Posts Tagged ‘fair political practices commission’

Evanescent Evidence: Rose Pak Spanked by the Fair Political Practices Commission Over Travel to China a Half-Decade Ago

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Gaia bless state and federal investigators in their efforts to clean up this town.

(If Rose Pak had a gift for me, I’d turn her down…)

Anyway, here’s the pdf from two point something years ago.

And here’s the OCR (but as you can see from the link, this evidence of wrongdoing is fading from the Web, at least in OCR form).

“Contents : FAIR POLITICAL PRACTICES COMMISSION 428 J Street Suite 620 Sacramento CA 958I4 2329 !916 322 5660 Fax t9!b) 322 0886 August 22 2011

Ms. Rose Pak o/b/o Chinese New Year Festival Committee REDACTED Letter Re: FPPC No. 11/081 Carmen Chu, David Chiu and Eric Mar

Dear Ms. Pak: The Fair Political Practices Commission (the “FPPC”) enforces the provisions of the Political Reform Act (the “Act”) found in Government Code section 81000 et seq. As you may be aware the Commission has undertaken an investigation into gifts of travel to southern China from November Ii. 2009 through November 16 2009 provided by the Chinese New Year Festival Committee to Supervisors Carmen Chu David Chiu and Eric Mar.

The Act places limitations on the acceptance of gifts by certain public officials including city supervisors. Section 89503(a) prohibits these public officials from accepting gifts from any single source in any calendar year with a total value of more than the applicable gift limit. The $250 gift limit is adjusted biennially to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index pursuant to Section 89503 subdivision (t). The gift limit in 2009 was $420. (Regulation 18940.2.)

Under specific circumstances payments for transportation lodging and subsistence may be exempt from the definition of “gift.” Section 89506(a)(2) provides that travel expenses reasonably related to a legislative or governmental purpose or to an issue of state national or international policy are not prohibited or limited if they are provided by certain specified sources such as governmental agencies bona fide public or private educational institutions or non-profit 50 I (c)(3) organizations. During the course of our investigation we reviewed documents obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) concerning the Chinese New YearFestival Committee’s tax exempt status.

According to these documents which included copies of IRS filings and The Political Reform Act is contained in Government Code sections 81000 through 91014. All statutory references are to the Government Code unless otherwise indicated. The regulations of the Fair Political Practices Commission are contained in sections 18110 through 18997 of Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations. All regulatory references are to Title 2 Division 6 of the California Code of Regulations unless otherwise indicated. FPPC Case No. 11/081 Page 2 01’2 Articles of incorporation originally filed with theCalifornia Secretary of State the Chinese New Year Festival Committee is registered as a 501 (c)(6) chamber of commerce organization. It has never been registered as a 50J(c)(3) organization. Therefore the requirements under Section 89506(a)(2) for an exception to the gift limit are not met and any gift including those of travel are subject to gift limits. Please be advised that since the Chinese New Year Festival Committee is not an organization that falls under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code no public official may accept gifts of any type from this organization valued in excess of the applicable limit. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have regarding this letter. Sincerely REDACTED ‘-iachary ‘ II. Norton Commission Counsel Enforcement Division”

Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ: More Money Laundering Found in Ed Lee Campaign – Meet CitiApartments’ “Eviction Goon”

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

[UPDATE: Senator Leland Yee is on the case this AM – he’s doing a presser involving this latest allegation. (I guess it’s too late to call this an October Surprise, and frankly, it’s not all that surprising neither. Let’s call it a November Expectation. Brace yourself for more.) Oh, and Leland is onto some Chinatown voting sting operation as well.

And there’s this: “Statement from Chiu Campaign on Money Laundering Allegations - SAN FRANCISCO (November 2, 2011): Addisu Demissie, spokesman for the David Chiu for Mayor campaign, released the following statement about a San Francisco Chronicle report of potential money laundering by supporters of Mayor Ed Lee:

“This is now the fourth allegation of illegal conduct by Mayor Lee’s supporters, and it should be investigated fully by the District Attorney and appropriate authorities,” Demissie said. “With six days to go before Election Day, it will be up to the voters to decide whether this kind of bullying, pay-to-play politics is what they want to see at City Hall for the next 4 years. David is going to spend the last 6 days of this race talking about why he represents a new generation of leadership for San Francisco that will stand tough against the special interests and shake things up at City Hall.

Paid for by David Chiu for Mayor 2011, P.O. Box 641541, San Francisco, CA 94164, FPPC##1337108]

Well, it looks like early-rising City Attorney Dennis Jose Herrera is the first one out of the gates to follow up on today’s piece from San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writers John Coté and Heather Knight.

Testify, DJH:

“Too many of Ed Lee’s supporters act as though they’re above the law — on money laundering, on ballot tampering, and more – and Ed Lee isn’t strong enough to stop it.

Amen.

Earlier this year, Ed Lee was picked unanimously to be an Interim Mayor. He wasn’t picked to be a Reformer. He’ll never be a Reformer.

In Ed Lee’s world, the notorious Willie Brown Administration deserves an A+, Rose Pak is not a cancer on Chinatown, and corner-cutting PG&E (“KABOOM!“) is simply “a great local corporation” and a “great company that gets it.”

