DEAR WEHO: Public Facilities Commissioner has some explaining to do

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I’m writing about concerns we’ve discovered in the public financial disclosures of Commissioner Lonnie Jake Mason, appointed by Sepi Shyne to the West Hollywood Public Facilities Commission. These financial disclosure forms are required by state law. They alert public officials about their own economic interests and potential areas of conflict in relation to their duties, but provide information to members of the public who may monitor official actions for any conflicts. They are filled out under penalty of perjury.
 
Mason’s forms are littered with knowing and willful errors and omissions and he seems relatively unconcerned about fixing them.
 
– Mason’s legal name is Lonnie Jake Mason. Obscuring his first name made it particularly difficult to track down his assets. On all filed forms, Mason has failed to use his legal name.
– In his 2022, 2023 and 2024 forms, along with his 2021 filing upon assuming office, Mason lists a business entity asset called “WeHo Dodgeball” — according to the Secretary of State, there is no entity registered in the state of California with that name. According to Los Angeles County, Mason did not file a fictitious business entity registration for this business until mid-2023.
– Mr. Mason appears to be the controlling member and manager of an LLC called Popsports LLC. Mason has never reported his interest in this entity on any filed statements. While Popsports appears to be a pass-through entity that is, in actuality, Weho Dodgeball, Mr. Mason filed to dissolve Popsports LLC in 2024. Yet WeHo Dodgeball continues to exist and operate. Mr. Mason has apparently not filed to terminate the fictitious business name statement tied to Popsports LLC.
– According to Los Angeles County, Mr. Mason is on the deed of trust for a property at 950 N Kings Road. According to the City of West Hollywood, Mr. Mason is in a category that requires him to disclose his interest in this property, yet he did not in his 2021 assuming office statement, nor his subsequent annual disclosures in 2022 and 2023. In 2023 Mr. Mason filed an amendment to his 2022 disclosure finally listing his interest in the property on Kings road. Inexplicably, he did not amend the 2023 disclosure nor his assuming office filing in 2021. His 2024 annual disclosure lists the property.
– Upon information and belief, Mason receives rent and other funds from a partner he cohabitates with. Mason is apparently not married to nor in a registered domestic partnership with this man, according to his financial disclosures. He has, however, not disclosed the rent payments or any other commingled or community funds used to pay for community expenses related to their living arrangement. Any money provided by his partner for rent or community living expenses enhance Mason’s separate income and should be disclosed.
– Mason has used his official position to benefit his private business. According to city employees, Mason’s so-called “Weho Dodgeball” — his private business — is the only business entity allowed to rent dodgeball courts owned by the city and paid for by taxpayers.  More than once, according to commission minutes, Mason used his position to demand staff fix issues that were impacting his business, including the sound system in the rec center and parking issues in the neighborhood. Even if none of the foregoing regarding his disclosures had happened, it’s difficult to understand how a man who runs a private business and the sole beneficiary of taxpayer-funded and publicly owned dodgeball courts can sit as a commissioner on a board that has oversight of the very facility his business depends on. The only Mason can cure that conflict of interest is to sell his business, or step down from the commission.
    – We’re not the only ones who’ve noticed this. From WEHOonline, in 2022: “The appointment of Jake Mason by Sepi Shyne to the Public Facilities Commission also has the appearance of impropriety, due to Mason’s clear conflict of interest as the owner of a for-profit Dodgeball business that utilizes public park space. Mason notoriously called for the replacement of both John Heilman and John Duran as Councilmembers and endorsed Sepi Shyne in the 2020 election, due to his disagreement with the Council’s unanimous decision to accelerate the construction of the new park during the Covid-19 Lockdown. Shyne’s appointment of Mason appears as another political payback for his endorsement.”
 
It appears has knowingly and willfully failed to fully complete and/or provide accurate information on his financial disclosures, starting with his legal name (how else can you explain amending one form, but not the others?). His private business benefits from his place on the commission, and he’s had no qualms about using that position to further his private interests. It’s difficult to see why the council has allowed this to continue.
 

