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The San Diego Union-Tribune September 22, 2004 Wednesday

Financial dealings spotlighted in race


BYLINE: Amy Oakes, STAFF WRITER SECTION: LOCAL; Pg. B-10:1; B-1:6 LENGTH: 717 words DATELINE: CHULA VISTA CHULA VISTA -- With the City Council election less than two months away, candidate Steve Castaneda thinks voters should know about his opponent's past financial troubles. Castaneda said he has asked at least three local newspaper reporters to write about the lawsuits and state and federal tax liens filed against his opponent, Dan Hom. He plans to push the issue later in the campaign with mailers and fliers. Hom said the lawsuits and liens were filed against him when his golf supply distribution business failed in 2000. The debts have since been settled, he said, though he is still making payments on some. "I've learned from my successes and my failures," Hom said. "I've learned how to manage money better and I'm much more conservative in finances." Castaneda said he wants to make the court record a part of the campaign because Hom highlights his business experience on his Web site, writing, "I will use my private sector experience to help bring a businesslike approach to the financial management of the city." "If you are going on that sort of platform, people should know your background," Castaneda said. "It's very important that each of our public records become public." Castaneda's efforts are the start of what may turn into a heated race to succeed Councilwoman Mary Salas, who is being termed out of office. Both candidates are on the Planning Commission and are active in local politics. With only two candidates on the Nov. 2 ballot, both Castaneda and Hom are attempting to differentiate themselves by emphasizing character and experience. Castaneda said he has approached La Prensa, the Star News and The San Diego Union-Tribune, trying to persuade each to write about Hom's record. He cited a December 2000 lawsuit filed by Peggy Mok, claiming most of a $200,000 loan to Hom was unpaid. Mok's associate had loaned Hom money for his business. Castaneda also cited two October 2001 lawsuits. One was filed by Timothy Dobson, claiming Hom misappropriated his $100,000 investment in the golf supply business. The other was filed by TaylorMade for Hom's failure to pay a $50,000 bill.

Page 2 Financial dealings spotlighted in race The San Diego Union-Tribune September 22, 2004 Wednesday Castaneda said Hom also had three state tax liens filed against him in September 1997, March 2001 and July 2001, and a federal tax lien in December 2000. Hom filed for bankruptcy in May 2002. Hom said the tax liens were paid in July 2002 and the bankruptcy was dismissed a few days after filing. He said he realizes now that he should have closed his company, Wai Yun, LLC, sooner. At its peak, the company, started in 1993, had $4.5 million in annual revenues. His clients were in Asia and the Asian economic crisis in the late 1990s hurt his business, Hom said. "I had a failed business because of a recession," Hom said. "And my pride wanted to keep going." Castaneda said he heard about Hom's lawsuits in March and later obtained copies of the court filings. He said he will use the information as part of his campaign against Hom. "The fliers will deal with the background," Castaneda said. "I'm sure there will be some mention of these issues." Castaneda's brother, Bob Castaneda, delivered copies of court cases and liens to the Star-News office the week of Sept. 6, said former editor Michael Burgess. Castaneda had talked about the issue for some time, Burgess said. When the weekly newspaper received the documents, Burgess said, "That's when the story started to take shape." The publisher eventually killed the story a few days before it was to be published, Burgess said. No reason was given, he added. Castaneda said he would continue to pressure media outlets to publicize Hom's previous business problems. "His background and business dealings are a significant part of the campaign," Castaneda said. Hom said he was surprised that Castaneda has made his first business venture a part of the race. "I didn't expect campaigning to be so negative," Hom said. "But, again, I want to be transparent to the voters. It's a part of my past and it's experience I have learned from." Chula Vista City Council Steve Castaneda and Dan Hom are vying for the open seat in a runoff election. City's total budget: $272.3 million adopted for fiscal year 2005 Number of employees: 1,169 full-time employees Population: 209,436 on Jan. 1; expected to grow to 278,183 by 2030. Amy Oakes: (619) 498-6633; amy.oakes@uniontrib.com LOAD-DATE: September 24, 2004 LANGUAGE: ENGLISH GRAPHIC: 2 PICS; CAPTIONS: 1. Dan Hom 2. Steve Castaneda DOCUMENT-TYPE: INTERVIEW; PROFILE;

Page 3 Financial dealings spotlighted in race The San Diego Union-Tribune September 22, 2004 Wednesday

PUBLICATION-TYPE: Newspaper

Copyright 2004 The San Diego Union-Tribune