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Condit's Children Are Sued by FPPC

The state's political watchdog agency accuses the ex-congressman's son and daughter of illegally taking $250,000 in contributions.

January 14, 2006|Peter Y. Hong | Times Staff Writer

The children of former Rep. Gary Condit were sued Friday by the state's political watchdog agency, which accused them of illegally taking more than $250,000 in political contributions to their father.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission, which serves as the state's civil prosecutor for alleged political campaign and lobbying law violations, contends that Chad M. Condit and Cadee P. Condit unlawfully took more than $250,000 from Defendant Justice, a political action committee intended to examine media coverage of their father related to the 2001 disappearance and presumed death of Chandra Levy, an intern in the congressman's Washington office.

Donors presumably contributed to the committee to assist Condit's political efforts; personal use of the money is illegal.

Gary Condit lost a reelection bid in 2002. The Democrat from Ceres, Calif., had been a popular six-term congressman, but became the subject of intense media speculation over his relationship with the 24-year-old Levy after her disappearance.

Condit and his family later settled lawsuits with various publications over their coverage of the Central California congressman after Levy's disappearance and apparent murder.

The commission's suit alleges that Condit's children paid themselves $226,000 to make a documentary film about media coverage of their father but did not produce the film "or other discernible work product for the payments which they received."

The civil complaint states that Chad Condit, who served as Defendant Justice's treasurer, authorized payments to himself and his sister, and that neither of them had any experience in documentary filmmaking.

The suit also alleges that Chad Condit did not keep records to justify the payments for film production work.

In addition to the payments for the documentary, Chad Condit paid himself $44,518 in cash from Defendant Justice between October 2002 and March 2003, and he paid his sister $10,000 during the same period, the suit alleges. Among the alleged payments were $3,000 Christmas bonuses for each.

The cash balance of the political action committee went from $270,793 in February 2002 to $1,513 in June 2003, the suit says.

The payments allegedly violated state laws because they were for personal, not political, legislative or governmental use.

The commission is seeking monetary damages of $2.1 million from Chad Condit and Defendant Justice PAC, and $328,500 from Cadee Condit. The damages would be paid to the state general fund.

Chad Condit did not return phone calls to a Glendale, Ariz., ice cream parlor he owns.

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