Copelands, banker officially fined by FPPC Thursday morning

San Luis Obispo downtown business owners Jim and Tom Copeland were fined $80,000 by the state Fair Political Practices Commission about 10 a.m. this morning at its meeting in Sacramento for concealing more than $220,000 in contributions toward the campaign against Ernie Dalidio's efforts to develop his San Luis Obispo property.

Local banker David Booker also faces a portion of the fines. He acted as the manager for Responsible County Development LLC, which was formed to funnel contributions to the committee opposing Measure J.

The Copelands violated the Political Reform Act, the FPPC staff report says, because the limited liability corporation they created 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.

The Copeland brothers are longtime business owners in downtown San Luis Obispo. Their properties include San Luis Obispo's Downtown Centre, the Court Street development and the planned Chinatown project.

The Copelands waived their rights to certain hearings and to be heard by the commission, according to FPPC documents, resulting in the default recommendation by the FPPC's enforcement division to pay the full penalty amount.

The five-member FPPC Commission unanimously voted in support of levying the fines against the Copeland brothers and Booker.

--AnnMarie Cornejo