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Oxnard officials face ethics fines for accepting improper gifts

August 7, 2012 |  8:00 am

The mayor of Oxnard and its suspended city manager face a combined $23,000 in fines from the state ethics agency for failing to report gifts and participating in decisions involving a company that provided them with gifts that exceeded the legal limit.

Edmund Sotelo, who is on administrative leave as city manager, failed to report some gifts including $716 in drinks, dinner and golf games from J.F. Shea Co., & Affiliated Companies, according to a report by the state Fair Political Practices Commission enforcement staff.

He also accepted a gift from the firm that exceeded the legal gift limit and then acted improperly on a revised development schedule for the firm’s RiverPark Project, according to the report. The staff has recommended that Sotelo be fined $12,500 for the multiple violations.

The commission staff has recommended $10,500 in fines against Oxnard Mayor Thomas Holden for similar violations. Holden and Sotelo have signed agreements with the state commission admitting to the violations and accepting the fines.

Holden allegedly failed to report gifts, including drinks, dinner and golf; received gifts that exceeded the legal limit; and improperly acted to give himself authority to approve an agreement with J.F. Shea Co., & Affiliated Companies, which was the source of a gift that exceeded the limit.

Another gift that exceeded the limit was from a different developer that provided the mayor and his wife with a trip to Napa valued at $4,620.

A third Oxnard official, Community Development Director Curtis Cannon, agreed to pay $4,000 in fines for gift violations.

The Ventura County district attorney’s office investigated various allegations against Oxnard city officials and concluded in April that no criminal charges were warranted.

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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