A video that blasts Stanislaus County Supervisor Jim DeMartini appeared on the Internet Dec. 16, though it is unclear who posted it.
The 5:49-minute clip claims DeMartini is a corporate shill and suggests he had an affair with a young employee. It repeatedly compares DeMartini with former Rep. Gary Condit, D-Ceres, who gained national notoriety after a young woman, who he reportedly told police he had an affair with, was murdered.
DeMartini said this week the video’s allegations are baseless. He suspects the person who produced it is an anonymous blogger who has criticized him in the past, though he figures the person is being paid by someone hoping to derail his bid for re-election in June.
“This isn’t just somebody with too much free time on their hands,” DeMartini said
The video is titled “Conflict of Interest,” and much of it focuses on DeMartini’s 700 form — a document that lists the economic interests of elected representatives. The video lists dozens of businesses DeMartini has received more than $10,000 from.
DeMartini said the companies listed are those that buy his produce.
“As a farmer, I’m selling them peaches, almonds, berries,” DeMartini said.
The married supervisor also rejects the allegations that he had more than a working relationship with former staffer Serena Essapour, 22.
Essapour was arrested in October 2006 on suspicion of stealing DeMartini’s identity and charging close to $6,500 on credit cards she took out in his name after he cosigned a car loan for her. She is expected back before a judge Jan. 29 to face those charges.
“That story will come out in court,” DeMartini said.
The video clip was posted anonymously Dec. 16. on the video-sharing Web site YouTube. The person who posted it registered under the screen name “jimdemartini.”
The Web site, which allows users to leave comments about videos, had received two-dozen responses as of Friday. Opinions range from apathetic to outraged, but most question the video’s fairness and validity.
DeMartini originally thought PCCP West Park developer Gerry Kamilos was behind the video. However, a talk with the developer early this week changed his mind.
“At first, I suspected Kamilos,” DeMartini said. “Then, he just called me out of the blue.”
Kamilos told DeMartini that he had nothing to do with the video and wanted to tell him so directly.
“I heard some people were suspicious it was related to West Park,” Kamilos said this week. “So, I felt it was important to call Jim DeMartini personally.”
DeMartini opposed West Park as the prospective developer of the Crows Landing Air Facility in February, when he voted against a year-long exclusivity agreement with the Sacramento-based development group.
West Park won the vote, 3-2, and DeMartini has criticized the preliminary plans West Park has presented to the board of supervisors. Still, he did vote to extend the exclusivity contract by several months, giving West Park more time to seek state money for the project.
West Park consultant Mike Lynch, the former chief-of-staff for Condit, made Kamilos aware of the video after hearing about it from county Supervisor Jeff Grover.
“Who benefits from this?” Lynch asked. “West Park doesn’t benefit from this. Jim doesn’t benefit from this, and the people in Stanislaus County aren’t benefiting from this.”
Grover said county staff told him of the video after a community member called them.
So far, the only person to announce he will run against DeMartini in June is Newman Mayor John Fantazia. Fantazia did not return calls as of press time.
There have been rumors that Patterson Planning Commissioner Luis Molina would run for the District 5 seat. He said Thursday that he is undecided and added that he had nothing to do with the video.
“Even if I were running, that’s not my method,” Molina said.
Because DeMartini does not know who made the video, he said he has no plans to do anything about it.