Tuesday, December 14, 2021

FPPC fine levied against friend of council member Sarega for state elections law violations

Stelian Onufrei

A local contractor with close ties to La Mirada Councilmember Andrew Sarega has been fined by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) for failing to file timely notifications of campaign donations made during the 2017 municipal election period. 

The FPPC fined Diamond Construction and Design, owned by Stelian Onufrei $484 for failing to report donations to Residents for a Better La Mirada (RBLM)  within 24-hours as required by state law. The donations to RBLM were used to print and mail campaign materials that caused outrage in the community.

Sarega and Aiello image on 2017 mailer

Sarega was the campaign manager in 2018 for Onufrei in a failed bid to win a seat in Congress and is a friend of the Sarega family.

Election finance filings with the FPPC show another Sarega family friend, Ionel Imbre of La Mirada was in charge of RBLM.

RBLM mailers attacking Sarega's opponent Pauline Deal caused the loudest outrage after the mailer called Deal uneducated, having a poor public speaking ability, and an embarrassment to the city. (Opinion: Deal is a well-spoken lady that was wonderful at wishing city employees happy birthdays, anniversaries etc.. each meeting)

The donations from Onufrei were also used to send out mailers attacking District 1 candidate John Lewis who was running against Tony Aiello, another Sarega friend at the time. Lewis defeated Aiello in that contest.

The attacks set off a political firestorm that was aired publicly during a February 2017 council meeting that saw several public speakers condemn dirty campaigning followed by denials from Andrew Sarega that he had any knowledge of the mailers despite using the same company to print and send his own mailers. 

RBLM, Sarega, and Aiello all used the same Texas direct mail business to print and mail out their campaign materials to voters the La Mirada Lamplighter reports.

An FPPC case is still pending against Andrew Sarega who is also under investigation for filing violations as his second term nears an end. 

It is unclear if Sarega will seek a third term after stating during his 2018 campaign materials he sent out in his bid for the 39th Congress District seat that he firmly supported term limits and that eight years was more than enough for any elected official to accomplish their agenda.


  1. This story was lifted from the La Mirada Lamplighter w/o attribution. http://www.loscerritosnews.net/2021/12/10/campaign-committee-for-la-mirada-councilman-sarega-concealed-donations-fined-by-fppc/

  2. Mr Hews, The articles are completely different with the one posted here presenting information not contained in your article that I don't even see on your Lamplighter site.
    I have been monitoring the FPPC website regularly and while conducting one of my regular checks discovered the information that originated the article as well as the one concerning the fine received by Tony Aiello about two weeks ago. The best I can tell reveals you have not written about the Aiello finding. Further I see that you wrote about RBLM being fined, I have not. SO I ask you to reconsider the idea that I took your article and repurposed it for my use.