PINOLE -- A candidate who fell short in a run for City Council in November says she never received contributions totaling a little more than $2,000 that a prominent backer reported to have made to her campaign.
Friends of Phil Green, the campaign committee of the Pinole councilman of that name, reported on a recent state Form 460 campaign statement a $1,194.08 monetary contribution to Ivette Ricco on Oct. 30 for a "post card."
Such a contribution, if made, would have to be reported on the recipient's campaign statement as well, under state election law. But the Ricco 2012 Council Victory Committee makes no reference to any contributions from Green among the $17,983.76 it took in between Oct. 21 and Dec. 31, according to its Form 460.
"Our banking records do not have any record of this contribution you are describing," the Ricco committee's treasurer, Monica Shaw, said in a Feb. 27 letter to City Clerk Patricia Athenour, responding to an inquiry from the city. "Please check with this payee directly for further information regarding this claim."
Green's campaign reports the same $1,194.08 contribution on another page, in addition to postage in the amount of $900.69, for a total of $2,094.77.
In an email Monday, Ricco said that "any cost for materials listed on (Green's) report must have been an independent expenditure and as such are not a direct contribution to my campaign committee and would not be listed on my report."
Green, in a telephone interview with this newspaper Sunday, said, "There was no contribution on my part to Ivette Ricco. I didn't contribute anything to her campaign, and she knew nothing about (the postcard).
"The postcard, I sent on my own," Green said, adding that it read, roughly, "I support Ivette" and "Join me and the Pinole Police Association in supporting Ivette."
Green also said that he had erroneously overstated the $1,194.08, as well as the $2,094.77 total he listed on Schedule E, "Payments made," of the state form.
A 2008 Pinole ordinance limits campaign contributions from a committee to $1,000 in cash and $2,000 in combined cash, goods and services, but Green contends his payments were not campaign contributions.
"It was a misconception on my part reading the form," Green said, explaining the error in the declared amount for the postcard. The actual expenses, for the postcard and the postage, "came out to about $900 each," he said.
"There was $250 that didn't go to postcards," Green said. "Those were posters for me. Nothing to do with Ivette."
Green said believed he did not even have to file Schedule D of Form 460, where he listed the $1,194.08 item under a type of expenditure "supporting/opposing other candidates, measures and committees." He said city officials were not clear about it either, so he asked the state Fair Political Practices Commission, which told him he did not have to, he said, but by then, with the Feb. 1 filing due date looming, he had already submitted his Form 460 with Schedule D to the city.
Green has filed an amended Form 460 with the city clerk, who posted it Tuesday on the city website with the latest Forms 460, at http://www.ci.pinole.ca.us/admin/docs/CityClerk/Form460.pdf.