Elk Grove City Council Member Fined $3,500 for Personal Use of Campaign Funds

Written By EGN on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 | 15:00

August 19, 2014 |

An Elk Grove City Council Member has been fined $3,500 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for illegal use of campaign funds.

The fine is being assessed against second-term council member Steve Detrick after he used campaign funds to finance his son Brian’s on-going defamation lawsuit against Elk Grove resident Connie Conley. The fine, which will be officially levied at the FPPC’s Thursday, August 21 regular meeting, is a stipulation agreement whereby Detrick will acknowledge that he illegally used funds for personal purposes.

Elk Grove City Council Member
Steve Detrick. 
In levying the fine, which could be a maximum of $5,000, the FPPC report noted that Detrick acknowledged his payment of over $93,000 to the Sacramento-based law firm Boutin Jones for Brian Detrick’s litigation cost. Detrick said he believed he was legally using his campaign funds to pay for his son’s legal expenses against Conley, whom he considered a political rival.

The report noted “Respondent [Detrick] contends that at the time he directed the payments he mistakenly believed they were lawful expenditures of the Committee’s funds because Constance Conley is a political rival and former employee of Respondent and he believed her allegedly libelous statements about Brian Detrick were motivated by her political and personal rivalry with Respondent.”

The report also noted the seriousness of violation saying “By using campaign funds to pay his son’s legal bills, Respondent violated this important provision of the Act. Further, Respondent violated the Act in a similar manner on a prior occasion by using campaign funds at a charitable auction and making personal use of the items purchased.”

The complaint was originally filed in February by Elk Grove resident Linda Ford. A co-founder of the Elk Grove Community Connection organization, Ford had been a volunteer on Detrick’s 2008 campaign.  

Ford did not respond to an email request seeking comment on the matter.    

This fine is the second for Detrick in the last three months from the FPPC. In June, Detrick was fined $1,500 for using $425 from his campaign funds to purchase a vacation package at a charitable event. 

Detrick did not respond to request to comment on the matter as of this posting. As of his June 30 financial disclosure filed with the Elk Grove City Clerk's office, Detrick has repaid his fund $31,500.

The stipulation agreement and the FPPC ruling can be viewed here.

Copyright © 2014 by Elk Grove News. All rights reserved.


Connie Conley said...

I was never an employee of Mr. Detrick's and have asked the FPPC to look into this false statement.

Too bad the reporter didn't verify that fact before posting this article. Fact checking is at the core of any investigative reporting.

Connie said...

Also, part of Detrick's fine negotiation is that he has to repay his campaign the $93,000 or be subject to multiple counts and fines by the FPPC.

F. Lee Bailey said...

He also claims Miss Conley is a political rival. Since when has she drawn paperwork to run for office?

Anonymous said...

You get fined for using campaign funds for personal use, but are allowed to pay the fine with campaign funds. What the....???? How is that possible?

Anonymous said...

Elk Grove Citizen, February 28, 2014 and April 11, 2014
“The elected official said he is not using campaign funds to pay for Brian’s legal fees.”

Elk Grove Citizen, August 5, 2014
His expenses included $60,183 in legal fees.
“I don’t have the time to battle the hundreds of complaints that have been filed against me, so I have to hire someone to manage that,” he recently said. “If there weren’t hundreds of complaints filed, I wouldn’t have these expenses.”

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a silent competition between the "honorable men" of Elk Grove City Council, "let's see who can be the biggest idiot and still get re-elected to the council" - HOLY MOLY!!!!! It's time to clean up the council just as the EGUSD board was cleaned up in 2012. Does this mean every Elk Grovian approves this kind of behavior as their leaders? If anyone out there pays any attention to these clowns, it would be embarassing for Elk Grove to be included in top 10 cities in CA? Even I am ashamed Elk Grove is in the spotlight.

Anonymous said...

In fact, let's bring back Jake Rambo and give him a shot on the council. I'd like to see another round of Rambo vs Cooper 2 or in this case, Rambo vs ANYONE. The politics in Elk Grove just gets funnier every year.

