St. Croix did not return Guardian calls seeking comment, but an Ethics Commission press release included a caveat: "Should facts surface that coordination occurred between Mayor Lee and [Progress for All], such allegations will be investigated under the Commission's enforcement regulations."
At a Lee support rally organized by his official campaign team on Aug. 11, volunteers who arrived with "Run, Ed, Run" materials produced by Progress for All were told they could not display those signs and T-shirts; the same people were on a first-name basis with one of Lee's campaign team members.
Pressed on the question of whether there was any coordination between agents of Progress for All and Lee, Pearce said the Ethics Commission discussion had focused on whether Lee had been a candidate. "Whether or not he's a candidate has nothing to do with whether or not he has dinner with Rose [Pak]," Pearce noted. He insisted that there had not been coordination, and that the efforts to encourage Lee to run and to support Lee as a candidate were totally separate.
Sup. John Avalos, who is running for mayor on a progressive platform, recalled at an Aug. 8 candidate forum how things unfolded when Lee's name first came up as an appointee for interim mayor.
Avalos reminded people that he had called for postponing the vote back in December because he hadn't even had a chance to sit down and meet with Lee, who was in Hong Kong at the time. With behind-the-scenes deals orchestrating his appointment, Avalos said, "We saw City Hall turning into one big back room."