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Two former California officials fined for conflicts of interest

February 28, 2013|By Patrick McGreevy

The state’s ethics watchdog agency on Thursday levied $10,000 in fines against two former state officials over conflict of interest violations.

The state Fair Political Practices Commission fined former state parks department administrator Manuel Thomas Lopez $7,000 for acting as an administrator to approve the illegal cashing out of more than 500 hours of his own vacation time, worth more than $28,000.

The commission also levied a $3,000 fine against a former state Department of Water Resources employee who violated conflict of interest rules by recommending government purchases from a firm that plied him with gifts.

Chris Carlotti, who retired in 2011, had previously listed the company Valley Parts Service as the "desired vendor" for nine purchases of automobile repair parts by the state agency totaling $7,028.

He admitted to doing so after receiving $1,050 in gifts from the business, including round-trip air fare to Orlando, Fla., and VIP tickets to the Daytona 500 auto race.

The state Fair Political Practices Commission approved the fines as its chief of enforcement, Gary Winuk, said the agency is focusing more on serious violations of state law, including conflict of interest and money-laundering cases.


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