Castaneda cleared of charges
Campaign finance complaints against Chula Vista councilman tossed
By Tanya Sierra
San Diego UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
May 25, 2010
CHULA VISTA — An independent investigation into claims that Chula Vista City Councilman Steve Castaneda violated campaign financing laws dating back six years has found the complaints lacked merit and were politically motivated.
Julia Sylvia, the Los Angeles attorney looking into the matter, deemed the charges against Castaneda “unsubstantiated innuendo, arguments and allegations.”
Angel T. Castillo, a Chula Vista resident who once served on a homeowners association board with Castaneda, filed complaints in November and December alleging multiple campaign violations in 2004, 2006 and 2008. He claimed Castaneda should be prosecuted and forced to pay $472,679 in fines.
Castillo, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, alleged that Castaneda misreported campaign expenses in 2004; violated personal financing limits in 2005; and did not declare postelection expenses in 2006. The allegations also state that contributions from a former business partner exceeded what is allowed under campaign laws.
Castaneda, who is running for mayor in the June primary, said in a City Hall news conference that he knew he would be cleared. He charged Castillo with regurgitating issues that had been settled.
“A majority of the allegations in the complaint have been thoroughly investigated by other public agencies; namely the Fair Political Practices Commission,” she wrote. “The FPPC has concluded that there is no conflict of interest and there is not violation of the Political Reform Act by the candidate.”...