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Candidates to Return Checks From SunCal Affiliate Argent Management LLC

A SunCal affiliate, Argent Management LLC, has sent campaign contribution checks to some Alameda City Council and Mayoral candidates, and the candidates are sending the checks back.

City Council candidate Adam Gillitt contacted Action Alameda News last Thursday evening, to report that he had received a campaign contribution check in the amount of $250 from Argent Management LLC; the return address on the check is 2392 Morse Avenue, Irvine, California 92614, which is the address for SunCal’s headquarters office. A recent building trades article reported that Stephan Elieff, brother of SunCal CEO Bruce Elieff, is a principal in Argent Management.

Mr. Gillitt promptly took to the local blogs, decrying SunCal’s tactics, posting pictures of the check, and vowing to return it. On his own campaign blog, he wrote:

We all heard you say that you would play a part in this election when you didn’t get your way back in July. And like the bullies you are, your sloppy fingerprints are all over this election, whether it be faked animations on YouTube, robo-calls mocking elected officials, push-polls using data from your employees on the Sunshine Task Force, or direct mail attacking city officials and supporting the candidates you think will be most sympathetic to your lawsuit.

Gillitt told Action Alameda News, “Apparently they think I don’t know how to Google and am more interested in depositing checks blindly than doing research on donors to my campaign.”

Argent Management LLC Check, with SunCal return address. (Adam Gillitt)

Action Alameda News confirmed with Doug deHaan, who is running for Mayor, that his campaign had received a check from Argent Management LLC and had flagged it for further investigation. Upon being told of the SunCal connection, Mr. deHaan told Action Alameda News that he plans to return the check to Argent Management.

City Council Candidate Jean Sweeney told Action Alameda News that her campaign similarly received an Argent Management check and that she was returning the would-be contribution. Included with the check was a yellow “sticky” note with the message “Good luck!”

Two of the checks had a return address of 725 Atlantic Avenue, Alameda, which Google maps resolves to the intersection of Webster Avenue and Atlantic Avenue; the return address apparently doesn’t exist.

16 comments to Candidates to Return Checks From SunCal Affiliate Argent Management LLC

  • Great reporting. Now let’s hear from all those people — Jon Spangler, Richard Hausman, Lauren Do, Michele Ellson, Hot R and others — who have been proclaiming so loudly that SunCal is “outta here,” history, vanished. (Except for its lawsuits, push-polls, YouTube video, and now dirty campaign tactics…) The pretense to objectivity of those partisans, when they endorsed and recommended the SunCal Slate, has been discredited, and in the face of these latest revelations, they should slink away into the night.

  • stray bullet

    Here’s more on the checks:

    The Taxpayer Network, which put out the Tam/firefighter flyer, has David McIntosh on its Board of Directors a partner in Mayer & Brown. The Island reported $500 that Tam got from Mayer Brown, and Mayer Brown is linked to SunCal.

    and $500 from Mayer Brown, a law firm that counts Robert Hertzberg as a partner. SunCal hired Hertzberg after they lost the Measure B election in an effort to repair relations with city officials.”

  • Barb

    Gee I wonder how much the BONTAM GIVEMORE ticket received? They won’t be required to show last minute disclosures until after the election. And like TAM’s and SUNCAL’s attorneys’ fees, requests, I am betting this investment will be going right back to SUNCAL after they are elected.
    Of course the SUNCAL naysayers and candidates all proclaim too loudly that SUNCAL is gone. Remember that movie many decades ago, where someone like Rock Hudson is caught in bed by his wife (Doris Day or someone similar) and the two adulterors just calmly get out of bed, get dressed, all the while Rock is denying anything at all is going on? He calmly and repeatedly makes statements to his wife that nothing has happened, that she is not seeing anything, and infers she is delusional? Kisses her and goes off to work?
    Apparently SUNCAL and Skippy employ this tactic. Their unquestioning loyalistas publicize this for them as if it were true.
    Adam, I think you have earned my 2nd vote.

  • Vania

    Told you so.

    Now you need to look for other out of town checks in low denominations which might have been bundled by people allied with SunCal. Bundling is illegal in California, but it happens all the time.

    Also watch for independent expenditure committes funded by people allied with SunCal. IEC’s fund things like phone banking, purchases of materials for signs, and payment for printing all of which are largely untraceable.

    And, of course, watch campaigns which are showing (in their state-mandated reporting) expenditures which substantially exceed the amount of donations received to date. Often, developers make oral promises to candidates or their campaign treasurers, to make large donations (either directly or bundled) on the day of the election, which means that the donations don’t get reported to the public until well after the election.

    “Business campaign professionals” in California know all of the tricks to submarine contributions into the campaigns of politicians they support. The list above is far from exclusive, in terms of creative tricks you will see.

  • stupidscribd

    An experiment w/ scribd:

    [scribd id=39680466 key=key-t3t9d151or7iicl0gu mode=list]

  • stupidscribd

    Another experiment, with full screen URL. Above is embedded format for word press.

    Here’s standard HTML:

    Taxpayer Network SunshineTF Flyer

  • stupidscribd

    Here’s the Tam flyer:

    Taxpayer Network Tam Flyer

  • Hot r

    You are not analyzing this correctly. Certain candidates were targeted by Suncal so that it could be claimed later that they had accepted Suncal money – otherwise why send it to those candidates? This was truly an attempt at a rather unsophisticated dirty trick, and happens all the time in politics. Claiming the moral high ground seems somewhat naive when dealing with this issue. Suncal is done in this town. Move on to another issue.

