California administrator fined for conflict-of-interest violations
A California real estate administrator has agreed to pay a $3,500 fine for violating conflict-of-interest rules when he gave the go-ahead on contracts involving a construction firm with which his wife’s company did business.
Theodore Park was the acting deputy director of the Real Estate Services Division for the California Department of General Services when he signed off on five certificates needed for contracts provided to Vanir Construction.
His wife, Luisa Park, was a partner with the school advisory firm of Hancock, Gonos & Park, which was hired by Vanir. The enforcement staff of the state Fair Political Practices Commission determined Vanir was a significant source of income for the Parks through the wife’s firm, which created a conflict of interest under the state Political Reform Act.
"Making a governmental decision in which an official has a financial interest is one of the more serious violations of the Act because it may create the appearance that the governmental decision was a product of a conflict of interest," said a commission report on the case. "In this case, [Theodore Park] had just filed a Statement of Economic Interests disclosing Vanir as a significant source of income, and he should have known that he had a conflict of interest."
The enforcement staff is recommending that the full commission approve the agreement on the fine at its July 12 meeting.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento