Bartlett Files Complaint Over Maryott’s ‘Misleading’ Ballot Designation

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REGION — Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett has filed a formal complaint against fellow Republican candidate Brian Maryott, accusing the former San Juan Capistrano mayor of lying to voters about his employment status.

According to the complaint, which Bartlett’s campaign filed on March 21 with the California Secretary of State, the proposal to designate Maryott as a “certified financial planner” is “false, misleading and illegal because it does not reflect with specify his profession, vocation or Occupation.”

Maryott and Bartlett, along with Oceanside Councilman Chris Rodriguez, are in the running to unseat incumbent Rep. Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) in November’s race for California’s 49th congressional district.

According to the complaint, Maryott retired four years ago as a financial planner to “become a part-time politician.” Since then, Maryott’s certification has expired and he has earned no income from the profession, making his ballot designation claim fraudulent and misleading, Bartlett alleges.

Until his retirement in 2018, Maryott was a regional manager for Wells Fargo and served as a registered broker and investment adviser during his career.

“According to public records, Brian Maryott has no job, no income, no business and no license – he is not a certified financial planner, he is a fraudster, Bartlett said in a statement provided to The Coast News.

In his statement, Bartlett lambasted Maryott for “misleading the public” regarding his ballot nomination and for allegedly violating ethics rules during his tenure on the San Juan Capistrano City Council.

“The last time he served as a city councilor, he cost the city of San Juan Capistrano $500,000 because he broke ethics rules, in addition to improperly using public resources to campaign,” Bartlett said. “There are too many stakes for our country in the upcoming election to pin our hopes on a dishonest and unqualified candidate who is a perennial loser in the 49th precinct.

“America is on the wrong track, whether it’s rising inflation, skyrocketing crime, failing education, weak foreign policy, and poor quality of life. We need an immediate change in leadership to deal with these crises, but if Maryott is able to qualify for the general election by fooling the public – again – it guarantees that Mike Levin will retain his job in November.

Bryan Maryott is a Republican candidate
Republican candidate Brian Maryott called out Bartlett’s accusations “weird, incendiary and shameful.” Courtesy picture

Bartlett’s complaint cites a section of the California Code of Regulations governing ballot designations which stipulates that the occupation of a candidate listed on the ballot must be his running occupation or calling.

The only exception is that if an applicant has no current occupation, they may indicate their last source of employment from the previous calendar year before applying. This exception does not apply to Maryott, who has not worked as a financial planner since 2018.

“For a nomination by ballot…to be found acceptable by the Secretary of State,…each proposed primary occupation, vocation or occupation submitted by the nominee must be factually accurate, descriptive of the profession, vocation or occupation principal of the candidate must not be confusing or misleading,” the law reads.

“If the candidate exercises a profession, vocation or employment at the time he submits his application, the nominee’s proposed ballot designation must consist of the candidate’s current major professions, vocations, and occupations. In the event the candidate does not have a current primary occupation… at the time of filing their nomination papers, the candidate may use a ballot designation consisting of their primary occupations, vocations, or occupations, which they were primarily exercised during the calendar year immediately preceding the filing of the declaration of candidacy of the candidate.

In a statement released to The Coast News by Maryott’s campaign, the former mayor denied any wrongdoing, saying his certification as a financial planner remains active to this day despite his retirement.

“In 2006, I met the very rigorous education, examination, general experience and ethics requirements to be designated as a Certified Financial Planner, CFP,” Maryott said. “This distinction can only be bestowed by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. This organization certifies and oversees the elite group of professionals with this distinction. My certification… remains current, and I meet all continuing education requirements, and incur the costs to maintain this important certification.

However, Maryott acknowledged that he no longer practices financial planning or provides investment advice and is not active in any brokerage firm.

Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett filed a March 21 complaint with the California Secretary of State against fellow Republican candidate Bryan Maryott
Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett filed a March 21 complaint with the California Secretary of State against fellow Republican candidate Brian Maryott. Photo courtesy of Lisa Bartlett

“My multitude of securities licenses, mandated by both the financial services industry and the State of California, I allowed to expire when I walked away from the corporate world in 2018,” the statement reads. Maryott. “My current combination of professional activities does not currently require a state license.”

Maryott also derided Bartlett’s published statement, which he called “bizarre, inflammatory and shameful.”

“She has no idea what she’s talking about,” Maryott wrote.

According to Tim Lineberger, Bartlett’s campaign manager, Maryott’s statement concedes the crux of the complaint by admitting that financial planning is not his current “primary occupation” as required by law.

“Just having a certification doesn’t mean you’re able to engage in real financial planning,” Lineberger said. “The requirement for nomination on the ballot is that your title must be your current profession, he concedes that his profession is not currently a certified financial planner. So he concedes our argument in the complaint that he is not engaged in this activity, and in fact he is not even authorized to do so.

The complaint itself includes more than 50 pages of exhibits that Lineberger says demonstrates that Maryott has not worked in the financial planning field since 2018.

According to Lineberger, not only did Maryott misrepresent his employment status in campaign materials with the Secretary of State’s office, but he also lied to voters about their official ballotpublicly available online.

The ballot shows “Certified Financial Planner” directly below Maryott’s name on the statement.

“When your toilet breaks down, you call a plumber. When you feel bad, you call a doctor,” Maryotte said. “When your country’s debt skyrockets and inflation soars, you call a financial planner and a business executive and send them to Washington to solve the problem.

On several occasions, Maryott has disclosed his professional background as a certified financial planner in publicly released campaign press releases, including a March 10 statement in which the candidate identifies himself as “a certified financial planner, former executive of the investment industry and former Mayor.”

If the Secretary of State’s office reviews the complaint and finds that Maryott’s nomination violates state law, his official nomination would be struck from the November ballot. If the state denies the lawsuit, Bartlett could still try to have Maryott’s voting designation removed by filing a lawsuit in Superior Court.

Lineberger said Bartlett intends to pursue the complaint in state court if the secretary of state dismisses the allegations.

According to Robert Stern, a retired attorney and former election adviser to the secretary of state’s office, such complaints against candidates are not unheard of, but can have a significant impact on the outcome of an election.

“With high-profile races like this race for Congress, the ballot designation is very important because it’s all voters can know about the candidate…it’s really one of the most important things voters will see,” Stern said.

In assessing the validity of the complaint, the Secretary of State will thoroughly review the applicant’s employment history to determine whether or not the designation matches the applicant’s history in that specific area.

“They will say what have you done specifically in terms of financial planning? Did you charge money for it, how long have you been doing it, etc? Stern said.

In Maryott’s case, Stern said it appears Bartlett’s lawsuit has a reasonable chance of success since the former mayor has acknowledged that he does not currently practice any financial planning.

“The fact that he’s certified doesn’t really matter here,” Stern said. “I mean until a few years ago I was still a lawyer, but I don’t practice law anymore, so I’m not a lawyer. It’s not your current occupation if you’re inactive in this area even if you’re fired, that just doesn’t convince me. If I were in the Secretary of State’s office, I would say [Maryott] give me more facts and show me you’re a CFP, or I won’t approve of it.

At the same time, Stern pointed out that the Secretary of State will more than likely be inclined to refer the case to state courts unless there is a clear and obvious case of wrongdoing.

“The secretary of state will let the court decide unless there’s a really obvious decision,” Stern said. “They will look for easy and obvious cases and not really investigate thoroughly, they will let both sides present their views on the matter and it is much more likely that it will go to court if the dispute is not easily resolved. resolved. »

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