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Revitalize Alameda Point – SunCal Spent $536,148.87 in First Half of 2009

According to political expenditure filings for the first half of 2009, SunCal spent over $500,000 in Alameda on their Revitalize Alameda Point Campaign.

That sum includes over $50,000 to Arno Political Consultants, of Lincoln, California, to collect signatures for SunCal’s ballot initiative.That was the firm whose workers lied to Alameda voters – even told them they were signing an anti-SunCal initiative in some cases – to get signatures in support of SunCal’s proposal. It was also the firm that employed a signature gatherer who assaulted a local news journalist.

Most of the money spent by the Revitalize Alameda Point committee came from Cal Land Venture LLC and SCC Alameda Point LLC which are the SunCal and DE Shaw entities under contract with the City to develop Alameda Point.

The Cal Land Venture LLC committee raised a total of $563,871.11 and spent that amount on monetary and non-monetary contributions to the Revitalize Alameda Point committee. The Revitalize Alameda Point committee had about $35,000 cash left in the bank as of June 30, 2009 and roughly $6,800 in outstanding bills.

9 comments to Revitalize Alameda Point – SunCal Spent $536,148.87 in First Half of 2009

  • Pat Bail

    I would be interested to learn the amount spent on mailings, printing and contributions to other campaigns. That is quite a bit of money for misc. expenses since they only spent $50,000 on signature gathering.

  • The Cal LandVenture LLC Form 461 looks incomplete and doesn’t include expenditures, yet the Revitalize Alameda Point Form 460 lists $387,841.11 in “non-monetary contributions” – but it’s not clear how that money was spent – presumably by Cal Land Ventures, but it’s not broken out. (Good way to hide the expenditures.)

    From the Revitalize Alameda Point filing:

    Falcon Associates, Specialty Printing: $24,681
    http://www.superpages.com/bp/Brisbane-CA/Falcon-Associates-Inc-L0019815627.htm

    River City Business Services, Political Reporting, bookeeping: $29,955.39
    http://rcbs.us/

    California Call (We’re guessing for the Robo calls?): $2,200

    True West Video, Webdesign, videography: $1,200
    http://www.hotfrog.com/Companies/True-West-Video

    But the real money being spent is not reported in these filings – perhaps deliberately incomplete filings on SunCal’s part to hide the expenditures.

  • Detailer

    Just a note as to the distinction between Cal Land Venture LLC and SCC Alameda Point LLC.

    Through the history of looking at the court-required detail disclosures concerning all 31 of the SunCal entity bankruptcies, when a company name begins with SCC, it means that it is solely owned by the Elieff family, who control “The Sun Cal Companies” (which is just a trade name, not a legal entity.) Thus SCC Alameda Point LLC is probably an Elieff-only entity.

    SCC Alameda Point LLC is a Delaware limited liability company registered with the California Secretary of State on 7/5/2007. Its registered agent for service of process is the General Counsel of The Sun Cal Companies Bruce Cook.

    As to Cal Land Venture LLC it is a Delaware limited liability company registered with the California Secretary of State on 9/30/2008. Given the timing of its registration with the state, and the structure of its name, it is likely that this is the entity created between the Elieffs and the D.E. Shaw investment entity. The fact that this entity is the one which spent the lions share of the money on the ballot measure campaign, D.E. Shaw’s involvement in it also makes sense.

    There is absolute secrecy, on the part of the Delaware Secretary of State, concerning any additional details about “who owns” any Delaware LLC. As a result, there are only two places to look for hints at who owns the “big spender” Cal Land Venture LLC: (1) Look at the public staff report and other documents relating to the City Council’s vote to let D.E. Shaw into the deal. That name may be disclosed. (2) Look at campaign finance reporting filings, to see if there is disclosure of the names of the people who control the entity.

    The other interesting question, which I don’t know enough about California’s campaign finance laws to answer: Isn’t there a law requiring an organization working to support a ballot measure to make a filing disclosing who is contributing to them? Isn’t there a state or city law limiting the dollar amount of contributions to any particular political campaign? Maybe Michelle can figure out the answers to those questions.

