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Filing Shows Recall Bonin Campaign Raised Less Than Claimed, Throwing Recent Larger Claims Into Question

Recall Bonin proponents offered LADOT $10,000 for street safety. Initial campaigns filings show they raised only $41,492 through September 30. Screenshot via Facebook Video

It appears that the Recall Bonin campaign may have exaggerated their own fundraising prowess. The campaign claimed to have raised "over $72,000" and "nearly $100,000." Last week's legal filing that shows the campaign raised just $41,462 and borrowed $20,000.

In an October 6 press release the Recall Bonin Campaign claimed to have "raised over $72,000." The campaign assertion appeared in an article at Palisades News.

Screenshot of Recall Bonin website claiming more than $72,000 raised by October 6
Screenshot of Recall Bonin website claiming "over $72,000" raised on October 6
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At an October 30 press event Recall Bonin Co-Chair Alexis Edelstein claimed that the campaign had raised "close to $100,000."

Late last week, the Recall Bonin campaign (legally called "Committee to Support the Recall of Mike Bonin") filed the legal document that details their actual finances. According to the campaign's first quarterly Form 540, for the period of July 1 through September 30, the campaign raised $41,462 from donations and received a loan of $20,000 from Edelstein.

Theoretically, the campaign could have raised an additional $30,000+ between October 1 and October 6. The true campaign picture should be clearer when they file their next quarterly report in late January 2018.

The form shows that the campaign spent $15,268 that quarter, including paying Edelstein $6,000 as a consultant. In addition to those expenditures, the campaign also made a show of promising to pay $10,000 to the L.A. City Transportation Department (LADOT) to install safety features where Damon Shear was killed.

In other recall campaign news, last Friday Edelstein posted an hour-plus-long Facebook Live recording of a stunt where he visits Councilmember Mike Bonin's City Hall offices acting as if he is attempting to serve the notice legally required to get the recall campaign officially underway.

Los Angeles election law (PDF, page 61) specifies that the parties initiating a recall need to service a specific "Notice of Intention" to both the elected official targeted and to the City Clerk "either personally or by certified mail." The campaign had hosted a media event last Monday stating that later that day they were supposedly filing a recall notice of intent with the City Clerk, though, as of Tuesday, a City Clerk spokesperson stated that the recall notice had not yet been filed.

According to what Edelstein says on Friday's video, last week he had tried to serve the recall notice to Bonin via "priority mail" instead of certified mail.

On the video, Edelstein apparently gave the recall notice to the Bonin staffer working the front desk, then requested a legal receipt. The staffer responds that he cannot do what Edelstein is requesting, then puts Bonin Chief of Staff Chad Molnar on speaker phone. Molnar requests that Edelstein submit the document via certified mail. Edelstein goes on at length, claiming that Molnar is "making a scene," and requesting that Bonin staff notify security. Edelstein later repeats the false claim that Bonin is "sticking his hand into Measure M money for mass transit and for fixing potholes" to use for Playa Del Rey safety improvements.

SBLA readers are likely well aware that Councilmember Bonin has a very strong record as one of the city's best livability champions. Bonin has long demonstrated leadership for multi-modal transportation, safety, and sustainability. Readers interested in signing up to receive updates on pro-Bonin efforts should go to Reject the Recall.

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