Lawsuits and Fines Pending in New York Against WeHo Council Candidate Cole Ettman

While West Hollywood’s City Prosecutor is looking into allegations that City Council candidate Heidi Shink has violated local campaign finance laws, lawsuits remain pending on the other side of the country against WeHo Council candidate Cole Ettman for failing to pay fines  for alleged violations of New York State campaign finance laws.

Cole Ettman
Cole Ettman

The New York State Board of Elections has confirmed that 13 lawsuits have been filed against a committee formed for Ettman’s 2004 campaign for a New York State Senate seat. The board of elections alleges Ettman’s committee failed to pay fines assessed against it for not revealing  the amount and source of contributions to Ettman’s campaign. The fines total $6,549 plus an unspecified amount of interest. Ettman lost the Democratic primary race for the state Senate seat, which serves Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, with only 19 percent of the vote. While the lawsuits were filed against Ettman’s campaign committee, under New York law the candidate is responsible for the financial activities of the committee. The treasurer for the committee was Rachelle Ettman, Cole Ettman’s mother.

When questioned about the allegations today, Ettman said  he had sent a check to pay the fines as soon as he learned about the matter. However, a letter from the New York State Board of Elections dated April 17, 2015, said that as of that date it had not received the financial contribution reports or payment of the fine. Documents provided by the elections board show it made multiple attempts over the years to reach Rachelle Ettman by certified mail to demand she resolve the situation. Letters also were sent to Ettman, who moved to California from New York City six years ago.

Ettman was involved in another legal dispute in New York City in 2007. He and Alan Rocoff, a lawyer, were partners in a Brooklyn real estate firm that was sued in 2007 by Century 21, the national real estate firm, for violations of its franchise agreement. Century 21 alleged that Ettman’s firm failed to pay more than $90,000 in licensing and other fees. Ettman settled the lawsuit out of court before it went to trial. He was represented in the suit by the law firm of Levine & Blit, whose Beverly Hills office he now manages.

Rocoff, who certified the papers that Ettman filed to run for the state Senate seat, also worked with Ettman on local political campaigns in New York City, at least one of which was controversial. That was a campaign by Dawn Jimenez, a New York Housing Court judge, who ran for a Civil Court judgeship. Rocoff and Ettman were alleged to have produced campaign literature citing support for Jimenez from a newspaper and other prominent people who did not endorse her. Rocoff’s legal license was suspended in another scandal when he came under investigation for stealing more than $200,000 received from an auction of a foreclosed church building in Brooklyn in 2005. The money was owed to the church’s pastor.

Ettman and Shink are two of four candidates in the June 2 election to fill one seat on the West Hollywood City Council.  Other candidates are Larry Block, owner of The Block Party clothing store, and John Heilman, a law professor and former Council member who lost his bid for re-election to the Council’s March 3 general election..

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Guy Privaton (@guyprivaton)

I agree w/ Jim

Lyn Etcetera
Lyn Etcetera
5 years ago

@JIm, you may view the video, as the politicians in the room were acknowledged right before the swearing in and Lindsey says, “He said he’d be here.” That could be covered any way you would like to interpret it but I was there.

Lyn Etcetera
Lyn Etcetera
5 years ago

@JIm, You might want to watch the video of when Lindsey notes by name, the politicians there, right before the swearing in and says, “he said he would be here.” @weho loyalist, Ego, or ergo I’ve met Cole. I find his community caring to be genuine, running in a race where all the HUGE amounts of money to run in this flawed system of a city of 35,000 residents in WHY bother ?, hold sway on EVERY mailer’s “paid for…” Me personally, in this flawed system where horses get traded like cattle rustling, I’d like to get back to home.… Read more »

