Eber: Something is Rotten in Denmark

Corruption is big in California.  Corporation use government and government use corporations (for donations), it is a cabal.  Then government agencies protect the corrupt by punishing the whistleblowers.  Government become the protector and bully—speak up when you see corruption and YOU are the one in trouble—like a bad movie.

“Even with these lofty credentials, both Lennar and Five Point have a history of shady activities, in their past business activities in California and the rest of the Country.  In the “Golden State” this includes:

  • In 2010 Nancy Graham, CEO of the Center City Development Corporation failed to disclose while approving a Lennar Redevelopment project in San Diego that she had received 3 million dollars in an unrelated real-estate deal in Florida from them. Graham agreed to a fine of $ 32,000.00 from the San Diego ethics Commission and soon left town.

  • Five Point Holdings President Kofi Bonner, while Vice President of Lennar’s West Coast operation, utilized the services of Keith Jackson to the tune of almost $ 500,000 in unexplained consulting fees. Jackson, who also had close ties with Bonner’s mentor Willie Brown, was the chief fundraiser for late San Francisco mayor Ed Lee. He is presently serving a prison sentence along with former legislator Leland Yee for conspiracy, racketeering, and bribery in arranging political favors.”

  • This will give you an idea of the corruption all around us in California. Where is the Attorney General?  Where are the District Attorneys—where is law enforcement.  It is like the old West—everyone for themselves and government does not want you to spit on the ground—bigger corruption enforcement is beyond their pay grade.

  • San Francisco, CA, USA

Something is Rotten in Denmark by Richard Eber

Richard Eber, California Political News and Views  5/24/18

An officer of the palace guard remarks after the ghost of the dead king appears, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” As fans of William Shakespeare know, this phrase is used to describe corruption or a situation which has gone terribly wrong.

This sad state of affairs might describe the Tetra Tech scandal in San Francisco’s Hunter’s Point. A few months ago it was learned from local reporters that this company which cleans toxic waste deposits for the Navy on property it turns over for commercial development was fraudulently testing soil samples of hazmat materials including nuclear waste.

By the time this story reached print, all of the whistle blowers who once worked for Tetra Tech were long gone.  All complained about being laid off for expressing their concerns. However, the Navy finally woke up and determined up to 97% of the soil samples were switched on the site.  This conclusion caused panic for local landfills in Brisbane, Pittsburg, and elsewhere as they might have radioactive and other toxic materials on their premises.

Also troubling is that residents of completed housing in Hunter’s Point might be living on contaminated soil that could cause them major health problems. Already, class action suits have begun against Tetra Tech, The Navy, and the project’s developer FivePoint-Lennar.  As a result, construction at Hunter’s Point has come to a grinding halt.  Also adversely affected is the Navy property on Treasure Island where the same parties are all involved.

In a scandal of this magnitude where a  clean-up contract worth almost a quarter billion dollars is involved, the first question asked is who to blame for the mess.  Enter the Federal U.S> Attorney’s office to provide some answers.  Thus far only a couple of low level supervisors for Tetra Tech (who qualified for overtime pay) have been indicted.   The two pled guilty to falsifying records and agreed to do short term 9 month jail terms for their misdeeds.

If one thinks the Feds are finished with their investigations, guess again.  These tadpoles are but the tip of the iceberg.   A scheme such as this would require the co-operation of Senior Management from a multi billion dollar company like Tetra Tech.  It would appear these executives would want more than a performance based bonus for falsifying records of this magnitude.

Who could the party or parties be who might be involved?  One suspect that comes to mind is officials in the Navy.  Other than receiving bribes, there would be no motivation for looking the other way on swapping soil samples.  And even if they received illicit pay-offs, it would likely not come from Tetra Tech unless its top management  executives were involved.

This leaves as a prime suspect for the U.S. Attorney to investigate is the Developer Five Point Holdings, a company controlled by Miami based Lennar Corporation.  After their purchase of CalAtlantic Homes last year, they claim the title of the largest home builder in the United States.

Even with these lofty credentials, both Lennar and Five Point have a history of shady activities, in their past business activities in California and the rest of the Country.  In the “Golden State” this includes:

  • In 2010 Nancy Graham, CEO of the Center City Development Corporation failed to disclose while approving a Lennar Redevelopment project in San Diego that she had received 3 million dollars in an unrelated real-estate deal in Florida from them. Graham agreed to a fine of $ 32,000.00 from the San Diego ethics Commission and soon left town.
  • Five Point Holdings President Kofi Bonner, while Vice President of Lennar’s West Coast operation, utilized the services of Keith Jackson to the tune of almost $ 500,000 in unexplained consulting fees. Jackson, who also had close ties with Bonner’s mentor Willie Brown, was the chief fundraiser for late San Francisco mayor Ed Lee. He is presently serving a prison sentence along with former legislator Leland Yee for conspiracy, racketeering, and bribery in arranging political favors.
  • Bonner was also involved with the scandal in Concord where his business associates including Willie Brown’s business partner Steve Kay gave large campaign contributions to then Mayor Tim Grayson who was running for the State Assembly. At the time, Lennar was bidding to become the master developer for the multi-billion dollar Concord Naval Weapons Station lands which will one day house 40,000 residents and other commercial properties.

Despite condemnation of Lennar for these activities as chronicled in the Jenkins Report, Lennar was later given the contract by the city. This occurred when their only other competitor Catellus dropped out because of what they thought was rampant corruption with the selection process.

  • Emile Haddad. Chairman and CEO – FivePoint Holdings was an executive with Lennar’s LandSource. This association might not be on the top his resume because LandSource went bankrupt in 2009. Also associated with this bankruptcy were Lennar President Jonathan Jaffe and Chairman Stuart Miller.  Currently, Lennar is the subject of a recently filed multibillion dollar False Claims lawsuit that alleges that the 2.5 billion bankruptcy of LandSource including almost 1 billion dollars lost by California pension fund CalPERS was part of a fraudulent conspiracy.

It can be asked why Lennar would want to build on contaminated soil that might injure the health of their clients?  The simple explanation might be that Five Point, with most of their other properties held up in litigation and seeking permits to build, were anxious to start construction in what was expected to be a lucrative venture in Hunter’s Point

While such conjecture and none of Lennar and Five Point Holdings dealings makes them guilty of anything with the Tetra Tech scandal, it is known by credible sources that their close relationship with them is subject to the current investigation going on by the U.S. Attorney and the FBI in San Francisco.

It will be very interesting to see which larger “fish” in Tetra Tech and others will be caught and convicted.  In addition, whatever the findings of the Federal investigation might be, the perpetrators may well find themselves to be the responsible for the class action lawsuits which have already been filed pertaining to the false soil samples in San Francisco.

Should the other shoe drop when the U.S. Attorney comes forth with expected indictments, Hamlet’s problems might not be considered to be such a terrible tragedy.

 

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.