FPPC opens, and closes, Kranz inquiry

ENCINITAS — The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission closed an investigation into conflict-of-interest claims against Encinitas Councilman Tony Kranz five days after opening it.

The complaint, filed by former Councilman Jerome Stocks, accused Kranz of conflict of interest when he voted for the Leichtag Foundation’s November 2013 request to use some of its farmland property on Saxony Road for office space, four months after he had accepted a trip to Israel from the Jewish Federation of San Diego, which is a major donor to the Leichtag Foundation.

The FPPC opened the investigation on Sept. 10, but closed it in a letter dated Sept. 15 that said that a conflict of interest would have only arisen if he voted on a request by the Jewish Federation, not the Leichtag Foundation.

“The Conflict of interest disqualification requirements apply to decisions regarding the source of the gift, which in this case was the Jewish Federation of San Diego County, not the Leichtag Foundation,” said the letter penned by Galena West, the FPPC’s enforcement chief.

Kranz said he was not surprised by the brevity of the investigation, which he said was a politically motivated attack by Stocks.

“Stocks is a bitter ex-politician who still can’t get over the fact that the voters un-elected him,” Kranz said.  “He is desperate for attention and will stoop to making unfounded allegations against me and others to try and defame us.”

The 45-page complaint, co-authored by San Diego political activist Ken Moser, also alleged Kranz of failing to identify who paid for newspaper advertisements during his 2012 council campaign and of failing to disclose his wife’s attendance on the 2013 trip to Israel.

West in her response stated that election committees were not required to disclose the source of payment for political ads and that Kranz had paid for his wife’s trip in full so it did not have to be disclosed.

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