Natomas Unified School District board member Lisa Kaplan has joined a list of California school officials who have been fined for receiving free meals from a bond advisory firm without disclosing them, according to the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
Kaplan allegedly accepted two meals with a total value of $138 in 2009 without reporting them. The state Political Reform Act requires public officials to report meals or other gifts received in excess of $50.
The FPPC investigation began after bond writers were asked to share their records. The political watchdog agency determined that only a handful of public officials who received gifts had properly reported them.
Kaplan said she was originally investigated for more than $300 in meals but was able to prove she didnt attend most of them. I looked at the places and I knew I hadnt been there, she said Wednesday. Two were on the same date one in San Francisco and one in Los Angeles.
The longtime board member said she does not recall attending a 2009 dinner hosted by bond adviser E.J. De La Rosa & Co. at Ella Dining Room and Bar in Sacramento, but had no way to prove it and decided to pay the $200 fine.
Maybe I made a mistake and forgot about it, she said.
Kaplan joined four other Sacramento-area officials 93 statewide who were fined as a result of the investigation. The four Sacramento-area officials fined last year include Sacramento City Unified trustee Diana Rodriguez ($400), former Sacramento City Unified trustee Roy Grimes ($200), Sacramento County Board of Education trustee Brian Rivas ($200) and former Roseville City School District board member Rene Aguilera ($200).
Most of the 93 people fined after the statewide investigation serve on school district boards. But the FPPC also cited representatives from cities, college districts, water districts and a redevelopment agency.
Kaplan was among 18 officials still being investigated when the bulk of the fines were announced. She and six others were fined this month.
Call The Bees Diana Lambert, (916) 321-1090. Follow her on Twitter @dianalambert.