Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Crony Capitalism Update: Keith Jackson emerges as major figure in Calif. Sen. Yee probe

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Former San Francisco school board President Keith Jackson turns out to be more than the alleged conduit between state Sen. Leland Yee and tong leader Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow in the corruption case that has ensnared all three men.

For the past six years, he's also been a paid consultant for the developer of one of the biggest building projects in San Francisco.

Jackson, charged by the feds with gun running, drug trafficking and arranging a purported murder for hire, has been working as a foot operative for Lennar Urban's housing, retail and entertainment development at the old Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and Candlestick Point.

The development, with about a third of its 12,000 homes destined to be designated as affordable, is a cornerstone of Mayor Ed Lee's efforts to bring more housing to the city that is within reach of the non-rich. In fact, Lee delivered this year's State of the City address at the development site.

Lennar officials declined to say how much Jackson was paid for his consulting work, but we're told it was around $8,000 a month. Lennar dropped the 49-year-old Jackson when he was arrested last week.

"He didn't have tangible skills, but he knew everybody in the African American community," said Sam Singer, the PR consultant who briefly employed Jackson to work under him on the Lennar project before Jackson landed his own consulting contract with the developer in 2008. "So people hired him for his ability to open doors."

At the same time Jackson worked for Lennar, he was acting as a political bagman for Yee and as a "consultant" to Chow, according to an FBI affidavit filed in the criminal case against the three.
In a free market system you have to have skills consumers want. In a crony capitalist rent-seeking system : you have to have politicians paid off to make a buck. How sad.