/s/ Concerned Citizens of WeHo

 
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Chloe Ross
Chloe Ross
12 days ago

Using a public position to advance a career is not news. Despite the abundance of name-calling and wise cracks about our previous city council members (of which I too was guilty) – when I moved here decades ago; they all seemed to have some sense of decorum and. they did get things done. The latest boards all seem to have personal agendas and are quite forthcoming in letting us know about them. Apparently they see WeHo City Council as a stepping stone to greater things. I have also noticed greater things have not been realized…at a great cost to the… Read more »

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
12 days ago

All of this talk of media companies reminded me of the Sh**ty Media Men list from several years ago. For those of you who don’t remember, here you go:

https://www.thecut.com/2018/01/moira-donegan-i-started-the-media-men-list.html

Here’s a quote: “For us, the risks of using any of the established means of reporting were especially high and the chance for justice especially slim.”

Sometimes people need to remain anonymous to protect themselves in an environment where whistleblowers are retaliated against, like in West Hollywood. As we’ve seen here, accusers are already being attacked just because they’re shaking things up. It’s classic victim blaming and shaming.

Last edited 12 days ago by WeHo Mary!
Jeremy
Jeremy
15 days ago

A commissioner should not be making money off the city.

Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
15 days ago

WeHoville/WeHoonline should not be in the business of running unsigned/anonymous attacks on others-it’s bad enough that it’s allowed in the comment section. It these concerned citizens were truly concerned about someone’s FPPC filings, they should make a complaint to the FPPC. Simple. Done.

Larry Block
15 days ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

As a sitting commissioner you seem to have no ethics on the responsibility of every individual to file the proper documents at West Hollywood City Hall. As a person who works or worked for a LA City Council person you have the luxury of ‘not being retaliated’ against. But it never stops you from brown nosing and kissing up. Every media source, every single one uses anonymous sources or confidential sources. So your full of shit Josh.

KoWeho
KoWeho
14 days ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Larry, this is a shameful response, let alone something an owner of a media brand should do. You know that hit job letters that are not signed should not be published without conditions, or maybe you don’t. Brandon, it’s sad to see you’re adhering to this low level of ethics.

Larry Block
14 days ago
Reply to  KoWeho

Using your own logic and speaking as someone who does not use their own name your comment should not post. Let this be the last comment under your fake name. There is nothing ‘hit’ about the truth, a person who is a public facilities commissioner who is directly benetfiting off the cities public facilities. In fact, city staff, namely Helen Collins told me she had talks directly with Mr. Mason about the conflict of interest.

Kevin
Kevin
14 days ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Larry. “Hit piece” is a term used describe content that attacks an individual or entity, whether the the facts are true or not. You/wehoonline should require they be signed by the authors before publishing. Dillon Hosier wrote a hit piece you published on Chelsea Byers and signed it. Kudos to him. If I ever write a hit article I will sign it as well,

Larry Block
13 days ago
Reply to  Kevin

Kevin, you have hundreds of ‘hit’ comments here without attaching your name. Yet you still project this issue on others while hiding. We don’t have to publish the author’s name, we only have to verify the facts. Besides, your jumping to conclusions, we know the whistleblowers name but did not publish that and you were stone silent.

Graham Kaye
Graham Kaye
13 days ago
Reply to  KoWeho

Not surprising because Sepi Shyne is a scuzz ball

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
15 days ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

I LOVE the fact that this is anonymous. It takes the power away from the WeHo junior high gatekeepers who have been protecting freeloaders like this for years.

hifi5000
hifi5000
15 days ago

It looks like Sepi Shyne does it again. She appoints a questionable commissioner with a conflict of interest to the city’s public facilities commission.

I think it is time all commissioners who were appointed by Shyne to any commission position be scrutinized to make sure they are up to snuff.I know these appointments last three or four years,but these people can do a lot of damage.

