Follow the Money

By Clint Worthington 

I was interested to find out exactly where the campaign contributions came from for incumbent City Council Candidate Sam Allevato. I obtained a copy of Form 460 from the City Clerks office and specifically looked at “Schedule A - Monetary Contributions Received”. Keep in mind, the contribution limit is $250.00 per individual but what often happens is that many people in one company will each donate. When you have a company the size of the Rancho Mission Viejo Company, that can (and does) add up.

I was quite surprised how many contributions were from corporations or individuals that at some point received a favorable vote from Sam Allevato. Here are just a few:

1. CR&R Waste ( evergreen contract for trash hauling)

2. Tony Moiso (CEO, Rancho Mission Viejo Company, who we purchased 132 acres from)

3. Gil Aguirre (VP, Rancho Mission Viejo Co)

4. Brad Gates (negotiator on 132 acre purchase of RMV Riding Park and friend of Moiso’s)

5. Christopher Townsend ( Lobbying contract with the City)

6. Last name of Friess (I lost count of how many contributed after five)

7. Myron Sukut (Developer/partner in Distrito La Novia & proponent of Yes on Measure B, Distrito La Novia)

8. Robb Cerruti (Developer/partner in Distrito La Novia & proponent of Yes on Measure B, Distrito La Novia)

9. Gretchen Stroesher Thompson ( future hotel developer at Del Obispo and Ortega Highway)

10. Orange County Automobile Dealers (favorable signs for auto dealers and $5 million in taxpayer-funded redevelopment agency money)

I’m sure Councilman Allevato would say it’s just a coincidence; that he and the contributors have done nothing wrong. Maybe not, but it sure makes me wonder why someone would raise so much money for a job that pays so little.
According to the records, Councilmen Larry Kramer and John Taylor also raised over $50,000 each for their campaigns two years ago, including a hefty amount they “loaned” to their campaigns from their personal finances (if memory serves it was $15,000 each). Again it raises the question; why would a Council candidate spend so much money for a position that pays $360 per month?

Is there anything illegal about these campaign contributions? No. But is it just a coincidence that votes were cast by these council members in the contributors’ favor at some point after the campaign contributions were made? You be the judge.

Am I advocating that you contribute to Sam Allevato’s campaign in the hopes of getting some special treatment? No. In my opinion, the amount of taxes we pay should earn us at least the same treatment as the campaign contributors. What I am advocating is that we reject Sam Allevato and Ginny Kerr for the two available council seats in the upcoming election and put an end to the special treatment in this town enjoyed by the favored few while the rest of us are made to pay the bills and play by the rules.

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