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Rehab activists target Newport councilman

Bob Rush’s group mailed the negative ads attacking Steve Rosansky, campaign papers show. Official said he wasn’t really surprised.

October 23, 2008|By Brianna Bailey

Newport Beach rehabilitation home activists have put up most of the money to finance a flood of negative direct mail opposing District 2 Councilman Steve Rosansky’s reelection bid, campaign documents released Thursday show.

The political action committee Newporters for Ethical Government, which has paid for several pieces of direct mail over the past few weeks accusing Rosansky of profiting from drug rehabilitation homes in his district, managed to raise $57,000 since it was formed Oct. 1, campaign disclosure statements show.

The group has spent more than $33,000 on campaign literature so far, according to the disclosure statements.

The company U.S. Realty Group donated $25,000 to the committee, records show.

Rehabilitation home activist Bob Rush is president of the firm. Newporters for Ethical Government also had two other donors, attorney Jeffrey Walsworth, who lives in Newport Coast, and the Anaheim-based business Hot Rods, run by Concerned Citizens of Newport Beach member Daniel Welden, according to Jack Wu, who is acting as spokesman for the group. Hot Rods has given Newporters for Ethical Government $30,000, records show. Walsworth donated $2,000.

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“Ultimately the group has been funded by Newport Beach residents who put their money where their mouth is,” Wu said.

Walsworth could not immediately be reached Thursday to comment, and the Daily Pilot could not find a working phone number for Welden.

Rush declined to comment Thursday and directed questions to Wu.

Rush has accused Rosansky of malfeasance in the past. The activist waved a stack of papers in the air at a City Council meeting in October 2007, claiming the papers documented how Rosansky was making a profit from rehabilitation homes in his district, but the activist refused to show the papers to the city’s outside legal counsel or city staff, claiming he wanted to reveal the evidence against Rosansky in a public forum.

“I guess it doesn’t surprise me that Bob is behind the mailings, which are false and misleading,” Rosansky said. “I think Bob has been discredited in the eyes of most Newport Beach residents. His wild conspiracy theories don’t pan out.”

Rush also accused former City Atty. Bob Burnham last year of making money off drug rehab facilities in Newport Beach.

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