State regulators say former Chico Mayor David Guzzetti misused nearly $12,000 in political campaign funds between 2012 and 2015 and have proposed a fine twice that amount.
Then the treasurer of Chico Conservation Voters — a group supporting local environmental issues and liberal candidates — Guzzetti stands accused of using campaign cash for personal uses 148 times over the two-and-a-half-year period.
Suffering for decades from a blood disease, and ingesting 45 different medicines as he awaited an organ transplant, Guzzetti said fatigue and medication led to taking short cuts.
“I got totally sloppy in that last year also, to where I reimbursed myself for the work that I was still doing, not by writing checks, as I did all the other years, but making ATM withdrawals,” he said.
Guzzetti said many of those instances stemmed from him buying meals and gas for volunteers who drove him to and from official business. He said he was advised against driving while awaiting surgery.
The proposed agreement says Guzzetti hid improper expenses by overstating legitimate and petty ones and understating contributions. Perhaps the most salacious charge — that he gambled with campaign money — stems from occasions Guzzetti said he withdrew increments of his salary using a campaign ATM card inside a casino.
“About a dozen of those ATM withdrawals were done at a casino in Chico where I played poker once in a while,” he said.
Guzzetti said the amount totaled about $1,500.
The Fair Political Practices Commission is expected to approve the fine and accept payment Dec. 21.