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Former Sumner superintendent agrees to $2,000 fine over election year mailer
Former Sumner School District Superintendent Gil Mendoza on Thursday agreed to pay a $2,000 fine levied by the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission for failing to report his spending on a mailer during the 2011 school board election.
The commission fined Mendoza $4,500, but agreed upon the lower amount on the condition that Mendoza pay within two weeks and commit no further public disclosure violations for four years.
Mendoza and the district "mutually separated" in June 2011, during the filing period for the school board elections.
In October, Mendoza spent more than $8,000 of his own money to send a mailer supporting several candidates in the election and did not report the expenditure to the PDC within the 21 days required. He also did not disclose that he was the sender, instead using the name "Citizens Advocating a Responsible Education System (C.A.R.E.S.)" on the mailer.
Former Board President Sherm Voiles and candidate Ron Weigelt filed complaints against Mendoza.
The PDC charged Mendoza with Failure to timely file one expenditure report, failure to include propers sponsorship identification and concealing his identity as the source of the mailing by listing a fictitious entity as the sender.
In response to inquiries from the PDC, Mendoza responded that he used personal funds to pay for the advertisement and said he did not know he was required to include his name as the sponsor of the mailer and said he used the group name as a pseudonym because he believed including his name would bias the election, as he was well known in the community as the former superintendent.
The three candidates Mendoza supported win their board seats, though he did not coordinate with or contact the candidates prior to sending out the mailer.
According to PDC Spokesperson Lori Anderson, Mendoza reached an agreement with the commission prior to the hearing and agreed to pay the $2,000 fine.
To view the complaints and Mendoza's response, click here.