TheLiberalOC has a history of publishing stories about candidates for public office, who would have authority over public tax dollars, despite a history of horrible management of their personal finances. Republican State Rep Bill Brough comes to mind as do former Santa Ana city council member Michelle Martinez and Santa Ana school board/city council candidate Art Pedroza all come to mind.
Documents obtained by TheLiberalOC paint a troubling portrait of California Democratic Party chair candidate Kimberly Ellis. And while the Party isn’t using tax dollars, Ellis’ financial history calls into question her ability to manage the Party’s money.
Ellis is running for CDP chair after narrowly losing in 2017. Her fans take any serious question against her as an attack, which strikes me as being a bit thin-skinned. She’s a credible candidate to lead the party when the 2019 convention is held in San Francisco, there’s still a bit of a hangover from many delegates for how she dragged out the results of the election well after the close race was decided (each vote is public and the voter’s identity is known, so a forensic audit of votes really means nothing).
I recall she evaded answering questions at the DPOC meeting two years ago when addressing the issue of “dark money” in the party. She called me a couple of months ago and we discussed whether money from progressive technology executives would be considered “dark money” and she said no. It was actually a very pleasant conversation and I found her personally very charming.
But some cold hard facts have emerged that call into question her ability to lead the party.
Over the past two weeks, sources reached out to me encouraging me to dig into her finances; I asked for proof and was sent multiple documents that prove Ellis has a history of tax liens and financial judgements against her. There’s a lot to slog through and a lot of repetitive information. But the numbers are shocking and the calendar dates of the filing are troubling. Delegates should demand answers about how Ellis manages her finances and the finances of organizations that she manages. I’d hate to see what her credit score might be.
Ellis has racked up multiple liens and judgements against her including:
- The newest IRS lien was filed in December 26, 2018 for $9,464.
- $36,628.15 IRS tax lien from 2009-2012 in Contra Costa County filed in April 2014 and in State Court in September 2014.
- A federal tax lien filed April 9, 2014 in Contra Costa County Court citing Ellis’ address in Richmond, CA
- A civil judgement of $22,620 filed in Contra Costa Superior Court in December 2008
- A civil judgment of $995 filed in September 2002 in Oakland Municipal Court
- A federal tax lien filed December 26, 2018 for $9,464 filed in Contra Costa County and with the Business Programs Division in Sacramento covering debts from 2013 to 2016. This is after she reported raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to run for CDP chair.
- Records show two judgments against Ms. Ellis from Jacksonville State University Davin Loan Program with a judgment in the University’s favor recorded as $28,614.00 in 2009 and $22,620 in 2008.
- In 2012, she defaulted on $186,800 from a loan by Bank of New York secured in 2005 for $367,200. It appears this is a mortgage on a property Ellis owned in Richmond that was placed in pre-foreclosure in January 2015 and October 2012 and carried an amount of default of $265,711 and there appears to be a second mortgage of $91,800.
- Ellis reported raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to run for CDP chair in 2017 and for the current race. Try as we might, I cannot locate any financial disclosure documents for either race as required by the State of California or the IRS.
I contacted Ellis via text yesterday alerting her to this story and these disclosures and asked for a statement. I also asked if she would release her tax returns. I received this response from her Friday morning May 17.
“It’s unfortunate that, once again, as our campaign starts to pull ahead in this race, the negative attacks resurface. I would ask that you do not entertain the suggestion to put out potential false and outdated information. I’m winning this election and I want to do it surrounded by positivity. We have enough nastiness and negativity coming out of the White House. Hope you’ve been well.”
I’ve struggled with this story but believe daylight is always the best disinfectant. I’ve reviewed hundreds of pages of documents from government sources and services that provide data on financial liens and judgments. If there is an error, I’m certain someone will point it out and I will correct the record upon verification.
The simple truth is delegates need to know the record of those running.
The convention is weeks away. The party delegates will choose a new leader – one that has the daunting task of herding cats to unify the party going into the critical 2020 presidential cycle and Congressional elections. The new chair will hold tremendous power over the County party infrastructure throughout the state to help Democrats gain a greater foothold in local elections.
None of the candidates running for Chair is perfect. All have faults. But the party chair is going to have access to significant amounts of money to operate the party and move the Democratic agenda forward. That person needs to know how to manage money.
It’s prudent to call on every candidate for CDP chair to release their taxes and address conflicts of interest. In the case of Ellis, she needs to explain the liens and judgements against her. And once delegates have all the information they need, then they can choose the next chair of the CDP.
Attached, you’ll find photos of some of the filings. Identifying file/account numbers and personal address information have been redacted.