WALNUT CREEK -- The California Fair Political Practices Commission fined Walnut Creek City Manager Ken Nordhoff $200 for failing to report a dinner on his annual gift disclosure form when he was San Rafael's city manager.
Nordhoff was one of 88 public employees and elected officials fined Nov. 17 for "statement of economic interests violations."
Nordhoff's fine stems from Los Angeles-based De La Rosa & Co. investment banking firm treating him and his then deputy City Manager Nancy Mackle to dinner on Jan. 28, 2010. The estimated value of that dinner by the FPPC is $127.16.
The commission requires all public officials to declare any gifts worth $50 or more on their annual Form 700.
Nordhoff said he has paid the fine, he made a mistake and it was an oversight on his part.
"I did not know the value of the gift was what it was, and I have corrected and filed an amended return," he said.
He has learned from this instance and says it was a unique circumstance. He does not have to amend any other fillings with the commission including any from his time as city manager of Walnut Creek, he said.
The company De La Rosa & Co. took Nordhoff and his deputy Mackle to dinner at the Waterfront Restaurant and Café in San Francisco as a celebration for the close of a bond project.
Mackle, now San Rafael's city manager, said she initially couldn't remember the dinner and had to look up information about the company to figure out the event that took place nearly four years ago.
Mackle said she's always been careful about accepting gifts, but didn't know the dinner needed to be reported.
"I messed up. I should have reported it. I had no idea it was over $50 in value," she said. "I have no way to verify what I ate."
The fines are part of an ongoing, statewide investigation by the commission, which began looking into the gifts provided by De La Rosa & Co. after an initial probe by the Ventura County district attorney. De La Rosa and another company provided gifts to 221 public officials in the past four years, the commission said, but only 16 of those officials properly reported them.
Walnut Creek Mayor Cindy Silva sees this as an honest mistake by Nordhoff, and that it should serve as a reminder to all public officials.
"It reminded me that we all have to be diligent and remember that when we are at events that someone else is sponsoring, we need to remember to take notes so that we remember to report it once a year," she said.
To see the full list of FPPC violations go to www.fppc.ca.gov/press_release.php
Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10. Contact Megan Hansen via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at http://twitter.com/hansenmegan. The Associated Press contributed to this report.