Thursday, April 2, 1998

Holt loaned himself money, report finds

‘At the minimum,
he has misreported’ campaign
expenditures, leaving a
$53,000 discrepancy

By Richard Borreca

Former state Sen. Milton Holt made loans of $11,500 to himself and misreported $30,000 in payments to a public relations firm, according to a new report filed late yesterday with the state Campaign Spending Commission.

Holt's accountant, Frank Kudo, told Robert Watada, campaign spending executive director, that Holt had loaned himself $2,000 in 1991 that was never reported. The filing turned in yesterday showed an extra $9,500 loaned to Holt by his campaign in June 1996.

The commission is reviewing Holt's campaign financial records after a report showed his campaign fund was missing more than $43,000.

The actual amount of the discrepancy, according to figures provided by Holt, was $53,000.

Watada said campaign spending law does not allow for a candidate to loan himself money.

"At the minimum, he has misreported all of this," Watada said.

"Loaning himself funds is a problem, as a general rule. The commission has never allowed a candidate to loan himself money," Watada said.

Watada and commission auditors will now go over the records provided by Holt.

It is likely that Holt will have to prove the expenditures with canceled checks or other evidence, Watada said.

"The revisions reflect misposting of certain expense checks and/or the amounts, and computer input errors," Kudo said.

"We believe that with this amended filing, the report has been fully reconciled."

The balance in Holt's account is $56.

But Watada warned that failure to comply could lead to an administrative fine of either $1,000 or up to three times the amount of the contribution in question.

Or, Watada said, if the commission feels that there was a willful violation, the case could be turned over to the city prosecutor or state attorney general. Criminal violation of a campaign spending law is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.

Holt's new report also lists his campaign as incorrectly reporting $4,800 as public-funds contributions, $6,700 in bills from Ryan's Graphics as never posted and $9,100 in contributions not listed.

Also, the new report says Holt failed to carry forward a cash balance of $4,500 from his 1995 campaign spending report.

The largest discrepancy, however is a bill from Professional Communications, listed at $20,000 but actually $50,000.

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