Members of the organization that funded the campaign against Ernie Dalidio’s efforts to develop his San Luis Obispo farmland will be fined by the state Fair Political Practices Commission and publicly identified.
Rancher-developer Dalidio filed a complaint with the FPPC three years ago against Responsible County Development LLC, which provided 81 percent of the financing for the anti-Measure J campaign, and against the San Luis Obispo Downtown Association.
The FPPC will levy fines and disclose members of Responsible County Development during its Oct. 14 meeting in Sacramento, said Jim McKiernan, the attorney representing Dalidio.
In his complaint, Dalidio said that Responsible County Development violated the law when it hid the names of its members and failed to disclose the true purpose of the $220,944 “loan” it made to the “No on J” committee.
Roman Porter, executive director of the FPPC, would not comment on the case because it is still ongoing. The agenda for that meeting will be posted Oct. 4, he said.
At that time, the amount of the fines will be public.
McKiernan said Wednesday that he did not yet know the amount of the fines or the names associated with the LLC.
The claim against the Downtown Association was dismissed June 29 because there was “insufficient evidence” that the organization violated the Political Reform Act.
The claim against the association alleged it violated the law by using public funds to influence voters in both the November 2006 countywide Measure J election and the April 2005 San Luis Obispo election for Measures A, B and C.
The FPPC action heartened Dalidio, McKiernan said.
“We are surprised and pleased — it has been a long, winding road to this point,” McKiernan said. “The major stumbling blocks to development have now been removed, and he (Dalidio) is assessing his next development steps.”
Throughout the process, Dalidio and his supporters have not known the identity of his opponents, although there is widespread speculation that the money came from certain downtown businesses.
Dalidio has said he believes the public has a right to know who was behind the campaign against Measure J.
Measure J, on the ballot countywide, was passed overwhelmingly in November 2006. It cleared the way for Dalidio to build a shopping center on 131 acres of farmland next to Highway 101 on San Luis Obispo’s south side.
A county Superior Court judge later struck it down, but it wound its way on appeal to the state Supreme Court, which validated the measure. Since 2006, some of the retail stores planned for the Dalidio site, such as Old Navy and Target, have opened or are under construction at other sites.
Dalidio has not disclosed his current plans for his site.