Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Ethics Commission fines two Villaraigosa donors in mayoral money laundering case

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Two donors to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's 2009 election campaign have been ordered to pay $35,000 in fines as a penalty for campaign money laundering, the Los Angeles Ethics Commission said Thursday.

Cindy Baek, who works in the real estate title industry was fined $15,000. She is accused of soliciting donations from business acquaintances to the Villaraigosa campaign, which is legal, and then reimbursing those who gave, which is not.

She reimbured $6,000 in contributions that were given in others' names in June 2008, the Ethics Commission report said. City and state laws require campaign donors to give only their own funds in their own names. Baek did not return a call seeking comment about the fine.

The commission also fined Young Ran Kim for laundering $8,000 contributions to the Villaraigosa for Mayor 2009 campaign. Those contributions were made in others' names in June 2008. Contact and background information for Kim was not immediately available. Contributions from him do not appear on the city campaign finance website.

The two individuals named in the Ethics Commission action had agreed to the fines.


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