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Commerce Councilman Ivan Altamirano Racked Up 22 Political Reform Act Violations, Could Pay $110,000 In Campaign Fines


Ivan Altimara bad

Commerce Councilman Ivan Alatmirano could be facing up to $110,000 in fines for violating campaign finance reporting laws.

By Brian Hews

A Hews-Media Group-Community News investigation has found that current Commerce Councilman Ivan Altamirano, similar to HMG-CN exclusively reporting two weeks ago about Commerce Mayor pro tem Tina Baca Del Rio’s 25 violations and possible $125,000 in fines, is in violation of 22 laws related to the Political Reform Act (PRA) and is facing up to $110,000 in fines from the Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).

HMG-CN has also learned that Altamirano, Baca Del Rio, and current Commerce Mayor Lilia Leon  campaigned together as “Team LIT”and were paying for each other’s campaign expenses.

The violations cover the time period from January 2012 to December 2013 in documents obtained by HMG-CN via the Freedom of Information Act.

Baca Del Rio Violations

Commerce Mayor pro tem Tina Baca Del Rio was fined $26,000 for campaign finance irregularities in 2011, charged with seven counts of violating campaign finance laws that occurred between 2007 and 2009.

In their 2011 decision, the FPPC slammed Baca Del Rio saying, “Baca Del Rio received and ignored repeated notifications and reminders from the City Clerk of the City of Commerce concerning her obligations to file campaign statements covering a period of July 1, 2005 to February 14, 2009. This indicates a pattern of negligence.”

The decision suggested Baca Del Rio withheld the information to win her Commerce Council seat, “this failure deprived the public of important information about Baca Del Rio’s contributors and financial activity in connection with Baca Del Rio’s defense of a recall in November 2008 and in connection with her reelection in March 2009.”

Baca Del Rio was recalled from the Commerce City Council in November 20, 2008, but was surprisingly re-elected in 2009.

Many residents cited the heavy financial support from Commerce based businesses Justman Packaging and Steve Craig, the owner of Citadel Outlets and Craig Realty Group, as reasons she won back the council seat.

After the election, residents in Commerce were calling Baca Del Rio the “Teflon Queen” for her ability to escape violations and somehow, even though Baca Del Rio does not have a job, pay thousands in fines and give thousands in donations.

Many Commerce residents point to Steve Craig as benefactor to Baca Del Rio.

Then an HMG-CN investigation in May 2013 found further violations that carry a possible $125,000 in fines from the FPPC; fines that could put a chink in the Baca Del Rio’s Teflon armor.

Altamirano PRA and FPPC Violations

According to the Commerce City Clerk’s office, Councilman Altamirano did not file campaign finance documents (Form 460’s) prior to Jan. 2012.

He was elected March 5, 2013.

First Pre-Election Statement

Altamirano’s first set of “pre-election form 460’s” dated Jan. 1 to Jan. 19, 2013 were filed on time but contained a Jan. 7 $1,000 donation from Justman Packaging. The statement also had a $1,084 donation from Commerce Mayor pro tem Tina Baca Del Rio, violating Commerce’ Ordinance 659 which prohibits donations that exceed $1,000.

Altamirano-2013-1st-Pre-election

Under new FPPC rules implemented Jan. 1, 2013, a candidate is required to file a Form 497 Late Contribution Report within 24 hours of a donation of $1,000 or more to their committee.


 

The Commerce City Clerk did not receive a 497 from Altamirano.

Second Pre-Election Statement

Altamirano’s second set of pre-election form 460’s dated Jan. 20 to Feb. 16, 2013 were filed on Mar. 25, 32 days late and contained eleven $1,000 donations.

Altamirano-2013-2nd-Pre-election-1

Altamirano-2013-2nd-Pre-election-2

 

Once again, the Commerce City clerk did not receive any 497 filings from Altamirano.

Semi-Annual Statement

Altamirano’s “Semi-annual form 460’s” dated Feb. 17 to June 30, 2013 were filed on Sept. 9, 64 days late and contained seven $1,000 donations prior to the election.

Semi-annual-21-1

Semi-annual-21-2

 

Altamirano filed a 497 for two Feb. 20 and Feb. 21 $1,000 donations 3 days late.

Once again, the Commerce City Clerk did not receive any 497 filings from Altamirano for the remaining five $1,000 donations

All tolled, Altamirano amassed 22 FPPC violations, 19 for failing to file the 497 Late Contribution Reports and 2 for failing to file his pre-elections statements on time. Each violation carries a maximum penalty of $5,000 each, meaning Altamirano could be looking at a staggering $110,000 in fines.

Emails into Councilman Altamirano, Mayor Leon, Mayor pro tem Baca Del Rio, and City Attorney Eduardo Olivo went unanswered.

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