead of you.”
Tag Archives: Highlands
San Marcos Mayor Hit With Campaign Finance Complaint In Bid For County Supervisor Seat Thursday, May 31, 2018 By Leo Castañeda / inewsource Six days before the June 5 election, the city of San Marcos appointed an outside attorney on Wednesday to investigate a complaint alleging Mayor Jim Desmond violated city campaign finance laws as part of his run for the county Board of Supervisors.
Realtor Ana Rosvall filed the complaint on Tuesday with the city clerk and the California Fair Political Practices Commission. She alleges Desmond received contributions too close to when six donors had development projects voted on by the City Council. San Marcos requires a 12-month gap between campaign contributions and council votes. A spokesman for Desmond, a Republican running for Supervisor Bill Horn’s open seat, said he doesn’t believe San Marcos’ campaign finance rules apply to a county race. “The rules that govern our campaign are the county of San Diego rules,” spokesman John Hoy said. “We’re quite certain that we adhere to both the spirit and the letter of the law as they apply to the county supervisor race.” Also running for Horn’s seat are Oceanside Mayor Jerry Kern, a Republican, and two Democrats, Jacqueline Arsivaud and Michelle Gomez. Rosvall said she’s been involved in campaigns to stop housing developments that required zoning changes in San Marcos and unincorporated San Diego County. She’s a Democrat and said she filed the complaint against Desmond because she and others are concerned he is overly influenced by developers. Rosvall said she is happy the city is investigating her complaint. “It’s so amazing that someone is taking us seriously and listening to us, and that it’s a process that’s working the way it’s supposed to,” she said. Campaign finance rules in San Marcos say City Council members can’t vote on an issue that financially affects someone who gave them a campaign contribution of $100 or more during the previous 12 months. Council members also can’t receive contributions of $100 or more in the 12 months after casting a vote that affects that donor. The mayor is part of the council. San Marcos City Attorney Helen Holmes Peak told inewsource Shawn Hagerty, an attorney with Best Best & Krieger, has been hired to investigate Rosvall’s complaint. Hagerty specializes in municipal and water law and is Santee’s city attorney, according to his law firm’s website. The donors listed in the complaint include San Marcos Highlands developer Farouk Kubba. The council approved his project to build 169 single-family homes in November 2016. Kubba contributed $800 to Desmond’s supervisor campaign seven months later in June 2017. Three others working on the project also contributed a total of $1,350 to Desmond’s campaign. Two other donors who had worked on the Brookfield Residential project to build 220 condominiums in San Marcos contributed a total of $650 to Desmond’s campaign. The City Council approved the project in January.
On Wednesday, October 8 at 6 pm, the City’s Planning Department will be hosting a public workshop for the San Marcos Highlands housing project at the San Marcos Community Center, 3 Civic Center Drive.
The workshop will provide an overview of the proposed project by the applicant. Both the applicant and City staff will be available to take public comments and questions.
The Highlands project calls for 189 new single-family homes on 262 acres at the northern end of Las Posas Road along with an additional 26 acres of open space on an adjacent property to the northwest.
For more information & maps, please visit www.san-marcos.net/highlands or call Associate Planner Norm Pedersen at (760) 744-1050, ext.3236 or email@example.com.