Oh well.

Is Ed Lee Breaking Bad? Has the City Family corrupted him? Or has he corrupted the City Family? A little of both?

Click to expand

All the deets:

“Herrera calls on FPPC to join D.A. in investigating new Ed Lee campaign money laundering charge - CitiApartments’ former eviction goon led reimbursement-for-donation scheme, suggesting political payback for City Attorney’s 2006 tenant-protection lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO (Nov. 2, 2011) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera this morning called on the state Fair Political Practices Commission to join District Attorney George Gascón in reviewing new allegations reported in today’s San Francisco Chronicle that Ed Lee’s mayoral campaign received donations that appear to have been illegally laundered to skirt San Francisco $500 per donor contribution maximum.[1] Andrew Hawkins, a property services manager whose harrowing tenant intimidation tactics were central to Herrera’s lawsuit five years ago against the Lembi Group landlords’ once high-rolling CitiApartments empire, promised reimbursements to at least sixteen employees in exchange for maximum contributions to Ed Lee’s mayoral campaign at an Oct. 18, 2011 fundraiser, according to the Chronicle.

It is the second major allegation of campaign money laundering to benefit Ed Lee’s campaign. The first, involving GO Lorrie’s airport shuttle, is the subject of separate investigations by Gascón’s office and the FPPC, the state commission responsible to investigate and impose penalties for violations of the California Political Reform Act. Such schemes have been prosecuted as felonies in California for conspiring to evade campaign contribution limits, and for making campaign contributions under false names.

I think San Franciscans have now seen enough,” said City Attorney Dennis Herrera. “Too many of Ed Lee’s supporters act as though they’re above the law — on money laundering, on ballot tampering, and more — and Ed Lee isn’t strong enough to stop it. If this is how they behave before an election, just imagine how they’ll behave after the election, if Ed Lee wins. This scheme is clearly a bid for political payback by CitiApartments henchmen for my litigation to protect tenants five years ago. It is patently illegal, and I call on the FPPC to join the District Attorney in investigating.”

Hawkins is listed in Ed Lee’s campaign disclosures as the owner of Archway Property Services. As the one-time head of CitiApartments’ “tenant relocation program,” the gun-carrying Hawkins is reported to have coerced more than 2,500 tenants out of their rent-controlled units, and once boasted in civil court testimony, “I run people out of their apartments for a living. It’s what I do.

Several recipients of Hawkins’ email invitation to an Oct. 18 event on Russian Hill made contributions to Ed Lee’s campaign on the same date. All contributed the maximum $500.

Herrera sued the CitiApartments residential rental property behemoth in Aug. 2006 for an array of unlawful business and tenant harassment practices, which sought to dispossess long-term residents of their rent-controlled apartments. The coerced vacancies freed the company to make often-unpermitted renovations to units, and then re-rent them to new tenants at dramatically increased market rates. The illegal business model enabled CitiApartments, Skyline Realty and other entities under the sway of real estate family patriarch Frank Lembi to aggressively outbid competitors for residential properties throughout San Francisco for several years — before lawsuits and a sharp economic downturn forced the aspiring empire into bankruptcies, foreclosures and receiverships.

A 2009 San Francisco Magazine feature story on the Lembi real estate empire[2] described Andrew Hawkins as “a burly former nightclub bouncer who headed up CitiApartments’ relocation program.” Hawkins reportedly led teams as large as 14 full-time employees, according to the report, and the company estimated that “Hawkins relocated more than 2,500 tenants.” An earlier exposé in 2006 by the San Francisco Bay Guardian[3] cited civil court testimony in which Hawkins boasted to one tenant’s family member, “I run people out of their apartments for a living. It’s what I do.”

# # #

SOURCES:
[1] Source: “Ed Lee donors face money-laundering allegations” by John Coté and Heather Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 2, 2011, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/02/MNKJ1LOMB7.DTL
[2] Source: “War of values” by Danelle Morton, San Francisco Magazine, Nov. 19, 2009, http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/war-of-values
[3] Source: “The Scumlords: Part One of a Three-Part Series” by G.W. Schulz, San Francisco Bay Guardian, March 8, 2006, http://www.sfbg.com/40/23/news_skyline.html

Oh, It’s On! City Attorney Dennis Herrera Calls for Federal, State Investigations into Mayor Ed Lee Campaign

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Get up to speed on this issue right here, courtesy of The Bay Citizen writer Gerry Shih, who’s been nosing around our somewhat-corrupt SFO airport lately.

And here’s the version of the same story what’s in the National Section of today’s New York Times:

Contributions to Mayor Raise Issue of Legality

Ouch.

