Friday, 24 May 2024

Anderson responds to criticisms over financial issues

LAKE COUNTY – One of the three candidates in this year's race to become Lake County's next district attorney says issues raised over his finances are a last-minute campaign tactic to knock him out of the running.


Don Anderson, 57, is answering criticisms from Kelseyville Lumber and Piedmont Lumber, because the companies say he and his girlfriend, Jennifer McGee, didn't pay them for home improvement supplies for a home remodel.


Anderson, who raised more contributions – over $10,000 – than his two opponents in the most recent campaign finance reporting period, claims the issues are arising now as a way to discredit him, and cast doubt on his ability to manage the multimillion dollar Lake County District Attorney's Office budget.


He's running this year against fellow challenger Doug Rhoades and incumbent Jon Hopkins.


Anderson – whose campaign approached Lake County News on Monday to offer information and clarifications about the situation – said he feels once people know the true story their concerns will be put to rest.


“This is the only dirt they can come up with,” he said, adding, “I was expecting much worse but I'll settle for this.”


Anderson and McGee live in a home on Adobe Creek Road in Kelseyville that Anderson said they remodeled a few years ago. Lake County Assessor's Office records show the home is in McGee's name alone, but Anderson said he's lived there in the eight years she's owned it. He said she bought it at about the time they got together.


Mark Borghesani, general manager of Kelseyville Lumber, said the company filed a suit against McGee in June 2008 for about $12,000 in goods and services they provided her.


Anderson said the money was for supplies including French doors which McGee had installed in the house. McGee paid all but $5,000 of the company's bill, said Anderson.


He alleged that the doors leaked, and that Kelseyville Lumber was asked to come out and fix them. McGee then had stucco put around the doors, which Anderson said they found still leaked after it rained.


“They still leak and they still won't come out and fix them,” Anderson alleged.


After being unsuccessful in collecting the funds, Borghesani said Kelseyville Lumber filed a lien on the property. When that didn't work, they started a foreclosure action on the house and filed suit in June 2008.


At that point, Anderson – acting as McGee's attorney – filed a countersuit against Kelseyville Lumber. Borghesani said the company was accused of false advertising and having faulty products.


Borghesani said he knows Anderson, and Anderson never tried calling him to set up a payment agreement. “The phone call we got was, 'We're gonna sue you.'”


He added, “It was just right to the lawsuit. That's the part of it that irritates me the most.”


Borghesani said his company spent almost $15,000 in attorney's fees to collect the $12,000 it was owed. “It makes me sick the amount of money and time we spent.”


Ultimately, Kelseyville Lumber won the case and the amount of money it was seeking, as well as attorney's fees, totaling $30,500. Anderson said McGee lost the case because the judge ruled she did not give Kelseyville Lumber enough notification before filing the cross complaint.


Also in 2008, Piedmont Lumber filed suit against Anderson, seeking payment for goods he purchased, according to the company's credit department at its corporate accounting office in Pittsburg.


While Anderson told Lake County News that he had “a disputed bill” from Piedmont, the company's credit department said there was no dispute.


The case was settled for $20,000, with Anderson signing a document on Dec. 4, 2008, in which he agreed to pay $10,000 that month and the remaining $10,000 due within 30 days, according to Piedmont Lumber.


The company said he made the first $10,000 payment but not the second, and that he called last week to say that he couldn't pay it.


As a result, Piedmont Lumber – which in March was hit with foreclosure actions and a lawsuit due to debt and its own struggles in the current economy – has called in its attorneys to seek enforcement of the settlement.


Foreclosure, bankruptcy actions filed


Adding to the situation, a foreclosure action was filed against McGee's home Jan. 20, according to assessor records. The home was scheduled to go up for sale on the courthouse steps on March 9.


Eight days after the foreclosure was filed, county records show that McGee filed papers to homestead the property – an action which can sometimes protect properties from foreclosure.


She followed that up with a Feb. 3 bankruptcy filing in the US Bankruptcy Court of the Northern District of California, according to court documents.


Anderson acknowledged that he helped McGee file the paperwork, but since he's not a bankruptcy attorney they have hired another attorney, Myles Dresslove of Santa Rosa, to represent her.


McGee's bankruptcy documents show that more than $525,000 is owed on the home, with her total liabilities totaling more than $686,000. She reported her annual gross earnings as a clerk selling hair extensions at just under $17,000.


Anderson said he pays for part of the monthly housing expenses. “We just kinda work it out between us,” he said.


Among McGee's listed debts is the $30,500 owed to Kelseyville Lumber and $13,630.81 owed to Home Depot.


Borghesani said the bankruptcy filing will mean that what is owed to him will be wiped out.


County assessor records show that property taxes on the home totaling $5,600 remain outstanding; however, a cancellation of the notice of default on McGee's home was recorded on March 29. Anderson said by that time she had caught up on her payments.


Anderson said McGee's bankruptcy case is still pending. “It should be closed fairly soon.”


Borghesani said, for him, it comes down to right and wrong. He said both he and his father, Bob, still get fired up about the situation, especially since Anderson is running on a platform of restoring confidence, integrity and transparency to the District Attorney's Office.


“I have a ton of money out that I wasn't paid for, and they weaseled their way out of it because of the laws, so I got stuck,” Borghesani said, adding that it's especially frustrating to have this happen when times are as tough as they are.


Despite the controversy arising late in the race, Anderson said he thinks his chances of winning the election are pretty good, and that he's been getting a lot of positive feedback in his campaign.


“I've got good feelings” about it, he said.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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