The Los Angeles Ethics Commission Tuesday issued five fines, totaling $162,500, to companies and people who failed to register as lobbyists.
“The public has a vital interest in knowing who is attempting to influence city action,” said Melinda Murray, president of the Ethics Commission. “Today’s cases underscore the importance of that transparency and the accountability that applies to everyone who engages in city lobbying.”
Velada Consulting LLC, and its owner David Vela, were fined collectively $7,500 after admitting that they failed to register as lobbying entities in 2020 and failed to file a disclosure report for 2020’s second quarter, according to the commission. The company provides advocacy, meeting coordination, legislative updates, consensus building and agency coordination, its website said.
“I did not think that I ever met the 30-hour threshold to register to lobby,” Vela said in a statement to City News Service. “However in further review I do believe now that I met the threshold and I proceeded to register and paid all of the corresponding fees.”
The four other fines were issued for Craig Fry & Associates LLC and three of its employees. The company was founded in 2013 and says on its website that it “has grown to be one of the premier development and land use consulting firms within the greater Los Angeles area.”
Its services include residential and commercial permit expedition, land use and entitlements, cannabis compliance, project management, safety compliance and temporary permits. CFA could not immediately be reached for a statement.
It was fined $56,250 for failing to register as a lobbying firm in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and failing to file disclosure reports for each quarter during those years.
Craig Fry, a city official who co-founded the company and served as president, was fined $63,750 for failing to register as a lobbyist during those years and for failing to disclose reports for each quarter. He also allegedly failed to report a prohibited campaign contribution.
CFA’s project manager Michael Rueda was fined $22,500 for failing to register as a lobbyist in 2018 and 2019 and failing to file disclosure reports for three quarters in 2018 and all quarters in 2019.
CFA’s vice president Larry Mondragon was fined $12,500 for failing to register as a lobbyist in 2019 and not filing disclosure reports for each quarter that year.