FELIX ADAMO / Bakersfield Californian

Michael Rubio, who resigned his Senate seat Feb. 22, revealed he was a partner in a real estate investment firm with Majid Mojibi.

California senator was business partner to oil exec who lent money for home

Published: Sunday, Mar. 3, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Tuesday, May. 21, 2013 - 6:24 am

While serving as a state senator, Michael Rubio also was a business partner with a Kern County oil executive who contributed to his campaign and loaned him money to buy a home in El Dorado Hills, newly released state records show.

Rubio, an East Bakersfield Democrat who resigned Feb. 22 to work for Chevron, reported on state disclosure forms that he was a partner with Majid Mojibi in a Bakersfield-based real estate investment firm, M&R Investment Group.

The partnership participated in two real estate deals in 2012 – one involving ownership and operation of a Bakersfield office building, which records show M&R bought for $2.5 million. The other deal involved agricultural land.

Rubio said he received no income from the venture in 2012. The partnership received loans of more than $100,000 from Mojibi, according to disclosure forms submitted to the state Fair Political Practices Commission.

As a senator, Rubio's income was $95,291 last year, plus roughly $25,000 to $30,000 in per diem for living expenses in Sacramento. His wife earned income of less than $100,000 as a dental hygienist last year, records show.

State law does not prohibit legislators from working second jobs or participating in investment partnerships, but it requires disclosure. Rubio and other state elected officials complied with that mandate Friday.

Rubio's FPPC disclosure statement showed he received $17,186 in gifts and free trips last year, including $1,292 in meals and trips from oil interests.

The form also separately listed a transaction, detailed Thursday in The Bee, in which the senator received a loan from Mojibi's DCM Asset Management to buy an El Dorado Hills home.

The state does not require disclosure of the precise amount that Rubio borrowed to buy the $681,000 home, which is 4,660 square feet and has four fireplaces and a swimming pool.

Rubio's newly filed disclosure statement said the loan was for a "personal residence' and was for six months, at 6 percent interest, and for an amount "over $100,000." The FPPC does not require specificity.

Rubio told The Bee that Mojibi provided the loan after a bank had turned him down for a conventional mortgage. Two months later, still unable to get a conventional loan, he gave the house to Mojibi and is now renting it, he said.

Previously, DCM Assets Management, registered to Mojibi, had purchased a Bakersfield home that Rubio had to put up for a short sale in 2011. The company paid $185,000 for the two-bedroom house, records show.

Rubio said the company bought his former house for another Mojibi family member after the home, which he acquired for $270,000 in 2004, was put on the market through a real estate agent.

The former senator told The Bee last week that the Mojibis and their interests, which contributed $14,697 to Rubio's Senate campaign, received no special treatment from his office.

Rubio, who had been expected to lead the charge to revise California's environmental law, resigned with nearly two years remaining in his first term. He said joining Chevron would allow him to focus more on his family, which includes a young daughter who receives treatment for Down syndrome.

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