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San Diego Democrats stood by labor leader amid sexual misconduct allegation, got $10K the next day

Joshua Stewart, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in News & Features

In her response to Ochoa, Hayes determined that Kasparian hadn't forfeited his seat. He had an excuse for missing one of the meetings -- she didn't say what it was -- and she said she couldn't hold that absence against him.

Another meeting Kasparian missed didn't count either, she said, because the subcommittee lost its attendance records for a different meeting -- not the one Kasparian skipped.

"We cannot count January," Hayes wrote in response to Ochoa.

Ochoa declined to comment.

A day after Hayes determined Kasparian could stay in the party's inner circle, the Democratic Central Committee received $10,000 from Local 135, a donation that was larger than all but five contributions that Democrats received in 2017. It followed a $5,000 contribution the union gave in April, the party's campaign finance records show.

Hayes said that the contribution probably was made before questions about Kasparian's attendance were raised, and the check was drafted on Local 135's own schedule.

"A check we received on Sept. 6 was likely mailed a couple days prior and approved well before that," Hayes said. "Whatever the process was, there is clearly no connection with my later email exchange with a Central Committee member."

Hayes said she wasn't aware that the party would receive a contribution until weeks after it actually arrived.

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The Union-Tribune surveyed 28 Democratic officeholders and candidates, asking a series of yes-or-no questions about Kasparian. Many declined to answer in that format. Of those who did, eight said he should resign from his union leadership position.

Six respondents said the party has not handled the allegations against him appropriately, while three said the party's action was appropriate.

Five Democrats said they would not accept an endorsement or a contribution or campaign support from an organization run by Kasparian. Seven said they would accept support.

Campaign finance reports show that State Sen. Ben Hueso, D-Golden Hill, and Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-Mission Hills, both received $4,200 in contributions from Local 135. The union made donations to Hueso on Aug. 14 and to Gloria on Oct. 30.

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