SACRAMENTO — With the May 12 special election in the 33rd state Senate District less than two weeks away, Republicans and Democrats traded accusations this week in complaints filed with the state Fair Political Practices Commission.
Democratic candidate Cecil N. Green, a Norwalk City Council member, filed a complaint accusing his opponent, Assemblyman Wayne Grisham, of failing to report a financial interest in Moore Resales Inc., a La Mirada-based real estate company. Grisham is listed on corporation documents as the firm's chief executive officer.
Green also alleged that Grisham's firm "failed to pay its tax bill and had twice been suspended from doing business." Further, Green said Grisham failed to disclose a loan for $150,000 he had taken on a piece of property.
"Our research shows that Mr. Grisham did do business and take out loans and never reported this as required by law," Green contended in an interview Wednesday.
Under the state Political Reform Act, elected officials are required to disclose economic interests on annual conflict-of-interest statements.
Grisham, a Norwalk Republican, brushed aside the allegations, saying, "I think we're 100% clean, pure."
Delivering the Republicans' volley Tuesday was Robert Naylor, state GOP chairman. He announced that last week he had filed an FPPC complaint focusing on a mailer sent before the March 17 primary that repeated charges by a former Grisham secretary that she was fired after rebuffing Grisham's advances. (Grisham has denied those charges.)
Former Sen. Paul Carpenter (D-Cypress), who held the 33rd District seat before resigning to take a seat on the state Board of Equalization, reported to the secretary of state's office that he contributed $5,000 to Citizens Who Care, the group that sent the mailer.
Naylor complained that Green and Carpenter actually were the "controlling" forces behind Citizens Who Care and that the group failed to properly file a campaign contribution statement with the secretary of state noting the details of Carpenter's contribution.
Naylor, who is helping Grisham solicit contributions, alleged that Green's campaign committee "was involved with the production of the mailer." But Green said Wednesday he was never shown the mailer or consulted about it. Further, Green said, he has denounced Carpenter's tactics and has asked him not to repeat them.
Carpenter called the charges "just another example of the Republicans trying to make an issue out of nothing."
The FPPC has 14 days to determine if it should open an inquiry into a complaint.
In the hotly contested March primary, Green outpolled Grisham but failed to win enough votes to avoid a runoff. The district straddles Los Angeles and Orange counties, with about 75% of the potential voters living in Artesia, Bellflower, Cerritos, Downey, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs and South Whittier.
In March, 1984, when Grisham first ran for the Assembly, he reported an interest in Wayne Grisham Realty--under which Moore Resales did business. But Grisham says he since has transferred Grisham Realty to his son and receives no income from the firm and therefore has nothing to report. He said the company is being phased out.
The assemblyman and his son, Randall, asserted that the loan mentioned by Green was a line of credit for the younger Grisham. Grisham said it was "not for my benefit" and did not need to be reported. Grisham said his son uses his father's real estate broker's license in Grisham and Associates in La Mirada and that the senior Grisham receives no money for its use.
A check with the state Franchise Tax Board confirmed that Moore Resales had been suspended in 1984 for failing to pay taxes in 1982 and 1983. In 1985, the suspension was lifted after the firm paid $3,252, according to Jim Reber, a spokesman for the tax board. Reber said that again last January the firm was suspended, this time for not paying taxes in 1985 and 1986. Reber said it has not been determined how much is owed but it could be as little as $200 a year.
Times staff writer Steven R. Churm contributed to this story.