San Juan Capistrano resident and Capistrano Unified Trustee Jim Reardon filed a complaint with the state agency that oversees political campaigns about the controversial mailer delivered to residents just before Thanksgiving last week, but it was immediately rejected.
The flier took aim at a group of residents trying to recall Mayor Sam Allevato and like-minded individuals who have filed various lawsuits or claims against the city. Reardon’s name appears on a wheel of fortune for having cost Capo Unified $600,000 in legal fees and judgments, an assertion he disputes.
“I requested that these people not draw me into their political campaign as a straw man. They ignored my request and righteously claimed they had a right to trade on my reputation,” Reardon said last week. “Yet they do through a group that is clearly engaged in political action that requires that they be registered as a campaign committee.”
The state Fair Political Practices Commission disagreed.
“We informed Mr. Reardon that we were not opening a case,” said Richard Hertz, spokesman for the FPPC. “After review of the documents submitted with the complaint, it appeared that the organization San Juan Cares, at the time the complaint was submitted, was not formed to support or oppose any candidate or measure.”
Rob Ferguson, chair of San Juan Cares who was not available for comment in this story, told the Capistrano Dispatch that he has no intentions of registering as a PAC because money raised would go to a “communication program” not a campaign.
Reardon said today he accepts the FPPC’s position – for now.
“Their letter is clear in its definition advocacy in connection a ballot measure such as a recall,” he said. “I will be watching, and they invite me to file again if I believe Mr. Ferguson's group has crossed the line."