The 48-year-old Delecia Holt sounded like a refreshing change in a race to replace a disgraced Republican congressman who plead guilty to accepting bribes in 2006.
"Ethics reform begins with me," she told a Republican luncheon that year. "I am the only candidate that has pledged not to accept a salary for the first year of service while in Congress."
Turns out Holt has an ethics scandal of her own -- or, really, quite a few.
Holt, who has run for Congress as a Republican three times since 2005 (and garnered fewer than a thousand votes), stands accused of passing bad checks on myriad occasions. She's been in jail since being arrested last October, unable to post her $56,000 bail. She's also allegedly gone through four court-appointed public defenders since her arrest, according to the Orange County Register, which detailed the charges Monday.
Just how many bad checks?
According to the charges prepared by the District Attorney, Holt wrote bogus checks to a hotel, four comedians, a phone company, a movie theater and a Mercedes Benz dealer.
Some of the highlights from the Register:
July 2005: Holt is accused of going to a Mercedes Benz dealership in Orange County and writing a bad check for just under $13,000 as a down payment for a $32,000 car. She is accused of leaving the dealer lot in the car and never making any legitimate payments for the vehicle. Holt's account, from which the $13,000 down payment check was written, had insufficient funds and the dealership never received any monthly payments...
July-September 2007: Holt is accused of defrauding the Comfort Suites in Lake Forest out of $5,000. She is accused of living at the Comfort Suites and writing three separate checks with insufficient funds over the course of three months. She is accused of fleeing the hotel after failing to make any legitimate payments for her bill...
October 2007: Holt is accused of hosting a comedy night fundraiser at a Dana Point hotel under the pretense of raising money for Habitat for Humanity. The failed event did not raise any money. Holt is accused of writing a check for $15,000 to the hotel from a personal account to cover the cost of the event. She is accused of writing a check to the four comedians totaling $2,000. She is accused of intentionally writing the checks knowing her account had insufficient funds. The checks were declined when the victims attempted to deposit them. She is accused of failing to pay the photographer and videographer.
Holt is also accused of opening multiple Sprint phone lines and not paying her bills, which totaled $5,400, and of writing a bad check for $3,000 to Regal Cinemas for an ad she ran before movies to promote her realty business -- and committing welfare fraud in the amount of $900.