:dpb
:dpb
15 days ago

Sorry, but this is not the usual style of Larry Block, nor Brandon Garcia. I am hopeful it isn’t a new trend. Not cool, however factual.

Morty
Morty
15 days ago

I don’t know this person so I cannot speak to his motives. That being said he should be transparent and make sure he is accurately updating all required financial forms. If someone prefers not to disclose this information they should not work on public commissions or for a government agency. Hopefully he will make sure his forms are updated and correct and this issue will no longer be relevant.

I M Sobriquet
I M Sobriquet
15 days ago

Please sign your name. I am also a resident and have many concerns (Byers) about West Hollywood!

KoWeho
KoWeho
16 days ago

The “group” of concerned citizens seems to be a disgruntled Dodge Ball team! Is it me, or does this guy look like Ben Affleck? I really hate to see these types of letters where the actual writers do not sign them. Everyone should know who is accusing them in a public forum.

Pot and kettle
Pot and kettle
15 days ago
Reply to  KoWeho

Spoken from a person who does not sign their own name.

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
15 days ago
Reply to  KoWeho

Ben Affleck? Try Dom DeLuise.

TomSmart
TomSmart
15 days ago
Reply to  KoWeho

Oh Mother, where ARE your spectacles??? Affleck really?? I don’t see the resemblance except the beard.

KoWeho
KoWeho
14 days ago
Reply to  TomSmart

Well, call me crazy; he just seemed to scream, Affleck!

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
16 days ago

Thanks for pointing this out, but he’s not going anywhere. He’s done all of the right things to become part of the WeHo crew, as seen by no job, appointment to a commission and a cushy place to live. He probably cruises Grindr all day while his partner is at work. Doesn’t have anything better to do!

KoWeho
KoWeho
16 days ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

Nor should he; if the authors are so sure their information is correct, they should sign their names.

Pot and kettle
Pot and kettle
15 days ago
Reply to  KoWeho

What part of this persons letter do you dispute? It is up to the commissioner to disclose. You should use your name. Some of us know Jake as a hothead and fear his retaliation to not be able to play in his for profit league.

KoWeho
KoWeho
15 days ago
Reply to  Pot and kettle

I don’t dispute it, and I don’t accept any part of it. If you read my comment, the content is not my issue. My only point was that if you do such a detailed attack on an individual, sign your name and don’t hide. I would sign it if I wrote it and I hope Pot and Kettle, you would as well.

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
15 days ago
Reply to  KoWeho

Really hope you’re scoring some points with Lonnie, I mean, Jake. Maybe you too can be popular at West Hollywood Junior High.

Last edited 15 days ago by WeHo Mary!
KoWeho
KoWeho
15 days ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

I don’t know Lonnie/Jake, and I don’t play Dodgeball. I also do not dispute or accept anything in the letter. I have been in the media for 30 years, so I do object to an attack letter not being signed by a person(s) and that it was published anonymously. That is my only point.

Joshua88
Joshua88
15 days ago
Reply to  KoWeho

Those are some interesting and accusatory statements that should definitely be signed by the author.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
13 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

Says the person who refuses to ever attach his name to his commentary.

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
15 days ago
Reply to  KoWeho

then please sign YOUR NAME!

KoWeho
KoWeho
14 days ago
Reply to  Mikie Friedman

I did not write it.

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
14 days ago
Reply to  KoWeho

I’m sorry, but I was pointing out that whether or not you wrote the op ed, you are writing your comments anonymously. At least I have the courage to put my name to my thoughts, whether people agree with them or not.
What or who are you so afraid of that you are cannot divulge your identity?

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
13 days ago
Reply to  Mikie Friedman

Bravo, Mikie Friedman, for being one of the few people to have the courage to attach their name to their commentary. The rest are spineless.

JF1
JF1
16 days ago

Another gift from Shyne.

John Ryan
John Ryan
16 days ago

The swamp never gets drained.

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