Jim Cartmill has been a Sweetwater Union High School District board member since 1990. This November, he’s running for a seat against Karen Janney. As the incumbent, Cartmill’s campaign donors have predictable associations.
Sweetwater is the largest secondary district in the state and has significant construction/reconstruction going on from Proposition BB (2000) and Proposition O (2006). According to a candidate filing ending June 30, the majority of Cartmill’s donors were construction-related or public relations consultants.
Many of the donors who have current contracts with the district gave sizable contributions: a Shelter Island–based public relations firm named Marston & Marston, which currently holds a contract with the district, gave $5,000. Barnhart, Inc, which has a contract with the district, gave $2,500 to the campaign and a $137.50 dinner to Cartmill. The Cartmill campaign has so far taken in $42,050. (In an interview on Monday, September 13, Cartmill said that his next filing will reflect a much more grassroots campaign.)
It was Cartmill’s statement-of-interest form, filed on August 8, 2010, however, that was unpredictable. Cartmill has several interests worth over $1,000,000. His Chula Vista home is worth over a million. Office space in Chula Vista that he rents to an insurance company is estimated at over a million and brings in annual rental revenue from between $10,000 and $100,000.
Cartmill also lists his business, LTH, Inc., as worth over a million. What is LTH? LTH, or Let’s Talk Health, is a company that distributes nutritional supplements — "products with a purpose," according to the website. The address listed for LTH is 3441 Main Street in Chula Vista.
But there’s more to Cartmill and LTH. In 2007, the Union-Tribune published an article about an unorthodox/holistic Baja clinic that had been shut down after Coretta Scott King died there in January of 2006. Hospital Santa Monica, in Rosarito, was founded by Kurt Donsbach of Bonita. The clinic was in the process of reopening in 2007.
The article continued, “Last year, Donsbach sold his Let’s Talk Health business, which includes an Internet radio show that features Donsbach, to Jim Cartmill. Cartmill pays Donsbach an undisclosed ‘royalty,’ Donsbach said in his deposition.” (In the September 13 interview, Cartmill affirmed that he continues to pay Donsbach royalties for the use of his name and his product.)
Donsbach, who has a criminal record, was arrested again in April 2009 while delivering his talk-show webcast at Cartmill’s 3441 Main Street address.
A January 2010 San Diego News Network article reported “a Bonita man accused of falsely identifying himself as a chiropractor and offering dangerous dietary supplements as alternative remedies for cancer…must stand trial on 13 felony counts.” Donsbach “preyed on vulnerable patients who were looking for medical help,” said district attorney Bonnie Dumanis in a related U-T story from the same period.
The San Diego County district attorney's website says Donsbach will have his felony readiness conference on November 1.
Cartmill’s continued connection with Donsbach is demonstrated by the Let’s Talk website. As recently as Labor Day weekend, the site featured a letter signed by Cartmill that read, “My commitment to you as President and CEO is to be a guardian of Dr. Donsbach’s core principles…. We look forward to serving your alternative health needs in the future.”
When interviewed, Cartmill said that what he means by “‘core principles’ relates to customer service and it’s about making sure we take care of our customers.” According to Cartmill, Donsbach is no longer a part of the company. When asked if he supported Donsbach’s health practices, Cartmill said, “We [Let’s Talk] just sell nutritional supplements. Donsbach maintains a presence on the website because those are his brand of nutritional supplements. They’re inspected by the FDA every year.”
In addition, Cartmill’s statement-of-interest form shows that he received between $1,000 and $10,000 as a consultant for Health Advances, Inc., also located in Chula Vista. A website gallery for Health Advances on Naples Street shows a picture of Donsbach, the CEO/owner, a laboratory, and an “encapsulator.”
Cartmill’s statement-of-interest form also lists more than $1,000,000 worth of stock in US Medical Instruments, Inc., a “medical device manufacturer.” When asked about US Medical Instruments, Cartmill responded, “That’s just a company I worked for about five years ago that I just listed in an overabundance of caution. I still hold the stock, but I don’t even know what the status of the company is today.”
Cartmill maintains a website as a motivational speaker and lists the City of Chula Vista and several school districts as clients. The candidate’s Cartmill Communications is not listed on the statement-of-interest form because, said Cartmill, “I unwound that a long time ago. I still have a website up, but it’s more of a hobby for me now.”
photo: from jimcartmill.com