The town has been awakened by the recent public disclosures of Mayor Dicterow’s mandatory reporting and bankruptcy filings. All for good reason.
His filings are riddled with inconsistencies and lean towards selective ignorance or crafting creative opportunity as desired. Should a voter ignore the findings and pass them off as simple mistakes, or look the other way and not question the motives by merely trusting the integrity of this public official when public documents clearly awaken our sensibilities?
The Political Reform Act of 1974 requires all candidates for public office and elected public officials to annually properly complete and sign under penalty of perjury a Form 700, Statement of Economic Interest, available at Fair Political Practices Commission website. This form documents income sources and economic interests so voters can judge a candidate’s financial status and determine potential conflicts of interest.
Mayor Dicterow, an experienced public official, has filled out at least 16 Form 700s over the years. One would expect a practicing attorney and seasoned elected official would be intimately familiar with these forms and reporting guidelines; however, that may not be the case in regards to Berkshire Hathaway stock valued at $200,000 or more.
Form 700 for 2013 states: “I own one-share of stock in the company [Berkshire Hathaway].”
Form 700s for 2014 and 2015 state: “(not an IRA) own stock [Berkshire Hathaway].”
When comparing this information to the mayor’s personal 2014 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, also signed under penalty of perjury, we find something completely different. The stock is not included in Dicterow’s personal bankruptcy filings as an individually owned asset, but rather as owned by his personal corporation’s pension plan and therefore is an exempt asset beyond the reach of creditors. When questioned about this inconsistency during the Oct. 18, City Council meeting, Dicterow stated, “…That’s an asset that has been and has always been held solely by the pension plan.”
How can Mayor Dicterow legally report this stock as a personal asset on Fair Political Practices Commission’s Form 700s while concurrently reporting this stock as a protected or exempt asset on his 2014 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing?
Our mayor can’t have it both ways! One of these filings is not legal. Please tell us which one is correct, and why this same asset is listed differently on two legal documents?
Forthright? Legal? Fair? You decide. I’ve made up my mind.
Jim Mouradick, Laguna Beach
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