10:00 PM PST on Friday, January 8, 2010

By JEFF HORSEMAN
The Press-Enterprise

A state agency could not validate a conflict-of-interest complaint against two Temecula City Council members, according to two recently released letters.

The identical letters from the California Fair Political Practices Commission were sent to Mayor Jeff Comerchero and Councilman Mike Naggar, who were the focus of a complaint filed by a citizens’ group.

The commission enforces campaign finance and conflict-of-interest regulations. The letters dated Nov. 24 don’t get into specific allegations and commission Executive Director Roman Porter declined to comment on the case Friday..
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The state commission’s letters to Naggar and Comerchero state the commission “determined that there is insufficient evidence to find you violated the (law).”

Naggar and Comerchero could not be reached for comment. Volker Lutz, the Rescue Temecula member who signed the complaint, also was unavailable.

In a 2008 complaint to the commission, Rescue Temecula alleged that Naggar and Comerchero violated state law through their actions related to the city’s 2004 purchase of 35 acres of land. The city wanted the land at Interstate 15 and Highway 79 South for future road improvements.

The group alleged Naggar should not have attended a closed council session in May 2004 regarding the purchase, since Naggar had a business relationship with Dan Stephenson, a Murrieta developer linked to the company that owned the land.

Comerchero is president and CEO of The Rancon Group, a Stephenson-founded collection of development-related companies.

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