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Hotel: Capt. took gifts

Island Hotel management in 2009 requested $460 from captain placed on leave, an amount that may violate state limits.

April 05, 2010|By Joseph Serna

Newport Beach Police Capt. Jim Kaminsky received more than $1,200 in free rooms, vouchers and meals from the Island Hotel in 2007-08, possibly exceeding limits that the state sets for public employees and the city sets for police officers, according to a letter from the hotel reviewed Friday by the Daily Pilot.

In the letter dated June 29, 2009, which the Pilot obtained using the California Public Records Act, hotel Managing Director Richard Evanich asks Kaminsky to reimburse the Newport Center hotel $460.90, which is how much apparently exceeded state limits over the two-year period.

Gift limits for employees at Kaminsky’s level were limited to $390 a year in 2007 and 2008, according to the California Fair Political Practices Commission, which monitors gifts to public employees.

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In the letter, the hotel manager writes, “...we have found records that indicate that the Island Hotel provided you with accommodations, meals and spa benefits that exceed California’s gift law limits ... ”

Newport Beach’s internal policy for police officers states that “whether on or off duty, employees shall pay posted prices for food, beverages or any other services. Discounts will not be accepted nor solicited by any person where his or her official position is used to effect same.”

The policy also prohibits department personnel from accepting money, food, services, entertainment or any other consideration. Violations of the policy may lead to discipline, including termination.

Kaminsky was placed on administrative leave this week, but the Police Department declined to give a reason. His attorney, Gregory Petersen, said Kaminsky announced his retirement before being put on leave.

It remained unclear Friday whether the captain’s suspension had anything to do with reportedly accepting gifts from the hotel.

On Feb. 17, 2007, Kaminsky was given a complimentary hotel room valued at $425, Evanich wrote in the letter addressed to Kaminsky and copied to the city clerk. That same year he also was given a gift certificate for another room.

On May 3, 2008, Kaminsky used the gift certificate for a one-night stay valued at $450, according to the letter. The Island Hotel also gave him two spa passes, each worth $140.

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