The signs, vandalized by a large sticker adhered to the sign, were placed by Bruce McPherson’s campaign, a former California Secretary of State and one of two candidates for 5th District Supervisor.
The damage is estimated at about $1,500.
The Sheriff’s Office has identified Bruce Alexander Gaguine as the person who was seen vandalizing the signs. He was seen in broad daylight defacing the signs on three separate days by McPherson supporters. A supporter used a cell phone camera to take a picture of him and his license plate on the third occasion.
Gaguine, according to public records, is the president of the Appleton Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization based in the county.
The Foundation has more than $11.2 million in assets, according to 2010 tax documents, and granted more than $1.2 million to more than 40 organizations in North America in 2010. More recent documentation was not immediately available.
In Santa Cruz in 2010, Appleton Foundation gave $15,000 to the Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center, $15,000 to the Resource Center for Nonviolence, $15,000 to the Homeless Services Center, $9,000 to the Diversity Center, along with $35,000 to the Community Action Board in Watsonville.
The Sheriff’s Office has been unable to contact Gaguine and has turned the case over to the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s Office requesting prosecution.
Gaguine appears to be a supporter of McPherson’s opponent in the 5th District Race, Eric Hammer. Gaguine contributed $150 to the Hammer for Supervisor Campaign on May 5 according to campaign disclosure forms.
However, Hammer said today that he had never heard of Gaguine.
“I have been fortunate enough to have hundreds of people donate to my campaign,” Hammer said over the phone. “I don’t know him – I definitely don’t personally know him.”
Hammer discouraged the damaging of signs.
“It’s unfortunate that people have gone to that level,” he said. “I have been running a clean campaign and focusing on the issues. If they caught the person who did that, that’s great. I’m definitely not supportive of vandalizing anything.”