SACRAMENTO — An assemblyman, an ex-senator who pleaded guilty to bribery-related charges and several former local officials are stiffing the state for more than $500,000 in fines, California's political watchdog said this week.
The Fair Political Practices Commission on Thursday released the names of a dozen current or former officials who have made the agency's "deadbeat list" and said it will go after their salaries, tax refunds and property to cover the debts.
The 12 include Assemblyman Willard H. Murray Jr. (D-Paramount), former state Sen. Alan Robbins, a Van Nuys Democrat, and former Assemblyman Leon Ralph, a Los Angeles Democrat.
"These deadbeats--ex-elected officials and incumbents--broke the law, ignored our fines and so far have ignored their obligations to the taxpayers to whom they owe this debt," FPPC Chairman Ravi Mehta said.
"It's especially outrageous that these people who have--or had--a public trust are debt dodgers."
The FPPC said the 12 owe a total of $557,500. The debts date back as far as 1988.
Robbins resigned from the Senate and pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges in 1991 and spent 18 months in federal prison. He said Thursday that he is aware of the fine, which he said stemmed from an agreement he made with the FPPC. But he said he still faces other legal financial obligations.
"That's correct. This is the fine that was stipulated to in 1993, and at the time I agreed to pay it, they understood I already had a federal lien of approximately $4 million and that it would be illegal to pay them the money until after the federal lien was paid," he said.
A spokesman for Murray said the legislator's staff has been seeking to set up a payment schedule for his $16,700 fine, but that "the FPPC has just dropped the ball."
"They have not been responsive. It seems now like they are picking up the ball again," said Assemblyman Kevin Murray (D-Los Angeles), Willard Murray's son. He added that the FPPC has not contacted his father for three months.
The others on the FPPC deadbeat list are:
* Former Assemblyman Ralph, $1,750.
* Former Los Angeles City Council candidate Kenneth Orduna, $187,500.
* Former Sacramento County Supervisor William Bryan, $292,500.
* Former Santa Ana City Councilman Daniel Griset, $10,000.
* Former Huntington Park City Councilman Luis Hernandez, $10,000.
* Former Fillmore Planning Commissioner Cecelia Corl-Uber, $2,000.
* Former Coastal Commission member Mark Nathanson, $10,000.
* Former Oakland Unified School District board member Darlene Lawson, $3,550.
* Former Solano County Supervisor Don Pippo, $6,000.
* Former Ft. Bragg City Councilman Andre Schade, $2,500.
Mehta, who became chairman in January, said his predecessors did not emphasize debt collection.
"There has never been any incentive for the FPPC [to collect overdue fines] because the money doesn't come into our fund, it goes into the state general fund," he said.