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‘Park’ campaign fliers investigated

Group looks at fliers missing donor name. Campaigners say they operate with integrity.

February 03, 2008|By Brianna Bailey

The California Fair Political Practices Commission is looking into whether the City Hall in the Park political campaign broke the law when it sent out a flier to Newport Beach residents that didn’t disclose the group’s major benefactor was a local retired businessman.

“We are aware of the situation and we’re looking into it,” said Roman Porter, a spokesman for the commission.

Porter declined to comment further, but said it was standard procedure for the commission not to disclose more information if an anonymous complaint had been filed. The agency would have more freedom to speak publicly if an official complaint were filed with a name attached to it, he said.

The flier in question, one of eight or nine the group has mailed to voters, contains images of beach and other Newport landmarks. A statement printed at the bottom of the front page reads “Paid for by Newport Beach City Hall in the Park Committee, Yes on Measure B.” It does not include, however, the name of Jack Croul, who has donated more than $600,000 to the campaign.

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City Hall in the Park campaign representatives said Friday the omission of Croul’s name was, at worst, a simple mistake.

“We have made a real effort to run a campaign with integrity,” said lead City Hall in the Park proponent Bill Ficker.

Under state law, political campaigns are required to state the names of major contributors on their campaign literature who donate $50,000 or more, according to the commission.

City Hall in the Park supporter Ron Hendrickson said that while the flier omitted Croul’s name, a photograph of him and other City Hall in the Park supporters appears in the flier. Croul is named as the group’s major donor on all subsequent fliers the group has mailed out, Hendrickson said.

City Hall in the Park is the driving force behind Measure B, which would amend the city charter to require the next city hall to be built on a piece of city-owned land next to the central library on Avocado Avenue. Newport Beach residents will head to the polls Tuesday to vote on the issue.


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