With the special election for the West Hollywood City Council only six weeks away, some candidates have begun to turn up the heat on one another.
Yesterday Cole Ettman, one of four candidates in the race, issued a press release accusing competitor Heidi Shink of violating city campaign donation regulations. “Shink Violates Campaign Finance Laws. City Prosecutor Investigation Likely,” reads the headline.
The press release refers to a Feb. 1 letter from City Clerk Yvonne Quarker to David Gould, Shink’s campaign treasurer. In it, Quarker notes that Shink’s campaign finance statement for the period ending Dec. 31, 2014, indicates that she intends to spend money raised for her March election campaign for her June election campaign. After announcing her candidacy for the March race, where 12 candidates competed for three seats, Shink withdrew and instead filed to run in June, where four candidates are competing for one seat.
In her letter to Gould, Quarker notes that using money raised for one campaign to fund another isn’t permitted under city law. “The City Attorney’s office has discussed this rule with you,” she writes, noting that Shink must return the money she raised for the March election, donate it to a non-profit organization or dispose of it in other non-political ways authorized by the California Political Reform Act. “If you continue to disregard the City’s campaign finance regulations, we will be forced to refer this matter to the City Prosecutor for further action,” the letter says.
Shink’s campaign denied any violation of campaign finance laws. “Our campaign has not only complied with the letter of the campaign finance laws set forth by the City of West Hollywood, but the spirit of them as well,” said a statement provided to WEHOville. “Ms. Shink did not run in the March 3rd election cycle, and absolutely no monies raised for the March 3rd election have ever been spent on this June 2nd campaign; this has been verified through our treasurer, David Gould. To even imply so without evidence, as Mr. Ettman is doing, is tantamount to libel. While we understand the Ettman campaign’s desperate need for press of any kind, we would encourage him to address the issues in this race and to get out and speak to voters, rather than fabricating claims against those who are actually out knocking on doors. It sets an unfortunate tenor for the Ettman campaign that just a few days after his kickoff fundraiser at a spa, he has already resorted to negative campaigning. We hope that Mr. Ettman and his campaign will take a cue from the other candidates in the race and perhaps try to present some serious solutions to the problems this City faces, rather than resorting to these types of amateurish games. Our campaign will continue to talk to voters about the issues facing this City and presenting positive solutions to move West Hollywood into the next 30 years. ”
Shink’s campaign statement showed she had raised $35,455 from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2014 and ended up with a cash balance of $17,214 in her March 2014 campaign account. Quarker’s letter notes that her Dec. 31 report, filed on Jan. 26, was altered by hand to change the election date specified from March 3 to June 2.
Meanwhile, those in the Shink camp are alerting political activists to a 2007 lawsuit in which Ettman and his New York City real estate firm were sued by Century 21 Real Estate for not paying fees required under a licensing agreement and for using the Century 21 brand and logo without authorization. That lawsuit was settled out of court.. “A contract dispute from 2007 has nothing to do with Heidi Shink breaking West Hollywood campaign laws in the election of 2015,” Ettman said. “This is a campaign gimmick to mask Heidi Shink’s mis-doings.”
Ettman currently works as the manager of the law firm of Levine & Blit, which has offices in New York City and Beverly Hills. He also is a member of West Hollywood’s Public Facilities Commission. Shink, a member of the city’s Planning Commission, is a writer who identifies herself as an advocate for LGBT causes and is active in various local Democratic Party groups.
Ettman’s most recent campaign finance filing, dated April 13, shows he has raised $1,000, with donations of $500 from Roy Kaufman, an executive at RBZ, which provides management services for actors, law firms and other businesses, and his wife, Judi.
Shink’s most recent report, dated April 9, shows she has $10,000 in her campaign coffer, which came in the form of a loan to herself. Shink’s fundraising for the March 3 election included an event at the West Hollywood home of Chaz Bono, the transgender celebrity who is a friend of Shink’s. His mother, Cher, has endorsed Shink and is co-hosting a benefit for her on Sunday at the Beverly Hills home of Ron Burkle. Burkle, a billionaire investor, is a business partner with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, an an Islamic nation known for its homophobia (By law someone involved in consensual gay sex in Dubai can be sentenced to up to ten years in prison. However the law isn’t rigidly enforced). That event and Shink’s appearance at the Beverly Hills Hotel in February have drawn criticism from some local gay rights activists. The Beverly Hills Hotel is being boycotted by LGBT and women’s activists because it is owned by a company controlled by the Sultan of Brunei, who is implementing Sharia laws that call for the death of LGBT people or women who commit adultery. Shink, a lesbian, has apologized for appearing at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
So far the other two candidates in the race, John Heilman and Larry Block, have kept a relatively low profile in the race.
You’re exactly right Brian.