  • Detailer

    Action Alameda: You were writing your comment while I was writing mine. You wonder about unreported expenditures.

    There’s an old developer’s trick, which has been around since the 1980’s. Homebuilders have tons of stuff printed, like glossy brochures for particular housing projects, and bootleg signs which are put up every weekend.

    It is “standard operating procedure” for a developer to go to the printing company which commonly makes his glossing brochures for housing projects, and place an order for say 20,000 brochures for a tract called “Beautiful Ranch”. In reality, the printer prints maybe 3.000 glossy brochures for Beautiful Ranch, and 17,000 brochures for whatever political issue the developer supports or opposes. There is absolutely no paper trail, in terms of an accounting for what is run off the printing machines. The printers keep their mouths shut, because the don’t want to look for the developers’ business. As a result, the campaign the developer is supporting ends up with 17,000 glossy brochures at no cost.

    Often, the bootleg glossy brochures are then sent out by a bulk mailing house several hundred miles away from the community where the campaign is going on. That makes it really hard to trace “who paid the postage”. There’s no legal obligation for the bulk mailing company to disclose who paid them.

    The same thing happens with cardboard campaign signs. An order for 10,000 cardboard bootleg signs goes in for “Beautiful Ranch”, but the printer only prints 500 Beautiful Ranch signs, and prints 9,500 “Vote Yes on Measure X” signs, to be put up in the public right of way, just like bootleg signs. Usually, a company which regularly puts up bootleg signs for tract homes, in a community many miles away, is hired, for cash, to put up the un-accounted for signs. Again, there is no paper trail.

    I know this stuff because I’ve seen developers do it since the early 1980’s. The Fair Political Practices Commission has a history of doing nothing about it.

  • Thanks for your input – please keep ’em coming!

    We know from the record at City Hall that Cal Land Venture LLC is the SunCal/DE Shaw partnership, and SunCal basically gave up pretty much everything to get DE Shaw’s deep pockets into the deal.

    See the article going up tomorrow morning with some more details on how the $500K was spent, and with whom.

  • barb

    No one is going to vote for the SUNCAL Initiative unless his or her head is truly stuck in the sand. Then, when the water levels rise and they drown, it’ll be too late. Am I the only one who sees the humor in this fiasco? Let’s just build the marina ourselves, put in some recreational areas and wait. At least a marina will float if we build it right. At 7-8$ per foot per month rental, maybe the water level rise will do us good and we can bring our City into the profit zone, instead of just subsidizing yet another developer.

  • Edmundo Delmundo

    Who is “WE”?
    Volunteers?

    You’re gonna need a developer to come in and manage the build out of that floating marina and the paths and services in those recreational areas.

  • Detailer

    Forget worrying about the City getting shorted on unpaid rent. Worse things could happen. Lennar Mare Island, the Chapter 11 debtor who is “remediating” and “developing” Mare Island just “emerged” from bankruptcy. The property was transferred back to a wholly owned subsidary of Lennar (cutting out CalPers) interest in the entity. And in the category of totally outrageous, the Chapter 11 Plan approved by the Delaware bankruptcy judge completely released Lennar, LNR, CalPers, Lennar Mare Island, the new Lennar entity which will own the project, and anyone else in the universe associated with those companies from ANY liability to remediate ANY part of the toxic contaminated land, water or buildings in the Mare Island property, or flowing out of it. They new owner will only be liable to remediate newly discovered contamination on the property. A Deputy Attorney General for California strenuously argued against this presumptuous release approved by Delaware Bankruptcy Court Judge Carey, but he dug in his heels, and so did Lennar. As a result, the only source of money to clean up existing contamination is an insurance policy issued by Steadfast Insurance, a subsidiary of Zurich Insurance, and a remediation contract with an allegedly guaranteed maximum price issued by a company called CH2M Hill.

    As a result, after SunCal/DE Shaw get their initiative approved in Alameda, they, too would be smart to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware. Then, just as Lennar did, they care shake loose their remediation liabilities while retaining ownership of the property.

    Nice.

    Moral of the story: Never trust a real estate developer or homebuilder, large or small.

  • We may well need a developer. But we don’t want a rapist.

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