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FPPC Investigates Westfield

| News | July 3, 2019

The company that owns the Valencia Town Center is being investigated by the state Fair Political Practices Commission over failing to file campaign-disclosure forms related to its leasing space to College of the Canyons during the Measure E campaign in 2016.

According to documents provided by FPPC Commission Assistant Sasha Linker, Delaware-based Westfield LLC is being asked to explain why it didn’t file major donor and expenditure forms when the Committee for College of the Canyons – Yes on Measure E did.

The form in question, Form 461, is required whenever an entity contributes at least $10,000 to a campaign in a calendar year. Westfield donated about 5,244 square feet of space for the Yes on E campaign, according to a letter to the FPPC from Westfield attorney Stacy McKee Knight obtained via public records request and given to the Gazette.

The problem is that the Yes on E Committee filed appropriate documents indicating it estimated the fair-market value of the space to be $25,000, although it was leased for free.

Robert McCarty, who filed the documents for the committee, declined comment. “People at the college are taking care of this issue,” he said.

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McKee Knight’s letter, dated April 30 and addressed to Intake Manager Tara Stock, explains that the monetary value didn’t reach $10,000 for the 92 days the Yes on E Committee occupied the space. She estimated that the going rate at the time was $8,600 for 82 days, still short of the required $10,000.

“No current member of the Center’s even leasing staff had any communications with any COC representatives regarding the value of the leased space and was not aware COC filed a form declaring $25,000 as the value,” McKee Knight’s letter said.

The FPPC also is investigating COC for, among other things, possibly using an employee to secure the lease.

John Musella, head of his eponymous public relations firm that counts Westfield as a client, didn’t return a call for comment.

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About Lee Barnathan

Lee Barnathan has been a writer and editor since 1990. His articles have been published in newspapers, magazines and online. His new book "If You Experience Death, Please Call and Other Fatal Mistakes We Make With Language," a humorous look at the ways people misuse English, is available on Amazon or at his website, www.leebarnathan.com. He is hired by people all over the country to help them refine the message or story they wish to share with their target audience or demographic.

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