Council candidate says she’s sold her business, drawing new round of skepticism from opponent

A council candidate whose business ties to City Hall have become a divisive campaign issue says she’s solved the problem by cutting ties with her advertising company, but the announcement has so far done little to quiet criticisms from her political opponent.

The sale is the latest twist in the saga of Cindy Allen’s relationship with ETA Advertising, the business she founded in 2005 that’s become a frequent avenue of attack for critics who point to ETA’s contracts with the city as a potential conflict of interest if Allen wins the 2nd District City Council seat in November.

Allen, last week, said she’s put the issue to rest with a recent sale to a couple from San Pedro, Ivana and Dominic Cummins, who run a sales coaching and marketing consulting business called RightMind.

“We have a contract that all of my shares have been sold,” Allen said.

Candidate Cindy Allen for the 2nd District City Council seat during the Long Beach Post debate in Long Beach, Thursday, January 30, 2020. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Allen’s opponent for the council seat, Robert Fox, points out this isn’t the first time Allen has claimed she’s divested herself from ETA.

Before launching her candidacy last year, Allen said she’d sold the agency to a global video streaming company called Blume Media.

But that narrative fell apart earlier this year as reporters revealed Blume’s overblown claims, including a cabinet of fake executives represented by stock photos. Despite Allen and Blume’s CEO touting ETA’s change in ownership, they both later said the deal never actually closed.

This time, Allen provided documentation from the Secretary of State listing Ivana Cummins as ETA’s CEO and lone director.

“Dominic and I are the sole and only owners of ETA,” Ivana Cummins said in an email. “The sale is final. We closed escrow at the end of July.”

Fox, however, continued to question the deal. In a since-deleted Facebook post, he pointed out that Allen shares a maiden name with ETA’s new owners.

Robert Fox during the Long Beach Post debate in Long Beach, Thursday, January 30, 2020. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

“Well it is always interesting in the Cindy Adele ‘Cummins’ Allen camp,” he wrote.

Fox said he hasn’t been able to find any definitive link between Allen and the new owners, but the debacle around the previous sale has damaged his opponent’s credibility in the matter.

Allen and Ivana Cummins said the last name is a coincidence and they had no prior relationship before a broker connected them for the sale.

“I absolutely never knew them,” Allen said of the couple. “There’s no relation, just met them through the transaction.”

Allen and Ivana Cummins both declined to provide a copy of the sale agreement or give details about the transaction, citing confidentiality agreements.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children.
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