Your City Attorney Dennis Jose Herrera:

Via Luke Thomas of Fog City Journal

And here they are – Interim Mayor Ed Lee and Mayoral Spokesmodel Tony Winnicker along with the Fourth Estate (including feisty Gerry Shih and feisty Luke Thomas) at San Francisco City Hall:

And here’s “City Family” member GO Lorrie’s Airport Shuttle:

All the deets:

“Herrera calls for criminal investigation of laundered campaign donations to Ed Lee

Letter to U.S. Attorney, State A.G. and San Francisco D.A. says only investigators with authority to subpoena records, question witnesses under oath can resolve questions

SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 7, 2011) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today called for a formal criminal investigation into allegations first reported late yesterday afternoon that donors to interim Mayor Ed Lee’s campaign conspired to exceed contribution limits by laundering money through business associates. Herrera’s three-page letter to U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón noted that the published admissions by employees of Go Lorries Airport Shuttle may indicate felony and misdemeanor violations of state and local laws. The California Fair Political Practices Commission has already announced a civil investigation into allegations that donors were reimbursed cash to make campaign contributions to Lee.

Further heightening concerns about the apparently illegal contributions, Herrera wrote, is that the donations closely followed official actions by mayoral appointees that significantly benefited the purported donors’ employer. Those actions include altering shared-ride the loading zone configurations at San Francisco International Airport to favor Go Lorries Airport Shuttles “due to feedback” from unspecified parties. Lee’s campaign has reportedly returned some $8,500 in donations that were questioned yesterday.

“Investigations are warranted when credible allegations risk undermining public trust in our local government — and we’ve certainly reached that point here,” Herrera said. “Only independent investigators with authority to subpoena records and question witnesses under oath can adequately resolve questions to which San Franciscans deserve answers. A formal investigation will best assure justice while protecting innocent parties. I hope interim Mayor Lee’s campaign joins in calling for such an inquiry, and cooperates with it fully.”

Herrera’s letter noted that multiple political endeavors on interim Mayor Lee’s behalf for much of the year have been plagued by ethical and legal questions, including political activities by city contractors, and the advent of a controversial “general purpose committee” that advanced Lee’s candidacy throughout the summer while sidestepping legal restraints that normally apply to candidate committees.

Urging “a full, fair and speedy investigation,” Herrera’s letter to federal and state criminal prosecutors concluded: “Allowing these questions to remain wholly unanswered can only serve to betray San Franciscans’ confidence in the integrity of their public institutions, and potentially diminish the legitimacy of their elected leadership.”

D2 Update: Janet Throws Down – Files FPPC Complaint, Mark Gets Endorsed by SFChron, and Kat Endorses Mark and Abe

Friday, October 29th, 2010

I don’t know, I’m not competent to weigh in on the pros and cons of Janet Reilly’s FPPC complaint against Common Sense Voters, SF 2010. But here it is, just released this afternoon:

Reilly Press Release – 10-29-2010

FPPC Complaint Against Common Sense Voters

Part of this fuss is over this NotJanetReilly website, which appears to have something to do with “Salsa Labs” and yet, amazingly,  doesn’t crash when you look at it.

So that’s that, moving on.

Mark Farrell‘s Facebook page is something I hadn’t seen before – it’s filled up with well-wishes from the high and mighty. See?

District 2: Farrell is voice of restraint

And Kat Anderson is out with some releases today as well. I’d have to call this graf below evidence of a co-endorsement. Only candidate Barbara Berwick has co-endorsed in D2 so far AFAIK, so this is news:

“VOTE TO ELECT A MODERATE REPRESENTATIVE. Please fill out your absentee ballots and mail them now.  Or, you can walk them to your polls on November 2nd.  You can also go to the Department of Elections at City Hall and vote early.  And, of course, you can engage in a great right and ritual on November 2nd, and go vote at your polling place.  Be sure to encourage all of your friends to GET OUT THE VOTE and to support the true moderates:  KAT ANDERSON, MARK FARRELL AND ABRAHAM SIMMONS.”

See Kat’s plans for Halloween after the jump.

And oh geez, here’s more about the recent, big-money independent expenditure – hear from Frank Jordan (is he alleging a crime when he puts “independent” in quote marks?) and Louise Renne too.

That’s it, that’s your final D2 Update for the day.

(more…)

How is This New Anti-Jerry Brown Attack Ad Not an Anti-Jerry Brown Attack Ad?

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Read all about it in the LA Times and then take a look yourself at the controversial new attack ad against Jerry Brown from the California Chamber of Commerce.

Ouch:

“The poisonous partisan attack is an utter betrayal of the chamber’s mission to represent the business community, not just do the bidding of one billionaire running for governor.”

Is this the right way to get around the rules, just by saying you’re not doing what you’re doing – is this the way it works these days?

It’s starting to rain hard, but you’re outside without a brolly – what are you thinking, CalChamber?

Just asking…

[UPDATE: This just in – complaints have just been filed. Consumer Watchdog, for one, is on the case. Who, at CalChamber, let the dogs out? Repeat: What are you thinking, CalChamber? Helloooooo, McFly!]

[REUPDATE: Now, UC President and Chamber board member Mark Yudof wants to know what in the Sam Hill is going on. Whoop, whoop. TERRAIN, TERRAIN! PULL UP! T 6 N L - EJECT EJECT EJECT!]

[REUPDATE II: We’ve reached endgame. Alls that’s left to do is to see how the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) will handle the situation.]