Christy Smith, the Democratic nominee for the 38th District Assembly seat, advised voters back in September to check out Republican opponent Dante Acosta’s Financial Industry Regulatory Authority broker page.
She was hoping to call their attention to three complaints – or “disclosure events” – filed against Acosta during his days as a financial adviser.
But now the story has turned into a case of, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw mud.
That’s because Smith’s political foes are now pointing out that Smith’s broker/investment adviser husband has had two FINRA complaints filed against him.
The FINRA broker page for Philip N. Smith, a broker and investment adviser for a Woodland Hills firm, shows disclosure events in 2015 and 2009 – the most recent of which was “denied,” or found to have had no basis, while the other was settled for just over $40,000 with no admission of fault or liability.
“Disclosures” can be defined as any customer complaint or arbitration, regulatory action, employment termination, bankruptcy filing and any civil or criminal proceeding that the broker was a part of, according FINRA.
Christy Smith, in an interview this week with The Signal, confirmed those disclosure events concerned her husband – but also said, “My husband is not running for public office, I am.’’
“I’m the candidate, and we should be focusing on the candidates,’’ Smith said. “He (Acosta) is promoting himself as a qualified and credible candidate.”
Asked for specific comments on the disclosure events on her husband’s FINRA page, Smith, a Newhall School Board member, declined — saying, “No, because he’s not running. Particularly for a woman candidate … would people ask about a male candidate’s wife?’’
For his part, Acosta, a Santa Clarita City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem, said, “This is something I’m personally staying away from. People have been using the word ‘hypocrisy,’ but I don’t want to go there.”
Smith first lobbed the financial funny-business charges against Acosta at a Sept. 20 candidates forum sponsored by the Valley Industry Association.
In her closing remarks that day, Smith told those gathered that, “Mr. Acosta’s business success is not everything it’s made out to be” – and she directed them to Acosta’s FINRA page. At the time, Acosta called the move “a cheap shot.”
Regarding the FINRA investigations into Acosta’s three disclosure events — one each in 2002, 2003 and 2004 — two of the cases were “denied,” while the third, in 2004, was settled for $35,000 after the customer had sought $82,000.
“I have never been fined or sanctioned,’’ Acosta, who is no longer an active financial adviser, said in September. “These are routine issues. Businesses deal with routine and frivolous claims all the time.”
For the record, Philip Smith’s FINRA page shows he has been registered at his current firm since December 1996.
Christy Smith also fired back to those who criticized her for going negative starting at that Sept. 20 candidates’ forum — saying family matters should be off-limits.
“I certainly would not bring up anything related to Dante’s personal life here,’’ she said.
Smith and Acosta are vying for the Assembly seat being vacated by Republican Scott Wilk, who is running for State Senate.