Lee under pressure for contract disclosure law violations

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By Lisa Carmack

Mayor Ed Lee has allegedly failed to file 67 reports detailing contracts worth $50,000 or more with the San Francisco Ethics Commission.

Lee has come under attack by fellow candidate City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who claimed that he has “repeatedly delayed filing his required disclosure forms.”

“I’m not aware of specific delays yet, but any time we get a notice and our campaign is reviewed, everything we’re supposed to file as far as I know, we’re in compliance,” Lee said when asked about the claims.

According to city law, any elected official who approves contracts worth $50,000 or more is required to file a report within five days of approval. The requirement serves as a safeguard against illegal campaign contributions, since the city’s Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance bars officials from receiving contributions from vendors within six months of contract approval.

“It just came to my attention today,” said the executive director of Ethics Commission John St. Croix. “We’re gonna have to talk to him and his folks about why these reports have been excessively late.”

On Oct. 5, Herrera publicized records listing each time Lee failed to comply with the ordinance since becoming interim mayor in January of this year.

Whether or not punitive actions will be taken is up to the Ethics Commission. “In this case we have to investigate first,” said St. Croix, adding that while the agency would look into the matter, he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of an official investigation. “I’m not aware of any other entity that files late on a routine basis.”

Comments

That's only one instance,

The SFWeekly had that story long ago about how Ed Lee at Willie Brown's behest gave MBE (minority business enterprise) status to a trucking front run by Willie's buddy (throws a birthday party for him yearly) buddy, Charlie Walker. Even after Walker had done prison time for defrauding the system.

Then try, 'JCS Computer Store SF Ed Lee'. More of the same. Lee's been facilitating fraud for Willie thru contracting for years.

Then Google, 'h. brown SF Escort Service' and see how they funneled over a half million dollars to me last year alone.

OK, that last line isn't true.

But, the others are.

Keep in mind that while you're concentrating on Lee's crooked contracts that you're forgetting that Herrera had to answer charges of being lobbied for contracts by the outfit running his mayoral election campaign.

Lord, lord, lord ... this is certainly a place full of corruption, sex, drugs and R&R

That's why I moved here.

Go Niners!

h.

Posted by h. brown on Oct. 05, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

Dontcha mean "Pistol Packing Charlie". Just funning.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

Ah, there is more to this soap opera. Are you a trucker Mr. H ?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2011 @ 7:56 am

Ah, there is more to this soap opera. Are you a trucker Mr. H ?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2011 @ 7:57 am

Has the Bay Guardian verified these late violations before publishing this story as responsible journalists should do?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

Regarding verifying the violations, the article has a quote from the Director of the agency that receives the contract reports in which he acknowledges that they were late. You can see they are late for yourself by comparing the contract approval date with the filing date, posted online (www.sfethics.org/ethics/contracts/). Too bad that internet trolls aren't held to the same standards as responsible journalists.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 11:27 am

Wont make a bit of difference :-)

Posted by Guest on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

At least I can rely on the SFBG giving me a well thought and research journalism. Even though they have been known not to post a story on a candidate they support.

Posted by Jerry Jarvis on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

At least I can rely on the SFBG giving me a well thought and researched journalism. Even though they have been known not to post a negative story on a candidate they support.

Posted by Jerry Jarvis on Oct. 06, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

I'm glad to see reporting on the late contract disclosures. The reason Director John St. Croix says that this matter just came to his attention is because he previously decided that Ethics Commission staff should not identify when contract disclosures are filed late. While Ethics staff do review nearly ever other campaign-related filing they receive to determine if it is late, contract disclosures have been ignored by Ethics in the past. St. Croix's reason for choosing for the Commission to remain in the dark about potential late filings is unknown to me, but I know he did choose this because I used to be the Fines Collection Officer there and my recommendation that we review the contract report submission dates and take action on any instances of late filing was rejected by Ethics mgt.

In fairness to Mayor Lee, some of these late contract disclosures should have been filed by Gavin Newsom, since some were approved before Lee was Mayor. In those cases, Lee appears to be cleaning up Newsom's mess. However, many of the disclosures were triggered during Mayor Lee's term, easily determined by reviewing the records on file with Ethics. Overall, I've never seen worse late filing of the required contract reports (at least since Ethics notified officeholders that it was enforcing this disclosure law). In fact, there are far more than 67 instances of late contract disclosure, since many of Lee's filings were consolidated. One filing alone consists of 44 pages of separate contracts.

While St. Croix claims that the violations have to be investigated first, San Francisco law automatically applies a $10/day late fee for each contract filed after the deadline, regardless of whether the lateness was intentional or not, in addition to any investigatory penalties that the Ethics Commission later chooses to enforce. Since various San Francisco officeholders responsibly make the effort to file their contract reports on time, Mayor Lee's violations should be sanctioned. The Ethics Commission should immediately act to send the Mayor a bill for the late fees. Though I'm no longer the Fines Officer, I'll do some free work in the public interest and compute the total amount of the fees of these 2011 late filings, which are:

Newsom, $136,810 for 27 reports filed a total of 13,681 days late
Lee, $41,050 for 145 reports filed a total of 4,105 days late

Lee and Newsom should send their personal checks payable to the general fund of the City & County (delivered to Ethics for intake). I expect they can afford the fees (if not, Ethics provides installment payment schedules and there is also a waiver request process).

Posted by Oliver Luby on Oct. 07, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

I'm glad to see reporting on the late contract disclosures. The reason Director John St. Croix says that this matter just came to his attention is because he previously decided that Ethics Commission staff should not identify when contract disclosures are filed late. While Ethics staff do review nearly ever other campaign-related filing they receive to determine if it is late, contract disclosures have been ignored by Ethics in the past. St. Croix's reason for choosing for the Commission to remain in the dark about potential late filings is unknown to me, but I know he did choose this because I used to be the Fines Collection Officer there and my recommendation that we review the contract report submission dates and take action on any instances of late filing was rejected by Ethics mgt.

In fairness to Mayor Lee, some of these late contract disclosures should have been filed by Gavin Newsom, since some were approved before Lee was Mayor. In those cases, Lee appears to be cleaning up Newsom's mess. However, many of the disclosures were triggered during Mayor Lee's term, easily determined by reviewing the records on file with Ethics. Overall, I've never seen worse late filing of the required contract reports (at least since Ethics notified officeholders that it was enforcing this disclosure law). In fact, there are far more than 67 instances of late contract disclosure, since many of Lee's filings were consolidated. One filing alone consists of 44 pages of separate contracts.

While St. Croix claims that the violations have to be investigated first, San Francisco law automatically applies a $10/day late fee for each contract filed after the deadline, regardless of whether the lateness was intentional or not, in addition to any investigatory penalties that the Ethics Commission later chooses to enforce. Since various San Francisco officeholders responsibly make the effort to file their contract reports on time, Mayor Lee's violations should be sanctioned. The Ethics Commission should immediately act to send the Mayor a bill for the late fees. Though I'm no longer the Fines Officer, I'll do some free work in the public interest and compute the total amount of the fees of these 2011 late filings, which are:

Newsom, $136,810 for 27 reports filed a total of 13,681 days late
Lee, $41,050 for 145 reports filed a total of 4,105 days late

Lee and Newsom should send their personal checks payable to the general fund of the City & County (delivered to Ethics for intake). I expect they can afford the fees (if not, Ethics provides installment payment schedules and there is also a waiver request process).

Posted by Oliver Luby on Oct. 07, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

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