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For Immediate Release
March 9, 2006

 

Contact:
Kelly Huff
Bob Biersack
Ian Stirton
George Smaragdis

FEC ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT IN NEVADA CONTRIBUTION REIMBURSEMENT SCHEME

Washington -- The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has entered into a conciliation agreement with James Rhodes, a Las Vegas, Nevada real estate developer and his Nevada based companies, Rhodes Design and Development Corporation (RDDC), Bravo, Inc. (d/b/a Rhodes Framing) and Rhodes Ranch General Partnership, along with Nadine Giudicessi, and James A. Bevan to resolve violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act resulting from a corporate reimbursement scheme.

The conciliation agreements resulted in total civil penalties of $159,000. Rhodes, RDDC, Bravo and Rhodes Ranch are jointly responsible for $148,000 of the penalty. Giudicessi and Bevan are each responsible for $5,500 of the penalty.  

According to the conciliation agreement, during the 2002 election cycle, Rhodes conducted a contribution reimbursement scheme resulting in contributions totaling $27,000 to Dario Herrera’s campaign in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional district and $10,000 to the Senate campaign of Harry Reid.  The contributions were made in the names of 14 RDDC employees and two of their spouses. At Rhodes’s request, Ms. Giudicessi, who was RDDC’s Corporate Controller and Mr. Bevan, RDDC’s Chief Financial Officer, solicited 12 other employees to make contributions to the Herrera and Reid Committees. Giudicessi and Bevan solicited and collected contribution checks from fellow employees, a fellow employee’s husband and Giudicessi’s husband.

The investigation concluded that the recipients of the contributions were not aware of the actual source of the funds.

The Act prohibits corporations from making contributions or expenditures from their general treasury funds in connection with any election of any candidate for federal office. The Act also prohibits any officer or director of any corporation from consenting to any expenditure or contribution by the corporation. In addition, it is unlawful for any person to make a contribution in the name of another, or for any person to knowingly permit his or her name to be used to make such a contribution.

In the conciliation agreement, Rhodes admitted to violating the Act by assisting RDDC and Bravo in making corporate contributions to the Herrera and Reid Committees in his name as well as the names of others, and by consenting to those contributions. Rhodes also admitted to violating the law by making excessive contributions with partnership funds to the Herrera Committee in the names of others.  Rhodes Ranch admitted to violating the law by making excessive contributions to the Herrera and Reid Committees in the names of others, while RDDC and Bravo admitted to violating the law by making corporate contributions in the names of others to the Herrera and Reid Committees.

Pursuant to the conciliation agreements, both Giudicessi and Bevan admitted to violating the Act by assisting the Rhodes respondents in making contributions to the Hererra and Reid Committees in the names of others, as well as allowing their names to be used.  

The conciliation agreement contains admissions of the violations, prohibitions on future misconduct, and a waiver of the respondents’ right to a refund of all impermissible contributions referenced in the agreement. The committees who received the funds have been instructed to disgorge the illegal contributions to the U.S. Treasury.        

1.

MUR 5305

RESPONDENTS:

(a)   James M. Rhodes

(b)   Rhodes Design and Development Corp.

(c)   Bravo Inc, d/b/a Rhodes Framing

(d)   Rhodes Ranch General Partnership

(e)   James A. Bevan, Chief Financial Officer, Rhodes Design and Development Corporation

(f)    Nadine Giudicessi, Corporate Controller, Rhodes Design and Development Corporation

(g)   Donna Escoto

(h)   Lori J. Marko

(i)    Mona M. Wilcox

(j)    Ronald E. Gillette

(k)   Gary Giudicessi

(l)    Dean L. Griffith

(m)  Dirk P. Griffith

(n)   Margaret Hester

(o)   Kevin Hester

(p)   Nancy D. Kurtik

(q)   Kathryn J. Sanucci

(r)    Andrea J. Zoanni

(s)   Free Cuba PAC, Mario L. DelValle, treasurer

(t)    Jorge Mas Santos

(u)   Aleyda Mas

COMPLAINANT:

Donald F. McGahn II, National Republican Congressional Committee

SUBJECT:

Corporate contributions/contributions in the name of another; excessive contributions

DISPOSITION:

(a-d)   Conciliation Agreement: $148,000 civil penalty* [re: corporate contributions/contributions in the name of another; excessive contributions]

(e)      Conciliation Agreement: $5,500 civil penalty* [re: contributions in the name of another]

(f)       Conciliation Agreement: $5,500 civil penalty* [re: contributions in the name of another]

(g-r)   Reason to believe, but take no further action* [re: contribution in the name of another]

(s-u)   No reason to believe*

[re: contribution in the name of another]

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 5453 under case number in the Enforcement Query System.  They are also available in the FEC’s Public Records Office at 999 E St. NW in Washington.

 

*There are four administrative stages to the FEC enforcement process:

1. Receipt of proper complaint

3. “Probable cause” stage

2. “Reason to believe” stage

4. Conciliation stage

It requires the votes of at least four of the six Commissioners to take any action. The FEC can close a case at any point after reviewing a complaint.  If a violation is found and conciliation cannot be reached, then the FEC can institute a civil court action against a respondent.                                                     

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