Posts Tagged ‘intimidation’

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

Update from the Leland Yee Campaign: “Latest Ed Lee Voter Fraud Just the Tip of the Iceberg”

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Here’s a look at some background and then find a fresh release below.

Ed Lee backers said to fill in ballots for others

More Fraud Accusations for Lee Supporters

The Ed Lee Story: An Expected Ballot Tampering

“Latest Ed Lee Voter Fraud Just the Tip of the Iceberg - Volunteers witness many instances of potential voter fraud and election violations by Ed Lee campaign

SAN FRANCISCO – Volunteers for Leland Yee’s campaign for mayor are hearing about and witnessing many instances of potential voter fraud and election violations conducted by Ed Lee’s campaign. Over the past several days, Yee’s volunteers have witnessed or heard from voters about at least six different incidents of voter fraud or intimidation.

“I am deeply concerned that the voting rights of individuals are being abused, seniors in subsidized housing are being taken advantage of, and laws that are meant to protect the integrity of the voting process are being ignored and circumvented,” said Yee.

Yesterday, the Bay Citizen and the San Francisco Chronicle reported on workers of an independent expenditure campaign for Ed Lee filling out ballots for voters and in some cases using a stencil which only allowed voters to cast their vote for Lee and no other candidate. The Ed Lee workers also collected dozens of vote-by-mail ballots from voters at the make-shift station.

“What we are hearing from the field is deeply concerning, not just for our campaign but for the integrity of this election and our democracy,” said Jim Stearns, Yee’s campaign manager. “We are encouraging individuals to report potential violations to the Department of Elections; unfortunately, our volunteers are witnessing that many voters are reluctant to speak out, because they are afraid of potential retaliation such as losing their housing.”

These incidents appear to be just the tip of the iceberg as Yee’s campaign volunteers and workers have also witnessed the following voter and election fraud:

At a number of Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) run housing complexes, residents told Yee workers that they turned their ballots over to their apartment managers. Volunteer Tommy Lin said, “Many residents told me they didn’t even know who they voted for, because their ballots were turned over before they were filled out.”

According to Yee worker Andy Li, at the federally-funded Senior Housing Complex on 441 Ellis St, residents were invited to the common room for help on how to fill out their absentee ballots, but were first treated to a projector video of commercials and videos of Ed Lee. Residents then were “assisted” by Ed Lee volunteers in filling out their absentee ballots.

In clear violation of election law, Bayview volunteers told Yee’s Field Director Anthony Thomas that they were paid $150 cash to walk precincts and do other voter contact in the neighborhood.

In a number of Filipino housing complexes, absentee ballots still have not arrived at residents’ homes, raising concerns that they may have been removed by apartment management. Yee is widely considered to be heavily favored in the Filipino American community.

A number of Ed Lee volunteers have attested that they were assigned to work on both Ed Lee’s official mayoral campaign as well as his various independent expenditure campaigns, raising serious issues of illegal coordination between the campaigns.

“It is imperative that the Elections Office, Ethics Commission, Secretary of State, District Attorney, Attorney General, and the US Attorney immediately investigate these various illegalities,” said Stearns. “Ed Lee and his comrades are already under investigation by the DA and US Attorney; it is now time for him to come clean for the good of San Francisco.”

Leland Yee is endorsed by the United Educators of San Francisco, California Nurses Association, Sierra Club, San Francisco Firefighters, AFSCME, SEIU, San Francisco Labor Council, and the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council. Yee immigrated to San Francisco at the age of 3. His father, a veteran, served in the US Army and the Merchant Marine, and his mother was a local seamstress. Yee graduated from the University of California – Berkeley, then earned a Ph.D. in Child Psychology, and later served in various mental health and school settings. He and his wife, Maxine, have raised four children who all attended San Francisco public schools. Yee has served in the State Legislature, Board of Supervisors and Board of Education.”