Trash hauler fined for campaign money laundering
Longtime Orange County trash hauler George S. Briggeman Jr. engaged in political money laundering and has agreed to pay the maximum fine of $15,000, according to documents released Monday by the state Fair Political Practices Commission.
The agreement is expected to be get final approval from the FPPC at its Oct. 15 meeting.
Briggeman used a Wyoming company, Green and Clean LLC, to funnel $13,200 into 2012 city council races in Anaheim, Lake Forest and Cypress, according to the FPPC. The money was transferred from Green and Clean to Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods, which made independent expenditures for six candidates and against three others in those three cities.
“This case involves a series of transactions calculated to intentionally prevent the public from learning the true source of funds,” according to the FPPC’s findings. “The violations here are especially egregious because they were intentional, deliberate and the activity associated with the violations was intended to circumvent the central purposed of the (state Political Reform) Act.”
Briggeman has since sold his waste companies, Consolidated Disposal Services and Briggeman Disposal Services, to Republic Services. He did not respond to requests for comment.
Five of the six candidates supported by Briggeman won their races and two of the three he opposed lost.
His company never won contracts in Anaheim or Lake Forest — in fact, it did not end up bidding on the subsequent Lake Forest contract.
However, his company operated continuously in Cypress for more than two decades, under the ownership of Briggeman and then Republic Services. Valley Vista Services was awarded the city’s hauling contract by the City Council in July, said Cypress City Clerk Denise Basham.
The FPPC settlement isn’t the first time Briggeman’s political donations have raised legal issues.
In 2010, a court petition was filed against Consolidated Disposal and the city of Los Alamitos. It alleged that Briggeman made campaign contributions through Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods “with the condition that this committee would monetarily support local city council candidates who agree that they would approve a contract to his business,” according to FPPC documents.
In 2011, a judge granted the petition and invalidated the contract between Consolidated Disposal and the city, “but did not make a decision whether Briggeman made contributions with an agreement to contract with his business,” according to the FPPC.
Among the winning candidates supported by Briggeman’s campaign money was Anaheim Councilwoman Lucille Kring.
“This is completely news to me,” Kring said Monday. “Briggeman is a new name to me.”
Anaheim last approved a new trash contract in March 2012, according to city spokeswoman Ruth Ruiz. That was before Kring was elected. Losing Anaheim candidate John Leos was also supported by the PAC that Briggeman helped fund, and winning candidate Jordan Brandman was opposed by PAC.
Neither immediately responded to requests for comment.
In Lake Forest, winning candidates Adam Nick and Dwight Robinson were supported by the Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods PAC, while losing candidates Terry Anderson and Marcia Rudolph were opposed by it.
Anderson said he felt the money of developers and other special interests, using Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods and other PACs, cost him the close election.
“It’s refreshing to see a little justice,” he said of the FPPC fine against Briggeman.
Rudolph is deceased. Robinson and Nick said they’d never heard of Briggeman.
In Cypress, winning candidates Rob Johnson and Mariellen Yarc were supported by the PAC.