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Campaign Irregularities Mar Commerce City Council Election

Commerce based Citadel Outlets owner Steve Craig donated $40,000 to committee opposing current Councilwoman Denise Robles and leading candidate Hugo Argumedo.

By Brian Hews, Feb, 12, 2013, 1:20 pm

Hews Media Group-Community News has learned of major campaign irregularities related to two Independent Expenditure Committees favoring two candidates which are attempting to exercise undue influence on the Commerce City Council elections taking place March 3, 2015.

Candidates running for council seats include current City Councilwoman Denise Robles, Sonya Rodriguez, John Soria, Hugo Argumedo, Oralia Rebollo, and John Diaz.

But that is where the similarities of the candidates stop.

Diaz and Rebollo have been the recipients of huge financial support from two Independent Expenditure Committees, the California League of Voters based out of Whittier, and the Committee for Better Commerce based out of Long Beach.

Rodriguez has also benefitted from Steve Craig as all her campaign materials have Craig’s endorsement.




Committee for a Better Commerce

Through Feb. 9, 2013, the Committee for Better Commerce has collected $12,000 total, $6,000 each for Diaz and Rebollo.

The committee has spent over $1,500 in support of each candidate using campaign mail pieces.

Two people, Brian and Tabitha Dror of Los Angeles, donated the $12,000. Records show that Brian Dror is a Certified Public Accountant based out of Los Angeles and Tabitha Dror is a homemaker.

The 12 $1,000 donations were marked as “individual” on the campaign statements, which is a violation of Commerce’s Municipal Code.

The Commerce Municipal Code states, “no candidate for elective office and no controlled committee of that candidate may accept any campaign contribution that will cause the total amount contributed by any one person to the candidate in support of or opposition to a campaign….to exceed one thousand dollars per calendar year. For purposes of this chapter, contributions from husband and wife are considered separate and distinct contributions and may not exceed one thousand dollars each.”

According to the campaign documents, the Dror’s made 12 $1,000 donations on Feb 5, 2015; six $1,000 donations to Diaz, and six $1,000 donations to Robollo.

The donation would place the committee and the Dror’s in violation of campaign finance laws.

Documents are seen below, click on image to view file.


Six $1,000 donations from Brian and Tabitha Dror to Committee for a Better Commerce supporting Diaz and Reballo



An additional six $1,000 donations from Brian and Tabitha Dror to Committee for a Better Commerce supporting Diaz and Reballo.

California League of Voters

The California League of Voters’ documentation shows that the committee “opposes” both Hugo Argumedo and current Commerce Councilwoman Denise Robles.

No other candidates were listed as opposed by the committee.

To date the committee has spent over $2,500 to oppose Denise Robles and over $5,900 to defeat leading candidate and former Commerce Councilman Hugo Argumedo.

The only donor to the California League of Voters is Steve Craig, owner of the Citadel Outlets in Commerce.

Craig has donated an eye-opening $40,000 to the committee. The donation was given under his company name, Craig Realty.

Craig has also been a heavy financial supporter of current Commerce Mayor Tina Baca Del Rio, Mayor pro tem Lilia Leon and Councilman Ivan Altamirano who have dominated council meetings with their majority vote.

All three have endorsed both Diaz and Robello.

Documents below click on image to view file.


Documents showing donated by Steve Craig, owner of Citadel Outlets.





Documents showing over $4,100 spent in opposition of candidate Hugo Argumedo.


HMG-CN published an article last week that showed Diaz and Rebollo, employed treasurer Yolanda Miranda, who has ties to ex-State Senator Ron Calderon and his family.

See story click here.

Miranda was State Sen. Ron Calderon’s treasurer who was indicted in a sweeping corruption case, accused of taking about $100,000 in bribes. A legal defense fund was set up immediately after the indictment and Yolanda Miranda was appointed treasurer of the fund.

Miranda was also the treasurer for Central Basin Municipal Water District (CB) Director Robert “Bob” Apodaca, who recently was sued for sexual harassment. Apodaca settled the case for $670,000 using CB funds and has been implicated in two additional sexual harassment lawsuits.

Her company, Yolanda Miranda and Associates, also had a long association with former Bell Mayor George Cole convicted in the now-infamous Bell scandal.

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  • FLFF says:

    As the uber liberal democrat owned scandals continue unabated in local politics in and around the lack of honesty plagued and polluted political LA arena! I would NOT trust ONE soul in any local government in or around the LA city area. Now if anyone wants to see dizzying displays of incompetence at it’s finest need look no farther than my own city of Hawaiian Gardens and their inept city council. I stopped paying any attention to them a LONG time ago because they bloviate and say nothing of value for constituents. Yes I still vote but wonder why, the elections are rigged in advance for democrats, conservative voices are NEVER heard of even listened to. We virtually have an oligarchy of libturd democreeps here.

  • concerned residents says:

    Isn’t Steve Craig also the same person who raised over $ 26,000 to pay FPPC fines for mayor Tina Baca Del Rio and her treasurer after not filling contributions on their 460 forms, isn’t Steve Craig the same person who provided campaign headquarters for mayor Tina Baca Del Rio, mayor Pro -tem Lelia Leon and Ivan Altamira for their election and in return they voted to give Steve Craig exclusive rights to valuable land on Telegraph. Now he is openly endorsing mayor Pro tem’s candidate Sonia Rodriguez we could only wonder what else was promised to him now.