Lake Forest City Councilman Adam Nick, who led an effort to make stealing campaign signs a misdemeanor, acknowledged Thursday he removed campaign signs belonging to fellow Councilman Scott Voigts — an acknowledgment made as part of a deal with prosecutors to drop charges against him.
Nick also donated $1,000 to the Victim Witness Emergency Fund and performed eight hours of community service, according to Deputy District Attorney Jess Rodriguez. Nick also submitted a signed letter acknowledging his role in the case, Rodriguez said.
“I appreciate the opportunity to resolve the current case pending in Orange County Superior Court,” Nick wrote.
“On October 9, 2014, I directed the removal of illegally placed campaign signs belonging to another person,” according to the letter. “In order to resolve this matter without the distraction of a public trial, I have donated $1,000 to the Victim Witness Emergency Fund, and performed 8 hours of community service. I understand that the district attorney will resolve the case by way of dismissal of charges.”
Nick’s attorney, Paul Meyer, emphasized that his client did not admit stealing the signs and that the councilman is “exonerated” by the dismissal of charges.
“He’s not admitting any theft,” Meyer told City News Service. “Mr. Nick confirmed he removed illegally placed signs and the District Attorney after a thorough evaluation … has dismissed the case.”
Misdemeanor charges against Nick were dropped as part of the deal.
“I would note that many first-time-offender petty theft cases resolve for dismissals in exchange for much smaller donations, or perhaps providing a DNA sample,” Rodriguez said. “However it was felt that as a public official, Mr. Nick should be held to a higher standard. This resolution accomplishes that while sparing taxpayers the expense of a public trial.”
Nick, who was mayor pro tem at the time, was seen last October by Orange County sheriff’s deputies directing the removal of Voigts’ campaign signs, according to Rodriguez. Voigts is currently the city’s mayor.
Nick, 50, illegally parked his vehicle about 2 a.m. Oct. 9 at Bake Parkway and Trabuco Road and directed a passenger to get out of his car and take one of Voigts’ campaign signs, the prosecutor said.
When deputies searched Nick’s car, they found about 10 other Voigts signs, Rodriguez said, while noting that Nick was not running against Voigts for election to the council at the time.
Last year, Nick led the charge to make it a misdemeanor to steal or deface campaign signs, the prosecutor said.
— Wire reports