Posts Tagged ‘John Coté’

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

All in the Family, the “City Family” – Even Recology Showed Up at Today’s Run Ed Run Rally at City Hall

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Let me tell you, if you ever get a chance to visit Recology at 50 California, well, their offices are fantastic.

And everybody’s so friendly – you’ll have gaggle of attractivas in the their 20′s and 30′s coming up to you to just say hi, just like you’re a rock star or a Nordstrom’s customer or something.

And the party swag, don’t get me started on the party swag.

Anyway, guess who showed up at today’s Run Ed Run rally at City Hall. It’s the melon-farming Recology garbage truck! See?

Click to expand – via Suzanne Ruecker

Ouch:

“In the summer of 1999, Lee, who had been tapped by Brown to head the Department of Public Works in 1996, came under public criticism after proposing a 44 percent rate hike for residential garbage collection. Although the rate was lower than the 52 percent hike proposed by Norcal (as Recology was then known), it was substantially higher than the 20 percent increase recommended by his staff, said Quentin Kopp, a former supervisor and state senator and a retired judge who advocated against the rate hike at the time.”

Doesn’t Recology know enough to not to have their trucks roll down Polk Street during an Ed Lee rally, you know, at this particular juncture?

Apparently not.

So-Called Spontaneous and Unscripted “Run Ed Run Campaign” is Anything But – Today’s Big Rally at City Hall

Monday, August 1st, 2011

[UPDATE: Oh, and look who else was on the scene – it’s famous Steve Rhodes:

“Run Ed Run rally to push @MayorEdLee to break his promise #SFmayor and it looks like he will (though probably not til next week)

baycitizen.org/politics/story/ed-lee-campaign-announcemen…

They have over 50,000 signatures (and spent over $60,000 to get them).

They didn’t deliver them in a garbage truck for some reason

www.baycitizen.org/politics/story/ed_lee_sfmayor_recology/

They say his promise to the people to serve them over a promise to politicians to not run (though they are happy to mention politician Sen Feinstein wants him to run sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/07/27/BAM31KFE… ).

I wonder what they would be saying if Sheriff Hennessey had been appointed interim mayor & then decided to run.”

Click to expand – via Steve Rhodes]

Well, here they come, straight outta C-Town, coming across Polk Street just after being bused in, it’s the main body of today’s noontime Run Ed Run rally at the steps of City Hall:

Click to expand

Are you up to speed on this one?

Bruce Begin: Legal questions overshadow an Ed Lee mayoral run

Gerry Shih: The Machine Behind ‘Run Ed Run’ - San Francisco’s garbage company, a long-time Willie Brown ally, tied to efforts to keep Ed Lee in office

Heather Knight: What happens if Lee breaks his promise?

John Cote: SF Mayor Ed Lee’s rivals seek probe of his backers

How’s that, for starters?

Oh, and here’s the latest:

Gerry Shih, from the campaign trail today: “I’m not anticipating anything at this point,” Lee said with a smile…” And here’s a bon mot from Board of Supervisors President David Chiu:

Chiu continued to allege “unethical” and “possibly illegal” activity by Progress For All. ‘San Franciscans want answers and deserve a full investigation of what happened,’ Chiu said.”

Yowzer.

All right, back to today’s political theatre. Is this the “grass roots?” These people are, quite literally for a few of them, the same people who were bused in for the Save Ed Jew rallies from back in the day:

They were all directed off the sidewalk and up the cattle chute to City Hall by the man in the yellow hat, well, that’s what I call him, anyway, seen here, at camera center, without a hat:

Oh, this van was not actually driven (see comments) by the ringleader, you know, the fellow who told the easily-cowed grandmothers and the misled youth what to do.

After that, it was time to rehearse the scripts…

…and collect “spontaneous” supporters for the rally. There were 100+ on hand, all told:

Oh well.

We’ll know more about the people behind Run Ed Run and the like soon enough, perhaps as early as tonight.

Stay tuned…

The Full Statement of Five Front-Running Mayoral Candidates Calling for an Investigation of the “Run, Ed, Run” Campaign

Friday, July 29th, 2011

John Coté had the news this morning in SFGate* about recent developments – it’s the talk of the town.

Now, here’s the statement itself, in its entirety:

“Five San Francisco Mayoral Candidates Call For Investigation Of “Run, Ed, Run” Campaign

Alioto-Pier, Chiu, Herrera, Rees, and Yee Urge SF Ethics Commission To Pursue Allegations In New Ethics Letter 

Today, five current San Francisco mayoral candidates called on the San Francisco Ethics Commission to investigate allegations that Progress for All – the political committee behind the “Run Ed Run” campaign – has violated San Francisco’s Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance.

In its initial filings in May, Progress for All declared itself to be a General Purpose Committee, “not formed to support or oppose specific candidates or measures in a single election.”  Today, a letter filed with the Ethics Commission alleges that Progress for All misled the Commission, and is actually an independent expenditure committee formed for the purpose of supporting Mayor Ed Lee as a candidate in this November’s election.  Furthermore, as an independent expenditure committee, the letter alleges that Progress for All has coordinated their activities with the Mayor in violation of Section 1.115(a)(1) of the San Francisco Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance.

The joint statement of the five candidates is included below:

“The allegations made today against Progress for All and Run Ed Run are serious and deserve the immediate and full attention of the San Francisco Ethics Commission.  As competing candidates, we may not agree on which one of us should be the next Mayor, but as San Franciscans, we all strongly believe that this election must be contested on a level playing field.  Throughout this campaign, the five of us have played by the rules and complied with all relevant campaign finance laws and regulations.  We urge the Commission to pursue these allegations and ensure that Progress for All and Run Ed Run are held to the same standard.”

-Michela Alioto-Pier, David Chiu, Dennis Herrera, Joanna Rees and Leland Yee

Anyway, you know, for the record and whatnot…

Yowzer.

*Come for the breaking news, stay for the Frieda Pinto photos at the bottom of the page. Yowzer otra vez.