Local Politics

Saturday, Mar 02 2013 09:13 PM

Rubio partnered with oil exec friend in 'real property' business, filings show

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    By Torey Van Oot / Sacramento Bee

    This is a photo of (western) El Dorado Hills home bought in 2012 by then-Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Bakersfield.

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    By Michael Fagans / The Californian

    Majid Mojibi, president of San Joaquin Refining Co. and a support of former state Senator Michael Rubio, purchased this home from Rubio in a short sale transaction in 2011.

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    By Michael Fagans / The Californian

    This office building at 3008 Sillect Avenue in Bakersfield is listed as an investment of M&R Investment Group, LLC., a business that former state Senator Michael Rubio is a partner in and Majid Mojibi, president of San Joaquin Refining Co., has helped finance, according to public records.

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    By Michael Fagans / The Californian

    This office building at 3012 Sillect Avenue in Bakersfield is listed as an investment of M&R Investment Group, LLC., a business that former state Senator Michael Rubio is a partner in and Majid Mojibi, president of San Joaquin Refining Co., has helped finance, according to public records.

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BY RACHEL COOK Californian staff writer rcook@bakersfield.com

Former state Sen. Michael Rubio's friendship with a man who was a campaign donor and Kern County oil executive also included a business relationship, according to state records released Saturday.

Rubio also received thousands of dollars' worth of gifts from groups with ties to the oil industry, the records showed.

Saturday's document filings essentially disclosed a new connection between Rubio and Kern's Majid Mojibi that might be explored if the state Fair Political Practices Commission launches a full investigation, as it has said it might.

Rubio already has acknowledged that Mojibi helped him with two personal home deals.

Rubio, a Democrat from Shafter, suddenly left his state Senate post on Feb. 22 for a government affairs job with Chevron Corp. He cited family reasons as the motive for his move.

Days later, Rubio confirmed that Mojibi, president of San Joaquin Refining Co., bought his Bakersfield home in 2011 and that Dcm Assets Management LLC, a property investment and loan company of which Mojibi is the principal officer, helped Rubio acquire a loan for the $681,000 El Dorado Hills Home he bought last March.

Disclosure forms that legislators are required to complete also pointed to a professional partnership between Rubio and Mojibi in a business listed as M&R Investment Group, LLC., when the documents were made available Saturday morning.

Rubio listed himself as a partner in the Bakersfield business and Mojibi as a source of income to the business by way of loan, according to the disclosure forms from the FPPC.

The group's 2012 investments included an office building at 3012 and 3008 Sillect Avenue in Bakersfield and agricultural land. The form listed the office property as one building but the addresses appeared to be two different buildings on a visit to the Sillect Avenue properties Saturday.

Under a section for the business listing the "gross income received," Rubio entered "Over $100,000 loan to LLC" twice.

Rubio wrote that he did not "personally" receive any income from the group in 2012, according to the records. He described the activity of the group as "own and operate real property."

Rubio's dealings with Mojibi have made him the object of scrutiny in the past week. The Commission confirmed Thursday that it has received a complaint about Rubio and is deciding whether or not to open an investigation.

The Californian has reported that Mojibi's family members have donated more than $21,000 to Rubio's Senate campaign between 2009 and 2011. Two of Majid Mojibi's companies, Tricor Energy LLC and Tricor Refining LLC, have donated at least $18,000.

The disclosure records also show that Rubio has an outstanding loan of more than $100,000 with a 6 percent interest rate and six-month term to "DCM Assats Management" of Newport Beach for a personal home.

Rubio received more than $17,000 worth of gifts, mainly for travel expenses, in 2012, according to the documents.

Rubio amassed more than $15,000 in travel expense gifts, the bulk of which came from the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy, which the Los Angeles Times reported is financed by firms including Chevron.

The Times reported that Rubio disclosed that he got upward of $8,500 in travel expenses for a trip to Brazil from the group. On top of that, Rubio received a total of more than $1,600 from the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy for lodging and meals on three other occasions last year.

Rubio also received $892 worth of meals and lodging from the California Independent Petroleum Association in November and more than $2,100 from the California Correctional Peace Officers Association for lodging and meals when he participated in a panel at the 2012 Governor's Cup last summer, according to the forms.

In addition to travel gifts, Rubio received just more than $2,000 in other items including a $323.25 dinner from the Western States Petroleum Association and a $400 gift from the Governor's Cup Foundation Inc., which hosts an annual golf tournament.

The records showed that Rubio's wife made between $10,000 and $100,000 as a registered dental hygienist for Clinica Sierra Vista last year. Rubio's Senate salary is listed as $90,526 on the California State Senate's website.

Rubio did not return a message left on his cellphone Saturday afternoon.

Last week, Rubio told The Californian that he became friends with Mojibi after they met at a Bakersfield gym.

Mojibi bought Rubio's Bakersfield home at 320 Quincy St. in 2011 in a short sale transaction after Rubio sought to sell it because the house was not in the boundaries of the state's 16th Senate District where he was running for office.

Rubio has said there was nothing out of the ordinary with the sale and that a relative of Mojibi still lives at the home.

Rubio has also said that he turned to Dcm Assets Management for help when he later looked for a house in the Sacramento area and couldn't procure a conventional loan because of the short sale and the loan on his Shafter home.

Rubio bought a 4,660-square-foot, five-bathroom, four-bedroom home in a suburb of Sacramento in March 2012 and sold it to the company in August for the exact amount he paid for it, according to records. He has said he now leases the home from the company for $3,000 a month.

Rubio has denied any conflict of interest in the home transactions and his career change.

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