SACRAMENTO — The state Fair Political Practices Commission on Friday released a 15-count civil complaint against former state Sen. Alan Robbins (D-Van Nuys), accusing him of failure to disclose or explain millions of dollars in outside income, as required by law.
Three of the counts grew out of statements Robbins made in 1991, when he pleaded guilty in federal court to using his office as a racketeering enterprise to extort bribes. He is now serving a two-year term in federal prison as a result of that criminal case.
However, a commission spokesperson said further violations have been discovered since then by the agency's investigators. They found that Robbins regularly failed to report income and loans from 1988 to 1991 as required--even after he entered his guilty plea.
If Robbins is found guilty of the violations, involving more than $3.6 million, the fine can be no more than $30,000--the maximum under state law governing legislative ethics.
Robbins' lawyer could not be reached for comment Friday.
The accusations raise new questions about Robbins' credibility, according to an attorney representing a defendant in a federal political corruption case in which the former senator is expected to be a critical witness.
"This is consistent with everything I've learned about Alan Robbins, in that he is completely amoral and will fabricate at any point when it benefits him," said Donald H. Heller, attorney for former Capitol lobbyist Clayton R. Jackson. The ex-lobbyist was named in a 12-count federal grand jury indictment earlier this year and is awaiting trial.
In its charges against Robbins, the commission pointed out that none of the individuals who made unreported payments to the ex-senator are accused of wrongdoing.
Specifically, the commission alleges that Robbins failed to report $92,216 he received in 1991 from Marlene Bane, wife of then-Assembly Rules Committee Chairman Tom Bane (D-Van Nuys). The payment was not included in a statement of economic interests that Robbins filed in December, 1991, a month after he stepped down from office.
Marlene Bane explained that the funds were paid to the former senator in exchange for stock in Club California Westwood, a Robbins-controlled apartment complex in which she and her husband had previously invested.
Robbins "apparently needed more cash to meet his legal obligations," Marlene Bane said, adding, "It was paid by check."
The commission also accused Robbins of failing to disclose $133,000 he received in 1991 from Bernard Lavitch. The commission's accusation provides no details of the Lavitch transaction.
The filing also faulted the former lawmaker for failing to identify four individuals who paid $2.95 million to a Robbins-controlled real estate partnership in 1988.
In addition, the commission charged that Robbins did not disclose extortion money he received from San Diego hotel developer Jack Naiman and others--payments that figured in the ex-lawmaker's federal plea bargain.
Wayne Ordos, the executive director of the state watchdog agency, said Robbins was obligated to report his earnings "even if that income is illegally obtained through a criminal enterprise."