Politics

Wednesday, Jul 03 2013 06:43 PM

Amended Vidak financials reveal more than $200,000 in previously unreported salary

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    By Alex Horvath / The Californian

    Andy Vidak is running for the 16th Senate District and was interviewed by The Californian editorial board.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Andy Vidak and Leticia Perez hold a debate Thursday evening in the KGET TV Channel 17 studios for the upcoming 16th state Senate District race.

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BY THEO DOUGLAS Californian staff writer tdouglas@bakersfield.com

Farmer Andy Vidak on Wednesday revealed new details on four business interests that were not originally disclosed on his campaign financial forms.

Vidak, a Republican from Hanford, is in a heated and closely watched run-off race for the 16th State Senate District seat against Bakersfield Democrat Leticia Perez.

The election to replace Michael Rubio, who resigned, is July 23.

Vidak's amended Statement of Economic Interest, dated Wednesday, officially confirms and expands upon information that the candidate previously mentioned only briefly on his campaign website and in a debate last week in Bakersfield.

All elected officials and those running for office must file these statements, also known as 700 forms.

Vidak's amendment to his 700 form discloses that he raises cattle and grows cherries on property his father owns in Orosi; that he manages a lettuce-cooling plant in Fremont; and that he worked as a trucking dispatcher in Tulare for a month in the fall of 2012.

The revelations represent more than $200,000 in previously undisclosed salary for Vidak, and more than $25,000 in previously undisclosed property holdings. Tim Orman, Vidak's campaign consultant, explained the omissions.

"When the original form was filled out, staff that was assisting him talked to technical staff with the Fair Political Practices Commission to answer a couple of questions they had," Orman said. "Based on the answers to those questions, they filled out that form as correctly as they thought it should be filled out."

Vidak did not respond to repeated requests for comment from The Californian. However, in a press release Wednesday afternoon, he issued a statement reading in part:

"Upon further review and in consultation with experts in this field, we filed an amendment today to include more details of my various business interests. I believe in full disclosure, and I think the filing today proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt."

The amended filing has many new specifics about how and where Vidak earns a living.

Orman said Vidak signed a three-year lease in January on his cattle ranch in Tulare County. The ranch, at 44000 Boyd Drive, Orosi, is valued at $10,000 to $100,000, according to Vidak's 700 form.

Vidak has 10 years remaining on an 18-year lease of a cherry orchard from his father, Jim Vidak, who is Tulare County Superintendent of Schools, Orman said. The land, at 16803 Avenue 416, Orosi, is valued at between $10,000 and $100,000.

Orman said Vidak holds a 25 percent partnership in the San Joaquin branch of Western Precool Systems, a lettuce cooler with locations throughout Central and coastal California. The San Joaquin branch is valued at $100,000 to $1 million, and Vidak earned more than $100,000 in gross income as a management fee during the previous year.

For one month during the grape harvest in the fall of 2012, Orman said, Vidak worked as a dispatcher for Shannon Brothers Trucking, 24478 Road 140, Tulare. Vidak earned between $1,001 and $10,000 for that month, according to his 700 form.

Vidak's records also reveal that his gross income last year was more than $100,000, from two parcels of land in Hanford where he grows cherries.

Perez, who is 5th District Kern County Supervisor, said her opponent has a careless attitude toward voters in this election.

"It leaves me wondering what else is he hiding," Perez said. "Here we have someone who, before he's even been elected -- and we know how the general public feels about public officials, that they become jaded and corrupt -- he continues to deceive the voters and it's not even Election Day yet."

Gary Winuk, chief of the FPPC's enforcement division, said he was unable to confirm the receipt Wednesday of Vidak's amended 700 form. The commission is investigating a complaint about the omissions, filed June 27 by a Democratic Party official.

Candidates found guilty of violating the Political Reform Act's personal financial disclosure requirement could face thousands in fines.

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