Bonnie Dumanis donors fined for campaign violations

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The city of San Diego’s Ethics Commission announced Friday that four donors to Bonnie Dumanis’ failed 2012 mayoral run were fined $35,000 for violations of campaign finance laws.

The cases involved people who made $500 donations to the Dumanis’ campaign and had the expense reimbursed. The commission said it’s illegal to make a political donation on someone else’s behalf.

“Campaign money laundering undermines the integrity of the city’s elections,” Commission Vice Chairman Clyde Fuller said. “As evidenced by the stipulations approved today, anyone who participates in this illegal practice will be held accountable.”

The largest fine was $20,000 against Amir Iravani, the owner of NK Towing and Roadside Services Inc., who asked four employees in early 2012 to make the donations and paid them back.

The other three cases were tied to a former San Diego police detective caught up in a broader federal investigation over alleged illegal foreign campaign donations by a Mexican businessman.

According to the Ethics Commission, three people associated with the ex-detective, Ernesto Encinas, were fined $5,000 each.

Documents provided by the commission said Milan Bakic, Ryan Zilius and Cheryl Nichols made $500 donations to the Dumanis campaign in December 2011 and were reimbursed by Encinas.

The former detective, who pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy and filing a false tax return, wanted the winner of the 2012 mayoral election to fire then-San Diego police Chief William Lansdowne, and replace him with a chief of Encinas’ choosing, according to court papers.

The agency’s documents said Bakic and Zilius were employed by Coastline Protection and Investigations, a security firm owned by Encinas — and Nichols was an independent accountant.

The businessman, Jose Azano Matsura, is accused in a federal indictment of illegally funneling money into various 2012 election campaigns, including those of Dumanis and eventual mayoral election winner Bob Filner.

The commission said Iravani, Bakic, Zilius and Nichols all cooperated with the commission and agreed to pay the fines. The Ethics Commission has not taken action against Encinas.

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