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The city of San Diego’s Ethics Commission is now set to have its first ever administrative hearing to consider levying what could be a massive fine against former school board president Luis Acle.

Acle, who still sits on the board of education of San Diego Unified School District, will face off May 9 with Stacey Fulhorst, the executive director of the Ethics Commission. Both will argue in front of the full Ethics Commission.

Fulhorst just published her Full Administrative Complaint against Acle. Read it here. She alleges that, among many other things, Acle failed to pay people who worked for his 2005 campaign for City Council within the 180 days required. The total of the debts was $13,993. Each day that a debt is left unpaid past the due date constitutes one violation of city law and each violation of city law can be punished with a fine up to $5,000.

So we’re talking a potentially huge fine. But there was more:

Following the investigation, Petitioner (Fulhorst) concluded that the Respondent (Acle) failed to pay twelve campaign debts within 180 days, failed to disclose fourteen accrued expenses on numerous occasions, failed to disclose three contributions, failed to timely file two campaign statements, made two cash contributions to his campaign committee in excess of $100.00, and failed to maintain records associated with contributions and expenditures.

Some of these are technicalities of the Ethics Commission variety that candidates of all stripes have tripped over. But the debts are not and neither are the cash contributions, which are illegal, of course, because you can’t tell who is giving the money.

Acle has gotten to this point with the Ethics Commission because unlike most everyone else they investigate, he’s fighting the findings.

I talked to him just now and he was defiant.

“This whole thing is not only untrue but a manipulation of people who want to collect for a service they didn’t perform,” Acle said.

He said he wasn’t sure what else he could say about the issue. I asked what he thought of the way the Ethics Commission has handled things.

“I can’t say I’m happy with it,” Acle said.

As I wrote, the administrative hearing is set for May 9. It is open to the public. It will be held at 9 a.m. at City Hall in the room across from City Council chambers where committee meetings are usually held.

To look back on a profile we wrote of Acle, his potential ethics troubles and his style of leadership at the school board, click here. And for a look back on a post I wrote about the oddity that Fulhorst will be arguing with Acle in front of a panel that looks to Fulhorst all the time, click here.

SCOTT LEWIS

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