Resident Files Two Sworn Complaints With FPPC* See 24April17 update!

Two sworn complaints have been filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) against Mayor Steve Dicterow for failure to properly disclose reportable economic interests. These sworn complaints have been combined into a single investigation. The first complaint was filed in October 2016 and the second in November of 2016.

Documents: FPPC Case No. 2016 -19821; Steven Dicterow:

First FPPC Complaint and Investigation Acknowledgement Letter November 3, 2016 *
Initial FPPC Confirmation Letter

Second FPPC Compliant and Investigation Acknowledgement Letter of November 29, 2016**
November 29 Letter

Below are the most recent Form 700s filed by Mr. Dicterow {see our Form 700s link for all filings for Laguna Beach elected officials, City employees, Outsourced city-attorney and appointed boards/commissioners}





*On October 25, 2016 after the FPPC notified Mayor Dicterow that a sworn complaint was received, he responded through local attorney Larry Nokes and amended only the 2016 Candidate Form 700 disclosure leaving the earlier disclosure forms in non-compliance. Worth noting: This amendment was executed seven days after the October 18, 2016 City Council meeting where his failure to report this asset was exposed and Mayor DIcterow discounted the accusation.
Updated Nokes Letter Amended 700 Form

** November FPPC Letter acknowledges second sworn complaint and its inclusion in the open investigation. Awaiting FPPC ruling, which will be posted upon receipt.

On April 24, 2017 the FPPC issued a Warning Letter to Mr. Dicterow as a result of the 2 sworn complaints.  Broadly, the FPPC found that Mr. Dicterow had indeed failed to properly disclose his ownership of non-primary-residence property he owned within his area of influence going back to at least 2012. However, since he immediately filed an amended 2016 Candidate Form 700 once the complaint was filed they believed this was a mere oversight or failure to understand the filing rules.  As for the second complaint, that Mr. Dicterow had failed to disclose income received from a business with current, past, or future operations in Laguna Beach, they failed to find evidence of such operation, and hence he needn’t disclose such income.

LagunaBeachCHAT is satisfied with the decision.  This author (who made the sworn complaints against Mr. Dicterow) believes too, that Mr. Dicterow probably did not materially gain advantage through his position on the City Council with regards to his property in Laguna Woods. But he might have or might in the future and citizens of Laguna Beach deserve to know about his economic interests in this property.  As for the second complaint, this author realizes that he failed to ‘connect the dots’ well-enough for the FPPC to find for that complaint. We still believe that Mr. Dicterow’s ‘unusual’ legal-retainer income for American Computer Optics Inc., owned by a  Laguna Beach resident with occasional business coming before the council, should have been disclosed.  Although the FPPC could not find that ACO conducted business in Laguna Beach (thereby requiring any income derived from this company to be disclosed by Mr. Dicterow), I strongly believe Mr. Dicterow has an obligation to reveal this income arrangement to Laguna Beach’s citizens.

In the end analysis, LagunaBeachCHAT remains concerned and perplexed at how a (now) 5-term City Council member who is by profession, an attorney could have been filing Form 700s for 16 years and fail to understand or worse, feel that accurate disclosures were so trivial, so as not to have understood the filing guidelines and minimum requirements. Rest assured that if we come into additional information with regards to ACO’s operations, or indeed discover any other unreported material economic interest of any of our City council members, we will investigate, and where warranted, file future sworn complaints with the FPPC.

We provide the reader with the FPPC Warning Letter here.