DA’s Chief of Staff Hustles to Fix More Errors in Conflict of Interest Forms

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Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff to District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, late Friday filed 14 pages of amendments to her five years worth of overdue conflict of interest reports.

The amendments generally add detail or correct mistakes in reports Schroeder turned in two days earlier.

For example, on June 10 she reported that in 2012 she received more than $100,000 in income from the American Massage Council, a massage therapist insurance company owned by her then-husband, former Republican Party Chairman Michael J. Schroeder. The Schroeders divorced last year.

But when Susan Schroeder filed the corrected reports Friday afternoon, she said the gross income received in 2012 from the American Massage Council, including her “pro rata share,” was less than $500.

For several years, the DA’s office has prosecuted some massage parlor owners and operators and Susan Schroeder, who also is in charge of the DA’s news media office, issued news releases about the cases.

All California government workers who either make decisions or participate in making decisions that could affect their outside financial interests are required to file the yearly conflict of interest reports, also called Form 700s.

Susan Schroeder should have been filing Form 700s since Rackauckas named her his chief of staff in 2010, but he never required her to do so. But he reversed course in April following Voice of OC articles on the issue and complaint filed with County Counsel Nick Chrisos by local campaign finance watchdog Shirley Grindle.

Last week,  Chrisos recommended the Board of Supervisors levy fines against her if she didn’t file by mid-July.

Within hours of Chrisos’ item appearing on the supervisor’s June 16 agenda, Susan Schroeder, a lawyer, began filing forms and then redoing them to correct errors, including filing the wrong forms.

“You’d think a person in an office (DA) that important would know what forms to file and how to file them,” said Robert Stern, who co-authored the 40-year-old Political Reform Act that requires the filings.

You can contact Tracy Wood at twood@voiceofoc.org