Villaraigosa's Florida money

Good piece of enterprise reporting by Copley's David Zahniser, who found that 19 employees of Miami-based Travel Traders, which operates hotel gift shops, are listed as giving $1000 each to Villaraigosa's runoff campaign. The donors included top executives and less well-paid staff such as a help desk manager and an executive assistant. When Zahniser called, most refused to say anything or seemed surprised their names were listed. Most, he found, also had been listed as contributors under a separate company name on the disclosure reports Villaraigosa filed during the primary. As Zahniser points out, if the firms actually made the contributions then put them in the names of employees to get around L.A.'s $1,000 limit — or reimbursed workers for pouring cash into a mayor's race 3,000 miles from Florida — it's against the law here and even gets prosecuted these days. Ask Pierce O'Donnell or Alan Casden. Villaraigosa campaign manager Ace Smith says the workers who didn't answer are entitled to their privacy, but Hahn consultant Kam Kuwata quipped, "If I wrote a $1,000 check, I would know, I would remember."

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