A lawsuit filed Thursday against San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee by Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow and Alfred Scolari claims that Lee failed to disclose documents that allegedly show his mayoral campaign received money from an undercover federal agent.
The lawsuit expresses concern by Chow and Scolari, who are named in a federal corruption and organized-crime indictment, over the “openness and transparency” of the mayor’s public, political and campaign-related affairs.
In the lawsuit, filed by attorney Cory Briggs in San Francisco Superior Court, the plaintiffs say Lee conspired to accept bribes from Michael Anthony King, who the lawsuit says has been “identified by the media” as the undercover federal agent (or undercover employee) known as UCE4773, the same person who allegedly paid bribes to state Sen. Leland Yee, also named in the federal indictment.
Mayor Lee allegedly accepted funds from the undercover agent and laundered a portion of the bribes through his mayoral campaign, according to the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs allege that Lee’s mayoral campaign staff reported a $500 donation to Lee’s campaign from King, but failed to report at least another $19,500, also donated by King.
According to the plaintiffs, Lee received the funds in exchange for “political favors,” and did not disclose the receipt of the funds during a public records request, as required by law.
The lawsuit further states that Lee “did something illegal and wants to hide it,” and when faced with the request for the records, denied their existence.
The mayor’s office had not commented on the allegations as of this afternoon.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of a brief filed in August on behalf of former school board president Keith Jackson.
Jackson, a political consultant who presided over the city’s school board in 1997, faces 22 federal criminal charges including racketeering conspiracy, soliciting political bribes, cocaine conspiracy, gun dealing and a murder-for-hire plot.
Jackson’s brief is a bid for information about undercover FBI agent, UCE4773, who was allegedly withdrawn from investigating his criminal case because of financial misconduct.
The motion for evidence about the undercover agent as well as other undercover agents is scheduled to be heard this Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer.
Jackson is one of 29 people, including suspended state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo and Chinatown association leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, who are named in a 228-count revised corruption and organized-crime indictment issued on July 25 by a federal grand jury.
Jackson and Yee are accused of conducting a racketeering enterprise to solicit campaign contributions in exchange for political favors and plan an international arms deal.
A second racketeering count charges Jackson, Chow and 15 others with engaging in an ongoing criminal enterprise that allegedly included drug trafficking, gun sales and a never-completed murder for hire.
The undercover agent, UCE 4773, was one of at least seven undercover FBI agents who worked on the four-year investigation.
According to court papers, the agent posed as an Atlanta businessman who had real estate interests and who also represented a technology company that wanted Yee’s support in gaining a contract with the state.
The agent was introduced to Jackson in 2011 by the chief undercover agent in the case, UCE 4599, who posed as a Mafia member and began infiltrating the Chee Kung Tong fraternal association led by Chow in 2010, according to prosecution filings.
The defense brief says that UCE 4773 paid Jackson $37,000 in political consulting fees between February 2012 and May 2013 for help in pursuing commercial real estate ventures.
According to the indictment, the agent allegedly additionally gave Yee $20,000 in campaign contributions through Jackson in 2012, in part in exchange for Yee’s support of the fictional technology firm seeking a state contract.
Jackson’s lawyers wrote that they learned that an FBI agent disclosed in a wiretap application in November 2012 that the FBI was conducting an internal investigation “related to the financing and financial record-keeping of the undercover program under which UCE 4773 was operating.”
In another wiretap application to the court in February 2013, the agent said UCE 4773 had been withdrawn from the case because of the pending investigation, according to Jackson’s attorneys.
Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News