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New council hopeful turned mayor into FPPC

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POSTED August 8, 2014 1:31 a.m.

LATHROP – First he turned Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal in to the Fair Political Practices Commission for what he perceived was “money laundering activity.”

And now he wants his job. 

In just the latest round of additions to a growing roster of Lathrop council hopefuls, Balwant Singh Sandhu – the man that stood at the lectern two years ago with a cashed $500 check that he said was evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Dhaliwal’s campaign – pulled the paperwork that will make him, if he qualifies, the fourth person in the race. 

Things, as they say, are getting interesting.

Dhaliwal’s campaign was slapped with a fine by the FPPC after accounting irregularities from his 2010 campaign surfaced and after an investigation into the matter concluded. He said that he and his family were caring for a sick loved one at the time. He has since retained the services of a professional campaign accountant to make sure nothing like happened, happens again.

But while bad blood may be in the water today, it wasn’t in 2010 when Singh was helping Dhaliwal – who had already become an established Lathrop politician by that point – by making a $500 donation to his personal campaign fund and “loan” payments totaling $7,500. 

The entire disclosure prompted one community activist – Rosalinda Valencia, who has since become the first mayoral candidate to qualify for the ballot – to call for his job. 

Sandhu, however, wasn’t without his own controversy. He was a prolific campaign fundraiser, but questions were posed about whether he actually lived at the Lathrop address listed on his campaign paperwork – with some finger pointing and allegations that he actually had a home in Manteca. 

Dhaliwal submitted his campaign paperwork to the city clerk on Wednesday.

Things for the two available seats on the Lathrop City Council – currently occupied by Paul Akinjo and Omar Ornelas – aren’t shaping up to be any less contentious. 

In addition to the two incumbents, Brent Maynor, Debbie Rock and former Councilman Christopher Mateo were already known. But on Wednesday, three more candidates – Connie Lum-Perez, Antonio Adorno-Castro and Frank Cavaco – took the first step towards entering the race. They’ll have until the end of the day today to gather at least 20 signatures and return the packet back to Lathrop City Clerk Mitzi Ortiz by the end of the day. So far only Mateo, Akinjo and Rock have submitted their signatures, and Akinjo and Mateo have qualified. 


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