Criminal charges are being filed against an airport shuttle company accused of making illegal donations to the campaign of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee last year, a district attorney’s office spokeswoman said today.
Go Lorrie’s Airport Shuttles, a company based at San Francisco International Airport, its general manager Jason Perez, 40, and its chief financial officer Hanan Qutami, 56, will be charged Wednesday with misdemeanor charges in the case, spokeswoman Stephanie Ong Stillman said.
According to court documents, Perez solicited Go Lorrie’s drivers, dispatchers, administrators and spouses to each write a $500 check to Lee’s campaign for mayor in the November election and promised they would be reimbursed.
After gathering 23 contributions of $500 from various employees, Perez and Qutami then allegedly reimbursed the donors with funds from the company, prosecutors said.
The defendants are charged with 23 counts of violating state election law prohibiting contributions made in a name other than the true name of a contributor, as well as one count each of violating San Francisco election laws of contributing more than $500 to a campaign and making a contribution by a corporation.
Lee’s campaign returned all 23 contributions upon becoming aware of the possible improprieties and were not implicated in the alleged crimes, campaign officials said at the time.
The allegations were cited by other candidates in the race who also accused Lee’s campaign of other improprieties, including voter ballot fraud in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood.
Nevertheless, Lee easily won the Nov. 8 election, defeating Supervisor John Avalos 60 percent to 40 percent after 12 rounds of ranked-choice voting in the 16-candidate field.
Mayoral spokeswoman Christine Falvey said following today’s announcement of charges filed against Go Lorrie’s that Lee supported the investigation.
“The mayor appreciates the district attorney’s thorough investigation and expects anyone who knowingly breaks the law to be held fully accountable,” Falvey said.
Perez and Qutami are expected to be arraigned in San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday morning, while the case against Go Lorrie’s will first appear in court on Feb. 23, Stillman said.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News