Politics, government and public life for Southern California

San Bernardino councilman Chas Kelley pleads guilty to perjury, another charged in stalking case

Berdoo Bankrupt

Steven Cuevas / KPCC

Two San Bernardino city council members face criminal charges in separate cases.

Updated 4:40 p.m. San Bernardino Councilman Chas Kelley pleaded guilty to one felony charge of perjury, agreed to serve 90 days in jail, resigned from office and withdrew from his mayoral campaign.

He said in a statement he concealed receiving $74,222 in contributions to his Friends of Chas Kelley committee and using the money for non-campaign purposes. The money should have been publicly reported in campaign finance disclosure documents. His formal sentencing was set for Dec. 13.

Previously: Two San Bernardino city council members face criminal charges in separate cases, adding to the bankrupt city's turmoil on the eve of a vote in which much of its leadership is up for election or facing recall.

City Councilman Robert Jenkins, 33, was charged with 18 felony and 12 misdemeanor counts including identity theft and stalking. The charges grew out of  an investigation by the Riverside County District Attorney's office.

Councilman Chas Kelley, 44, was to be arraigned Thursday afternoon in San Bernardino on a felony count of perjury, said Christopher Lee, spokesman for the San Bernardino District Attorney. The allegation is that he falsely reported contributions to and spending from his campaign committee between 2006 and 2012.

Kelley, who was first elected in 2003, is one of ten candidates for mayor on the Nov. 5 ballot. Jenkins is running for re-election in the 2nd ward, having served since 2011.

The D.A. Bureau of Investigation case alleges Jenkins advertised on Craigslist for sex partners and directed  those who answered the ads to two victims who live in Riverside County. Investigators used the computer addresses used to place the ads to track them to Jenkins, according to John Hall, spokesman for the Riverside County DA office.

Jenkins is also alleged to have created a false San Bernardino Police Department internal memo describing himself as a victim of internet harassment.  His arraignment is in December.

San Bernardino Residents for Responsible Government, which gathered enough signatures to place Council members Wendy McCammack and John Valdivia and City Attorney James Penman on the ballot, said the arrests reinforced their call for a wholesale replacement of the city's elected leadership.

The San Bernardino Police Officers Association withdrew its endorsement of Jenkins after the charges were made public. The union representing city police did not endorse the remaining candidate in the 2nd Ward race, Benito Barrios.

The city filed for bankruptcy protection more than a year ago. Mayor Pat Morris this week released the city's ten-year plan to restore financial stability.

 

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