JIm
JIm
5 years ago

@Lyn, John Heilman was at the swearing in. Your too focused on the negative John Heilman but very forgiving to Mr. Ettman. Mistakes in his youth? this is pending now and he is a full grown adult almost 40 and these events are recent. He ran away from NY and these charges, more than one, 13 lawsuits? .. John Heilman has never had 13 lawsuits in 30 years. The real credible alternative to Heilman is going to lose because the vote will be split. Cole Ettman has not championed a single thing in this community. In fact, the Cole that… Read more »

weho loyalist
weho loyalist
5 years ago

Im confused- this guy hasn’t done anything. Why support him,.. at our public facilities commission we chose to not elect him chair or vice chair, he is late to the meetings and after we voted he came in and said, ‘lets do it over’, his ethical stuff is crazy.. 13 lawsuits and fraud? — give me a break the guy lives here for 4 years and has not accomplished anything except pander and promise. He is the worst of the choices we have. The least experience. The least time in our community. And the biggest ego only out for himself.

Lyn Etcetera
Lyn Etcetera
5 years ago

Being new to weho politics after ending a 30 year boycott, I can only reflect in my observations of so far. heilman didn’t attend Mayor Horvath’s swearing in, being around successful politician’s like the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti would just be too much reality. heilman doesn’t do interviews or debates, you know. He did mosey on in later to the reception where he had friends take pics for his “scrapbook.” Not with Lindsey or in the cool photo pink background outdoor setup where Horvath, D’Amico, Meister, (Duran was missing in action) and participants (I will always treasure my… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
5 years ago

Yeah, Steve Martin is still gung ho for Cole. Please remember that it was Fran Solomon campaigning at City Hall on company time which is what sparked the entire Ian Owens controversy. That speaks loads on John Heilman’s supposed ethical superiority. Given who is supporting Mr. Heilman, you have to admit that he is the best West Hollywood Council member money can buy, (after John Duran). Based on his recent mailer, it appears that John Heilman is more credible as a cartoon character than as real person. I would remind Manny that Heilman undermined existing protections from McMansions for the… Read more »

Mike Dolan
Mike Dolan
5 years ago

@Lynn, once again you identify the ugliness that has infected our city and its clear we need to restore the institutional leader, John Heilman.

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
5 years ago

I appreciate your response. As I hope you’ve noted my disagreements are with some of your platform and positions, but I have no doubt you care about the city (as I know Heilman and Horvath and I hope Meister do) above some ego trip or desire for elevated status (though I expect Horvath to go quickly into higher political office). I’m glad we both worry about D’Amico. I definitely find you a more able voice for older veteran gay long time residents than the one who endorsed Ettman rather than you (which seemed shocking). Post election we should try to… Read more »

Larry Block
5 years ago

@Chris, I’m glad to say John Heilman called me the other day.. Hey Larry, I got you a vote! We have a good relationship and I’m not part of that stuff. To your math.. and for all to see, this is how I see it. Damico, Meister and Horvath had 6800 votes between them. Divide that by 3 and there are about 2300 single voters. Heilman got 2000 votes, and I got 1000 votes. Divide by 3 he has 667, and I have 333. There are 330 or so unique voters that separate us. Add in Joe Guardaramma voters, 1800,… Read more »

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
5 years ago

Larry – I really am offended that you and other long time council member opponents have the chutzpah to claim you can bring us all together. I know your agenda, oppose much of it, and think it would be bad for the city. If someone like you joins D’Amico and Meister on the council, the antipathy of ordinary average WeHoans to the council is likely to greatly increase. I have no idea what you mean by independent. I’m a progressive Dem, not committed to any one side in the city, but am voting for Heilman both because he is the… Read more »

One of Cassandra's Snakes
One of Cassandra's Snakes
5 years ago

Cole Ettman has stumbled like everyone else. Next we’ll hear a heartfelt apology from him, probably something like ” It wasn’t my fault.” Or, ” I’m soooo sorry. It will never happen again.” “Depends on what the meaning of ” is” is.” We’ve heard it all before. What I can’t figure out is why the three challengers can’t see the writing on the wall. “SPLIT VOTE = HEILMAN”. That should make Mike Dolan and Manny happy. Developers want/need Heilman back in office. They are crushing this city with concrete and steel and they don’t want to have to buy a… Read more »