Anonymous said...

I may stand alone, but I think there is a sentiment that a lot of us are ready to have the reset button pushed and start electing "the people" again. Doctors, Teachers, Mechanics, Bankers, Clergy, Salesmen, etc; should be representing our community, not career politicians.

I propose single term limits in EG to minimize the fiduciary incentives our elected officials seem to be continually presented with by special interest groups.

Anonymous said...

Elk Grove is a big sad joke.

Gweneth said...

How embarrassing to our councilman and our city. These are the examples of why we are considered a laughing stock of the area. Add in Davis's pie-in-the-sky dream of getting MLS here and we look just foolish.

Mr. Detrick, thank you for your service. Please resign you position before we and you are further humiliated.

Pet Sounds said...

Neither Conley or Detrick are sympathetic characters. They both will what they deserve, in this case Detrick gets a hand slap on the wrist. God Only Knows what is in store for the two of them.

Big Broom in hand said...

Sadly Linda Ford's response in the Elk Grove Citizen says it all.

“Mr. Detrick has issued numerous public statements that the allegations put forth in FPPC complaints were false,” she said. “However, the FPPC, through their investigation, found the allegations to be true, and Mr. Detrick is guilty of misuse of campaign funds.”

I agree with Gweneth, Mr. Detrick resign before you, and by association, the city of Elk Grove, are further humiliated.

Michael Monasky said...

I know I shouldn't laugh, but this whole scene is hilarious.
The state FPPC staff cannot get Ms. Conley's name right; it refers to her twice in the findings as "Ms. Conway."
Gary Winuk, FPPC staff member, is a former Elk Grove City Planning Commissioner. Whatever happened to the appearance of political influence? What if Winuk had ruled in Detrick's favor?
In fact, Winuk has; he stated that Detrick could use campaign funds to defend himself, and to pay the fines. Detrick just cannot use them to defend his son's reputation in court, such as it is.

I'm still endorsing Anonymous for city council/mayor.
After reading what Councilmember Hume said in the Elk Grove Citizen about how much we love him that no one is running against him; what chutzpah!
It'll be a write-in campaign.
Care to join me?

Michael Monasky

Anonymous said...

What is the process to recall a council member in Elk Grove? Does anyone know?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Assembly member Connie Conway must be pleased that she was tied to the FPPC Detrick complaint.

Anonymous said...

Podunk hick town that grew up to be a future valley arm pit.

Anonymous said...

If you have the wrong names listed plus other erroneous information listed, would that not make the whole issue Null and Void?

Anonymous said...

I cannot get the FPPC document to load so I will ask my question. Does Detrick have to reimburse his campaign fund for the nearly 100,000 plus the penalty?

EGN said...

In the coming days EGN will seek an explanation from the FPPC on how Council Member Detrick's campaign fund needs to be repaid and how the money will be dispersed in different scenarios.

To Anon 19:53 said...

After reading the Stipulation Agreement posted on the FPPC's website, Detrick is to reimburse his campaign account the monies paid to Boutin Jones. You can be sure that he will be paying the $3500 fine out of his campaign account once he has replaced the illegally spent funds. It appears that the $3500 fine and reduction of counts against Detrick are in exchange for his admission of guilt/wrong doing and reimbursement of the $93K spent on his son's legal fees.

The curious thing is that in the current media reports Detrick denies agreeing to reimbursing his campaign account the over $93K spent. So maybe the real question is what next? Does the FPPC go back and charge him for the additional counts and increase the fine? If refuses to pay back his campaign account is this something that can be criminally prosecuted? Those are the questions you should be asking EGN.

Anonymous said...

Why would law firm Boutin Jones accept payments for Detrick Jr.’s attorney fees, with checks written from Detrick Sr.’s campaign account? You would think the law firm would have an obligation to say something to their client, before cashing $100K + in checks, resulting in FPPC fines.

Anonymous said...

