Monday, November 29, 2010 – 11:00 p.m.
Last Updated: November 30, 2010 – 06:45 a.m.
San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos caught again by state regulators.
After getting fined $200 earlier this year by the State of California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) for failing to properly disclose $10,000 he paid to his wife from campaign funds, Ramos is about to get smacked again.
This time the proposed fine is $2,500 against both Ramos and his campaign committee treasurer. A significantly stiffer penalty, and one highly irregular for a sitting District Attorney.
But Ramos’ own ethical lapses know no bounds.
It seems San Bernardino County’s illustrious “Do as I say, not as I do” DA intentionally failed to itemize a 2009 campaign-funded credit card charging frenzy on his finance disclosure reports.
Statements prepared, audited and approved by Ramos’ treasurer, San Bernardino-based certified public accountant Marvin Reiter.
Based upon a complaint filed last spring by Sharon Gilbert of iePolitics.com, the FPPC investigated Ramos and Reiter for glaring irregularities involving some $13,000 in credit card charges for the period July 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009.
The report clearly indicated that all of Ramos’ charges were under $100 each and therefore itemization was not required.
However, the FPPC disagreed and found some $8,619 in charges were improperly reported and intentionally not itemized as required by law.
Of the un-itemized charges in question, a whopping $6,239.26 was paid for hotel accommodations and room service to three hotel chains, and an additional $149.08 was paid for booze tabs at the Tartan Restaurant in Redlands, California.
Sources say the Redlands locale is a well-known Ramos watering hole.
The disclosure statement in question was signed by both Ramos and Reiter under penalty of perjury. But of course this new episode was just an innocent oversight.
Maybe those credit card bills were mistakenly generated in Cantonese.
However, it doesn’t appear likely that Ramos’ will prosecute himself, nor will outgoing Attorney General Jerry Brown, who at this point would find no political benefit from doing so.
Ramos, who’s probably hiding under a rock or maybe in a hotel room, sent Orange County-based political hack David Ellis out to handle this mess.
Ellis’ whole effort was to point out the FPPC has not found Ramos’ expenditures to be inappropriate.
Hmm! What a profound statement coming from a source such as Ellis. Sounds more like damage control in the works.
Well maybe someone should ask the FPPC commissioners to take a look before they meet next week.
Even better, maybe Ramos should make his credit card statements and receipts available to not only the public, but his donors who forked over the money for his escapades.
It would be interesting to see who else participated in those hotel stays and what those other 40-plus individual credit card charges of $100 or less entailed.
Last year, county supervisors declined to re-appoint Reiter to the Board of Trustees of the county’s pension fund. A position Reiter and his ilk have continued to lobby for his return.
Especially Ellis, who’s trying to hang on to a no-bid contract he has with the pension fund.
A scenario that is unlikely in the cards after this new stunt.