If you're one of the people that Jim Dantona's stiffed, don't take it personally. You're in good company. Whether you're a friend of his, a car dealership, the county of Ventura, or the state of California, you can take comfort in the fact that Dantona's failed to meet financial obligations to all sorts of groups--even charities.
That's no consolation to Simi Valley City Councilwoman Barbra Williamson--a longtime Dantona ally--who said that late last year Dantona pledged $2,500 to a local charitable fundraiser but failed to pay.
"He made a commitment to me and a non-profit foundation that I work for and he has not fulfilled that financial obligation," said Williamson. "That doesn't sit well with me."
Williamson wouldn't discuss anything else about the charity, except that it services terminally ill patients. I called around and found that a charity that Williamson is associated with had a fundraiser last fall in Simi Valley. I poked around for the fundraiser's invitation, and found that Jim Dantona is listed on it as a $2,500 "reception sponsor."
While Williamson is endorsing Dantona's opponent in the Ventura County Clerk/Recorder race, she did so before Dantona entered the race.
"Had I endorsed him I probably would have pulled my endorsement," she said, noting that she's been friends with Dantona for about 35 years. "If he would do that to a personal friend, I'm wondering what he would do if he wasn't a personal friend."
We already know the answer to that.
Interestingly, Dantona touts his own charitable organization, Baseballers Against Drugs, as one of the main reasons voters should entrust him with a public office that oversees a $9 million budget.
So why didn't he keep his word to donate $2,500 to a charity that helps terminally ill patients? Surely he would have realized that fact would undercut one of his biggest selling points, alienate a longtime ally, and lend further credence to the idea that he's not a man of his word.
But if you're Dantona, you can brush it aside with a mailer that leads with, "Like many Americans today, Jim Dantona has suffered personal and professional hardship, but has fought his way back with grit and determination."
If anyone points out that he also declared bankruptcy in 1992 and 2000, that he failed to make tax payments on time in 2006 and 2008, and has multiple tax liens and court judgments filed against him for refusing to pay his creditors, during times of broad economic prosperity, you can say they are merely digging up "old news because some of the fines dated back years."
If the man suddenly fell on hard times, I think we can give him a pass. But he's demonstrated a life-long pattern of irresponsibility that continues to this present day--voters should think very long before sending him to be the caretaker of our public records and elections.