The Southern California law firm that has represented the Maloof family provided $80,000 to fund signature gathering for a campaign seeking to force a vote on Sacramento's arena subsidy.
Loeb & Loeb, which represented the Maloofs when they tried to sell the Sacramento Kings to a group in Seattle, transferred the money to the signature-gathering firm via an Orange County political consultant, according to a statement issued today by a political consultant involved in the signature campaign.
Paul Olson, head of Olson Campaigns, a company that organizes grass roots political campaigns, said in a statement that his firm had been hired by Southern California-based Powers Communication and that he has "traced the wire transfer (for money funding the effort) to a Los Angeles law firm Loeb & Loeb."
In a press statement issued this afternoon, Olson and local political campaign consultant Tab Berg said they have cut ties with the arena petition group.
"I have broken no laws, and I am not going to stand in front of those who refuse to take responsibility to try to throw my colleagues or I under the bus," Berg stated.
Speaking to The Bee, Olson said he did not know where Loeb & Loeb's money came from. He said the wire transfer from the law firm arrived about June 21.
George Maloof said his family is not involved.
"I know nothing about it. Zero," Maloof said. "I just called them (Loeb & Loeb), just now. This is the first I heard of it. They said it was for another client."
The FPPC is looking into the funding of the signature drive amid allegations that the funding was not properly reported to state elections officials. Olson told The Bee he met Thursday with FPPC investigators at a bank and turned over documents.
Olson's full statement continued: "We took this project in good faith, and have followed every law. We have always expected that those hiring us would comply fully with the law as well - or take responsibility for any mistakes they made. As soon as we learned about the complaint, we contacted the FPPC."
Any individual or group that spends more than $1,000 on a ballot measure campaign is required to file documentation with state elections officials forming a political committee, said Gary Winuk, chief of enforcement at the Fair Political Practices Commission. Expenditures and donations related to that campaign also must be reported.
Loeb & Loeb had not reported expenditures on an arena ballot measure as of this morning, Secretary of State records indicate.
If the money funding the signature drive originated with someone other than the law firm, that individual or group would also be required to report that activity, Winuk said. To date, no one has reported paying for signature gatherers.
Besides representing the Maloofs in their attempted Kings sale to Seattle investors this year, Loeb & Loeb worked for the family when they tried to move the team to Anaheim in 2011.
Scott Zolke, an attorney with Loeb & Loeb, declined comment.