  • Thanks Hot R. That’s obviously what it was about, but it has more impact coming from you than if we had put that accusation in the article without any supporting statements.

  • Barb

    Got it just right Action Alameda, if Hot r (usually (s)he writes under Hot R) says SUNCAL is gone even while it has 2 lawsuits, and is spending tens of thousands dollars on this election, SUNCAL must be gone. Alamedans have nothing to fear from SUNCAL, except the 2 lawsuits. And 3 candidates SUNCAL has apparently bought and paid for.
    Developers often give money to all of the candidates in a race. Here however, more and bigger checks went to the BONTAM, GIVEMORE slate and “other mailers”. And those checks didn’t go back. SUNCAL’s surveys have shown they have to beat JOHNSON and DEHAAN, to get rid of Gallant, or they are dead in the water. And those wonderfully independent slate mailers, the Democratic, League of Women Voters, Firefighters, and SUNCAL’s slate all match up, candidate for candidate. You’d think they’d have enough brains to change one up every other slate card. Throw in a Daysog or a Mitchell. Especially on the Cast a Light on City Hall mailer.
    Now is the time for all Alamedans to make a date on Election Day to go vote with their ten best friends. Call everyone, alert them to how pernicious SUNCAL is, and what it is trying to do by electing its slate of BONTA, TAM and GILMORE. If you believe SUNCAL is gone, ask the foregoing 3 candidates if they sent back their checks too? Ask when they denounced the hit pieces sent on their behalf by SUNCAL? Their silence and acceptance is condoning and enabling this type of despicable behaviour. We will have nothing but more acrimony, bitterness and name calling if we do not get rid of SUNCAL for once and for all.

  • Hot r

    Barb: You are generally reasonable…What proof do you have that any checks were accepted by anyone? The answer is you don’t. So vote for whomever you want but don’t base it on that wild accusation. Gilmore did denounce the hit pieces. Tam is going to win regardless of what you and your ten friends do, or how Green’s ten friends from his bar vote. Johnson will probably grab the other seat, so your blood pressure will go down although I will vote for Bonta because he is the smartest one. We will see- can the NIMBYs hold the line?

  • Barb

    Bonta is the smartest one? Geez what happened to shoot all the lawyers? If he was so smart why isn’t he running for a real job that pays money? Why spend $100,000 to get a job that pays $50 a meeting? Who is footing that bill? Why, Holy bejeebers Batman!! And make no mistake: to be on the Concil requires a good 30 hours per week of one’s time. How can he commute to SF, and put in a 40 plus hour work week in the City Attorney’s office then come home be a husband and father and do his homework on the Council? I don’t think so. He has been bought and paid for. His votes are going to be whatever TAM and GILMORE tell him to do.
    Of course I have no proof at this time, that the SUNCAL slate cashed their checks. That will come after the election when their filings are due. If one does their homework and researches the TAXPAYER NETWORK that is sponsoring all the hit pieces, you will see that it goes back to SUNCAL and SUNCAL principals. But some have no interest in doing homework, only attempts to deflect the fecal matter from the chosen 3.
    Don’t feed me any BS about GILMORE’s denouncing the hit pieces. It’s a No Lose situation. She gets to play both sides. After counting the votes, she sees that there are 3 for, so her vote is immaterial, except by what it can gain for her.

  • Hot R – it’s clear there’s a lot of SunCal money in this race, and most of it is being spent trashing the opponents of Lena Tam, Rob Bonta, and Marie Gilmore. Tam, etc. don’t need to cash a check to be the beneficiaries of SunCal’s expenditures. And they can denounce the mailers all they want, the mailers keep coming, and it’s in their benefit.

    If Tam/Bonta/Gilmore really didn’t want to benefit from SunCal’s money, they would drop out of the race, not just make empty denunciations.

  • Hot r

    That is a rather lofty standard isn’t it? If every politician had to drop out of a race because an oil company, real estate firm, developer or union supported them then we wouldn’t have too many races, would we? Do you really think these mailers are effective in the sense that they swing votes for the candidates you named? Because their tactics are rather crude and end up alienating more people than persuading them in my humble opinion. Tam’s got the Asian vote which might carry Bonta into office, but based on past voting patterns Johnson will probably edge him out. That has nothing to do with mailers. In the mayor’s race it will be close, but I think Frank will take just enough votes away from DeHaan to allow Gilmore to win. Again, nothing to do with mailers.

  • Well Hot R, Tam and Bonta have made pretty lofty pronouncements about transparency and “honesty” in government, pledging not to make developer money, etc. They’ve denounced all the mailers and robocalls – what most amount to over a hundred thousand dollars – that have obviously been intended to benefit them, so unless they drop out, they HAVE taken developer money. Let’s see if they’ll stand up to their own rhetoric.

  • Well, HOT R seems to be missing his cap key, ever since he was outed as an AUSD senior management guy. But his logic hasn’t changed, and he’s still making excuses for the SunCal Slate. He assumes that the average voter is as perceptive as the readers of this site, which is a stretch. SunCal is manipulating our election, and not in favor of anyone but the candidates he supports — Tam, Gilmore and Bonta. If his prediction that Gilmore will win is true, there goes the island! And he won’t care, so long as his next school parcel tax, whether it’s fair or modest or paired with reform or not, passes. Such selfish narrow-mindedness is so obvious it makes my teeth ache.