Michael J. Sorba, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/30/2010 06:29:48 PM PDT

COLTON – Colton First, a well-known citizen’s group and political action committee, has filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission alleging City Councilman Vincent Yzaguirre failed to report a major in-kind contribution he received during his 2008 re- election campaign.

The complaint says a message encouraging residents to vote for Yzaguirre ran on an electronic reader board sign adjacent to the 10 Freeway for three weeks in October and in the days leading up to the Nov. 4, 2008, election.

The complaint estimates that the advertising would have cost several thousand dollars.

In a telephone interview Monday, Yzaguirre said he wasn’t aware the complaint had been filed. He declined to comment on its specifics until he has a chance to read and discuss it with the commission.

“I will absolutely discuss this frivolous complaint with the (commission) and intend to play by their rules in serving my community and our families, who deserve our focus,” Yzaguirre said.

“The work of our community needs to be put ahead of the dirty politics that get played in this town, and especially during campaign season.”

Yzaguirre said the complaint is an attempt to smear his character so his endorsements will discredit the candidates he supports in the Nov. 2 City Council election. He said Colton First has accepted political donations from Gaylor W. “G.W.” Singletary, who was convicted in 2003 of bribing former Councilman James Grimsby.

Colton First member Steve Cade said the group did accept money from Singletary, but it has nothing to do with the allegations against Yzaguirre.

“He’s trying to make us out to be the bad guy,” Cade said.

The committee received the complaint on Monday but hadn’t had a chance to review it and wasn’t able to comment, said spokeswoman Tara Stock. According to campaign disclosure forms filed with the state, known as 460 forms, the advertising wasn’t listed as an in- kind contribution from the sign’s owner, Dominguez Plaza, LLC, a subsidiary of Vanir Development, Inc., Yzaguirre’s former employer.

The sign that ran the advertisement is near the Dominguez Plaza commercial center at the intersection of Ninth Street and Valley Boulevard.

According to a city report, a 1999 agreement between the city and Dominguez Plaza, LLC allowed the firm to be reimbursed for all of the transient occupancy tax generated by the center’s Hampton Inn & Suites hotel for a three-year period and up to half of the tax until 2019.

The tax money is used by Dominguez Plaza for advertising and to maintain three signs, including the reader board sign, the report says.

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