Rep. Gary Miller on Thursday dismissed allegations he violated tax law, and threatened the city of Monrovia with a lawsuit if officials there continue to make “misstatements” about his business dealings. In a wide-ranging interview, the Brea Republican defended a series of land deals, starting in 2002, that appear to be the subject of a federal investigation into whether he improperly shielded his profits through the use of a special tax provision. Miller said repeatedly that he has always followed legal and ethical guidelines in his real estate deals. He accused both a partisan media and local Democratic officials of impugning his character without regard for fact. “My reputation is being destroyed,” said Miller, 58. “If there is some benefit to me in being a congressman in any of these transactions, please show it to me.” On Thursday, Miller’s attorneys served the city of Monrovia with a letter requesting staff “retract or correct any misstatements made to the media or any governmental agencies” with regard to his 2002 sale of 165 acres of hillside land to the city for nearly $11.8 million. The letter goes on to say that “if misstatements by the city, its officials or staff members persist, then the consequences could result in damages for which the city could be held accountable.” City Manager Scott Ochoa said Monrovia officials have remained consistent in answering questions about the land sale. “Whatever the investigation is looking into it is not an issue for the city of Monrovia,” Ochoa said. “It is a private business dealing and does not concern us directly. All the city did was buy some property.” At least four current and former city officials in Monrovia and Fontana have said the FBI has contacted them about Miller’s real estate dealings. The FBI has declined comment. In the last three weeks, the agency requested from Monrovia a DVD of a Feb. 29, 2000, City Council meeting that shows Miller appealing to the council to purchase his land. Miller later avoided paying capital gains on the $10 million profit he made by claiming the city forced the sale. IRS Code 1033 allows a seller to defer capital gains taxes if a property has been condemned or is sold under threat of condemnation, said Terry Cuff, an attorney and tax expert with the firm of Loeb & Loeb in Los Angeles. “It has to be a bona fide threat,” said Cuff. “A letter is normally enough, as long as the proper intent exists that is reflected in the letter.” Miller requested and received a letter from then-Monrovia City Manager Don Hopper on May 22, 2002, that says the city would have initiated condemnation proceedings if the congressman had not agreed to sell. “Eminent domain was always in play on my property,” Miller said, adding that he negotiated a “friendly condemnation” agreement with the city and then used that to apply for the tax deferment. Former Monrovia Mayor Lara Larramendi said she does not recall the words “friendly condemnation” or “eminent domain” ever being mentioned until the May 22 letter. She added that during negotiations with Miller, it was understood that Monrovia had to find a willing seller to qualify for state matching grants to buy the property. “We were following the state’s process, which required a state-certified appraiser and that we had a willing seller, and Mr. Miller was aware of that,” she said. Monrovia Mayor Rob Hammond, who was a councilman at the time of the land sale, said he believed the city would have moved ahead with condemnation proceedings had the sale not gone through. “Was condemnation a part of it? The answer is yes,” he said. “If we did not get the grant, we would have gone down that path, given the sentiment of our community at the time. They would have expected us to.” Miller used the proceeds from the Monrovia sale to buy property in Fontana from Lewis Operating Corp., a development company he had done business with before and that had contributed significantly to Miller’s congressional campaigns. In 2006, Lewis gave $8,500 to Miller, who ran for re-election unopposed. In 2004, the company gave him $10,000, making it the third largest contributor to his campaign. Since the IRS code requires that protected proceeds be reinvested within two years, Miller said he turned to Lewis to find investment property. In 2004, Miller bought several parcels that Lewis had planned to sell to the Fontana Redevelopment Agency. He then turned around and sold them to the city in 2005 and 2006. Miller said he made a small profit on the Fontana deals. He indicated on a government form after the sale that he intended to apply for 1033 protection. On Thursday, he said he never invoked the exemption. Miller declined to make his tax records available for review. Naomi Seligman, spokeswoman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said Miller should be more transparent about the transactions. CREW filed a complaint with the IRS in August alleging Miller violated tax law. “Unless he provides his \ documents, we can only assume he is lying,” said Seligman. “There is nothing barring him from providing those documents in order to clear his name.” Miller blamed “Democrats” for smearing his character, pointing his finger at Larramendi and Monrovia Planning Commissioner Glen Owens, as well a Los Angeles Times reporter whose story prompted CREW to file its complaint. “I’m getting bashed by three Democrats here,” Miller said. Both Larramendi and Owens have confirmed they were contacted by the FBI. Larramendi, who now works for Rep. Hilda Solis, D-El Monte, scoffed at the notion that her statements about the Miller deal amounted to a partisan attack. “That is ridiculous,” she said. “His issues are with the IRS and the FBI and I do not know of any political motivation here.” Owens could not be reached for comment. Miller said he has spoken with House Minority Leader John Boehner about the allegations, and in October he initiated a House ethics committee review of his dealings to prove he followed the law. As of Thursday, Miller said he had not heard from any federal agency that it is investigating his land deals. He said he would make it public if he is contacted. Miller represents the 42nd Congressional District, which includes Diamond Bar, La Habra, La Habra Heights, Whittier, Rowland Heights, Chino and Chino Hills. Miller said he ran for Congress in 1998 because he did not like “what government did to the private sector,” particularly with the way it regulates development. Miller, who previously served in the state Assembly and on the Diamond Bar City Council, is a successful real estate developer and businessman. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Miller is the 12th wealthiest member of the House, with a net worth of between $12 million and $51.7 million. firstname.lastname@example.org (626) 962-8811 Ext. 2733 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!