@Chris Sanger: I’ll take a few less years from these 3 than 1 more of the entrenched Power hungry Heilman. Heilman just won’t let to and that irks me to NO end. He failed in honoring his word. Now that sucks and is unforgivable.
Frank – that would be the same Lauren Meister whose victory came only because of her accepting the support of the new wannabe puppetmaster John D’Amico, who is also the force behind Shink. You also could be better informed about what is happening in West Hollywood politics. The main reason to oppose Shink is that the city will be badly served by a D’Amico/Meister/Shink majority, with combined with just more than 5 years experience in he council and driven by a power-hungry ego-driven boss who expects to be rewarded for electing possibly two other members. I do agree with your… Read more »
You folks are just wrong here. I called the city clerk to ask. I suggest you do the same. The clerks office told me and I quote “the matter is not resolved and still pending”. You are just shills for Heidi Shink. Shame on all of you. Facts are facts. That NONE of you took 5 minutes to even call shows how little you care about our city or the truth. Rudolf you can obtain the letter with an email requests just like I did. Nor did you call to get the truth from the clerk. But sadly you have… Read more »
Note to Mr. Ettman: The transparancy you claim that John Heilman has worked to impede actually allowed this information to become known, under rules adopted by the council he was a member of. Give credit where credit is due.
The city clerk letter is from Feb 1st, and the matter has not, as threatened, been referred to the city prosecutor, so it appears that the Shink campaign has complied.
I like Cole Ettman’s positions, I think he’s ill-advised to attack her on what appears to be a mute matter, just as “those in the Shink camp” are ill advised to smear him right back. I hope everyone takes a deep breath and hugs it out so we can go back to the real issues.
If Cole Ettman is spreading blatant lies about Heidi Shink, then I would think those in her camp are right to be upset. The letter is from two and half months ago and was in reference to using monies for the March 3 election cycle. Shink did not run in the March 3 election cycle, seemingly putting her in compliance, and hence why I’m assuming the City Clerk has apparently taken no further action against her. It appears that Ettman blew his wad early and ran with a half-baked attack, and he has upped his ante to now claim Shink… Read more »
Alerting voters to the fact that Ms. Shink has failed, on numerous occasions, to observe state and local campaign election law is in no way a personal attack. All my campaign did was release the official letters from the City Clerk to Ms. Shink and her campaign Treasurer warning her of an investigation by the City Prosecutor. Sadly, this episode is just the latest example of the culture of self interest and corruption that took 30 years for John Heilman and his allies to build. If we hope to restore credibility to City Hall, we must demand candor, transparency and… Read more »
OMG ! The mud slinging has already started – by Cole Ettman, no less ! Supposedly (and unconfirmed) Heilman may have some $500K in his campaign chest, mainly from developers. Heilman, I think, is hoping the other three candidates will bloody themselves and sit by the sidelines watching the probably ever increasing brutal attacks. This truly unfortunate scenario will be to his distinct advantage. A few weeks ago, Ms. Shink met with me privately for almost 90 minutes and I “grilled” her on her positions (as I think Chaz Bono and his mother, Cher, did). I also attended an event… Read more »
Why Cole Ettman chose to hold his fund raiser at our decades old West Hollywood business is beyond me! Most candidates are reaching into their own deep pockets or having their fundraisers in Beverly Hills mansions. Although I have voted in every election since Weho became a city, I don’t consider myself a political person. However, I did want to hear what he had to say. It was great to see so many of my neighbors at Cole’s event. Other candidates should consider listening to West Hollywood residents,
Shink and Hileman are the same if you ask me. Ettman came out against the kings road development while Hileman and shink support it. I was at the planning commission meeting last year when she said “I think it’s a beautiful development”. Why is everyone thinking that helps Hileman. If shink is elected that helps Hileman and his developer friends. Look at every vote she has on planning commission. As far as I’m concerned it’s Ettman and Block as the only choices to consider. Shink is just Hileman is sheeps clothing. At least Hileman is honest about his disdain for… Read more »
Shink should be proud of these desperate tempest in a teapot attacks, reminiscent of the Hillary email silliness: it means she is the one to beat. The corporate developers are scared to death of her and trying to derail her campaign, they know it’s lights out for them with D’Amico and Shink on council. These attacks will fail miserably. Ettman is a stalking horse for Heilman; he joins James Duke Mason in the “irrelevant sellout” dustbin. Heilman had a great career but it’s time to move on for overdevelopment and building city revenue on the backs of the less wealthy… Read more »
Cher: you might get investigated by the FPPC! Perhaps you could turn back time and rethink your endorsement. Your label is affiliated with Time Warner. They are West Hollywood’s Cable Company. Can you Sing: I Believe you have a CONFLICT?