City Council candidate can appeal the largest election penalty in Portland history.

COURTESY PHOTO: KOIN 6 NEWS - Portland City Council candidate Rene Gonzalez.Portland City Council hopeful Rene Gonzalez was slapped with a hefty fine Tuesday, Sept. 20, for accepting — and failing to report — a steep discount on rent on his campaign office from real estate company Schnitzer Properties Management.

The $77,000 fine — the biggest ever issued by the city's Small Donor Elections program — stems from an unreported in-kind contribution Gonzalez is accused of accepting from the company, which is owned by property magnate Jordan Schnitzer. Schnitzer personally donated $250 to Gonzalez in May.

Program director Susan Motte sent Gonzalez a letter Tuesday notifying him of the fine. According to the letter, a normal tenant would have been asked to pay $6,900 per month for the over 3,000 square feet of downtown office space located at 1010 S.W. 11th Ave.

But Schnitzer Properties waived most of the rent. Since May, Gonzalez's campaign only had to pay $250 per month for the space, which also included two parking spots. (Two monthly downtown parking spaces alone would usually cost about double that, the letter notes).

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