Editor’s Note: The FPPC has, since this article was written, rejected Don Greene’s complaint and closed the file on it.
District 3 city council candidate Don Greene Monday filed a complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) against one of his opponents, Dara Czerwonka. She says his complaint points out a filing error that has since been amended and fixed.
In a press release Monday Greene stated “First, the form (Form 460) filed electronically with the City of Escondido dated 09/24/2020 show two contributions with addresses listed as ‘unknown’ and dated 07/21/2020. Instructions included on the Form 460 indicate that any contribution of $100 or more must be returned within 60 days if the campaign cannot ascertain the address or employer of a contributor. As of the filing date, both contributions are over the 60-day period and are both over $100.”
The Form 460 is filed with the city by any candidate who is going to raise more than $2,000. The form is filled out using an automated system called Netfile. It prompts the user for information and then allows him to proceed.
Greene added, “Also, included on the 460 report, is a loan given to the campaign by the candidate. Listed in the candidate’s Occupation/Employer column is ‘Social Worker/Unemployed.’ This entry for Occupation/Employer is the same on all 460s filed with the city by the Czerwonka campaign. This entry is in conflict with other official paperwork which the campaign has filed with the city and the County of San Diego.”
Greene added, “I inquired with the City Clerk and he provided me with Ms. Czerwonka’s justification for her ballot designation. She indicates she has been an Executive Vice President with a company called Nonprofit Success Group since January 2019. If she has been employed since January 2019, listing herself as ‘Social Worker/Unemployed’ on an official fundraising report is problematic.”
The Times-Advocate contacted Czerwonka, who said that the problem with Form 460 derived from a misunderstanding by her campaign treasurer, who, when filling out the Form 460 thought the instructions indicated you couldn’t put a P.O. box if you didn’t have a physical address for a contributor. So the treasurer left the space blank.
“All we have to do is refile,” said Czerwonka.
The newspaper spoke to City Clerk Zachery Beck, who confirmed that when the blank that was left in the form was brought to his attention, he told Czerwonka, “You could make an amended 460.” He said this kind of error is not considered a violation but a misunderstanding of the directions. When asked he said, “This is not the first time I’ve seen this.”
Czerwonka said, “It was a misunderstanding of the directions. I’m very focused on running my campaign and running a clean one. If someone does some wrong, we’ll correct it.”
Greene said he felt this was a “recurring problem” with Czerwonka, “I have disproved claims which Ms. Czerwonka has made previously concerning her qualifications and elected history. The people of Escondido deserve a council member they can trust from the very beginning and should not have to worry about the truth in their claims.”