Why would law firm Boutin Jones accept payments for Detrick Jr.’s attorney fees, with checks written from Detrick Sr.’s campaign account? Seems odd. You would think the law firm would have an obligation and knowledge to properly advise educate their client before cashing $100K + in checks, that would later result in FPPC fines.

Anonymous said...

Why would law firm Boutin Jones accept payments for Detrick Jr.’s attorney fees, with checks written from Detrick Sr.’s campaign account? This makes no sense. You would think a reputable law firm would have an obligation and the knowledge to properly advise and educate their client before cashing $100K + in checks, that would later result in FPPC fines.

Laguna Betty said...

It's about time to start holding these elected responsible for their misdeeds instead of turning a blind eye.

I ask Mr. Detrick to resign his position of trust and fiduciary duty that for which he has been entrusted. He has shown, admittedly, that he cannot be trusted and that he has lied to our citizens regarding his actions. He said he was innocent and that he would be proven innocent of these charges, yet he has plead guilty.

Please show some courage and take responsibility for your actions. This is a "teaching" moment to educate your kids on how to take responsibility and own up to your mistakes, intentional or not.

Please resign your position.

What The.... said...

Why would law firm Boutin Jones accept payments for Detrick Jr.’s attorney fees, with checks written from Detrick Sr.’s campaign account? This makes no sense. You would think a reputable law firm would have an obligation and the knowledge to properly advise and educate their client before cashing $100K + in checks, that would later result in FPPC fines and bad press.

SteveB6509 said...

I agree with the post above. Conceivably, he could pull out of politics and not have to pay the fine at all. I doubt that is the case since he already paid about $30K.

Anonymous said...

So is Steve "Mr. Honesty, Integrity, Morality and Accountability" Detrick going to issue a statement as to why he lied to the Elk Grove constituency that he didn't spend $93K campaign funds on Brian's lawsuit?

Is an apology forthcoming to the four ladies he falsely accused and to the rest of Elk Grove?

A page out of the Calderon hand book? said...

Boutin Jones does not care where the money came from, only that their legal fees are paid. I do not believe there is an obligation on the part of Boutin Jones to notify anyone, either Detrick or FPPC, that Baby Detrick's legal fees are being paid for out of Daddy's campaign account.

Anonymous said...

To SteveB6509:

Detrick did not repay $31,500 to his campaign account. He and his wife loaned his campaign money to cover the $56K bill to Boutin Jones.

Did Detrick think he could get away with paying the $96K for those legal fees and then hold a fundraiser to repay the loans. IMO, it borders on money laundering. This plan seems to be well thought out and that is what is so egregious here.

Detrick would have gotten away with it if those complaints weren't filed!

And yes, Detrick should resign!

Naomi said...

Anon @ 12:36 has a point.

The councilman did run on a "honesty, integrity and morality" soapbox.

Now that he's been proven to lack all three of these values, I do believe he owes an explanation and an apology to our citizens.

I don't believe he owes the four ladies anything, as their motives have been transparently vengeful and malicious from the start.

Mr. Detrick just fell into the dirty politics sinkhole and couldn't get out. He should be honorable and resign his position.
He has done some good things while serving, but these ill-advised actions seem to be multiplying by his own admission. Time to cut his losses, as well as ours.

Anonymous said...

An apology?? Are you crazy. The guys ego won't allow such things. I suspect there will be no press release, no public statement on behalf of the Detrick's. Baby Detrick just keeps living off mom and dad and dad keeps trying to reestablish his campaign fund. Wait til the SOI gets rolling again and see his war chest get filled up with developer money. Developer don't care about integrity and honesty; they just want their project pushed through. And for that purpose, Detrick can be trusted to perform.

Anonymous said...

Michael Monasky,

I am esteemed at your endorsement of me for City Council/Mayor. As a quid pro quo, your non-informative, boring articles on the most insignificant subjects will continue to be published here. Ever wonder why no one ever makes posts a comment?

Yours truly,


SteveB6509 said...

My "I agree with the post above" was to the post from 13 August at 20:09.