SF Democrats Call for Criminal Probe into Alleged Mayoral Perjury

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

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Published on September 06, 2012 with 20 Comments

The Richmond District Democratic Club released a statement Wednesday calling for a criminal investigation into allegations of felony perjury committed by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. Photo by Luke Thomas.

By Luke Thomas

September 6, 2012

A chartered Democratic Party club in San Francisco is calling for a criminal investigation into allegations of felony perjury committed by Mayor Ed Lee during an Ethics Commission inquest into whether suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi committed official misconduct.

“We hereby request a formal investigation into the allegations that Mayor Ed Lee committed perjury in his Ethics Commission testimony regarding his removal of Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi from office,” a statement released Wednesday by the 100-member Richmond District Democratic Club (RDDC) said. “Should the San Francisco District Attorney not pursue said investigation, we then request that an investigation be undertaken by a government agency other than the City and County of San Francisco.”

The allegations of mayoral perjury first surfaced June 29 when Lee testified under penalty of perjury that he did not speak with any members of the Board of Supervisors about the Mirkarimi case prior to filing charges of official misconduct against him, nor did he offer Mirkarimi, through an intermediary, alternative employment in return for his resignation.

Two witnesses refuted that testimony, casting doubt on the mayor’s credibility and raising questions about evidence reliability during a politically toned prosecution. Building Inspections Commissioner Debra Walker said Lee discussed what he should do about Mirkarimi with Lee-appointed District 5 Supervisor Christina Olague who told Walker about the conversation she had with the mayor. Separately, former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, who called for Mirkarimi to resign in March, said Walter Wong, a politically connected developer with strong ties to Lee, contacted him on behalf of the mayor to offer Mirkarimi a job in exchange for his resignation.

Perjury is considered a serious offense as it can be used to usurp judicial power resulting in miscarriages of justice.

Lee and Olague have denied they discussed the Mirkarimi case but Olague has said she may have to recuse herself when the matter comes before the Board of Supervisors for its considerations. Nine of 11 supervisors must vote in the affirmative to remove a democratically elected official from office.

Lee suspended Mirkarimi without pay March 20 and filed charges of official misconduct following Mirkarimi’s plea and sentencing March 19 to one misdemeanor count of false imprisonment stemming from a heated argument with his wife, Eliana Lopez, on New Year’s Eve, resulting in a bruise on Lopez’s arm.

The Ethics Commission, a quasi-judicial body comprising five political appointees and tasked with collecting evidence and making a non-enforceable recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, said Mirkarimi’s action on December 31 that led to his plea and conviction of misdemeanor false imprisonment was, in effect, an act of official misconduct despite struggling to interpret the “ambiguous” and “murky” definition of official misconduct.

Gascón’s office did not immediately return FCJ’s request for comment but has previously stated, without explanation, there is “no basis” for a criminal investigation.

Gascón was appointed District Attorney by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom who delayed his swearing in as Lt. Governor to push through the appointment of then-City Administrator Lee to serve out Newsom’s mayoral term on a caretaker basis. Gascón initially said he would “evaluate” filing charges against the mayor when and if the Ethics Commission completed its own investigation. The Ethics Commission subsequently punted claiming allegations of mayoral perjury is “irrelevant.”

The RDDC, a Democratic County Central Committee chartered club, said it expects all elected officials to adhere to the highest ethical standards.

“We further believe that such ethical standards must be enforced consistently and without the appearance of political motivation and that the enforcement of these ethical standards should be made without embellishment of the facts, especially when the result may lead to the removal of a democratically-elected official from office,” the club said.

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the SanFranciscoSentinel.com, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched FogCityJournal.com. The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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  • RICHMONDMAN

    I think this is a great idea.  Put Mar in charge (he is behind this anyway) – it will give him something to do, other than Park and Rec ribbon cuttings, and saving the outer Richmond from having more than 2 banks.

    • Wendy Aragon

      RICHMONDMAN-

      I’m Wendy Aragon, Vice President of The Richmond District Democratic Club. While Eric Mar is a long time member of the RDDC and he has a positive working relationship with us, the RDDC and Eric’s campaign are two entirely different and separate organizations. I can assure you that he had no part in this whatsoever nor was he ever privy to it’s existence. It was unanimously decided by our Executive Board, of which Eric is not a member, to draft the resolution and then presented to the club by me at our August 16th meeting where it was passed by our general membership without any opposition. Eric was not even present at that meeting to vote on the resolution because he was at a fundraiser on the other side of town. 

      If you want to have a say in this, you are more than willing to come to our club meetings. However, please make sure to check your facts before starting new whisper campaigns. 

    • RickinSF

      There are actually 3 banks in the Richmond beyond 25th Ave. BofA at 38th & Balboa, Wells Fargo in the Beach Safeway and EastWest on 37th & Balboa.

  • http://twitter.com/ramshackledays Ramshackle Days

    Ed Lee just may surpass the mayoral corruption benchmark set by Willie Brown.

  • Talcky55680

    Never trusted him anyway so I’m looking forward this. Go RDDC!

  • PatrickMonkRn

    “Show Me The Movie”
     Has anyone actually seen the video of alleged voter fraud committed during Mr Ed’s campaign. What exactly does it show. Reading the report in today’s City Insider it sure sounds like the signature gathering ‘activities’ as described were a violation of campaign law. However it comes as little surprise that our appointed DA found ‘insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution’. This appears to be simply a continuation of the selective enforcement of rules and regulations by those with the power to pervert justice in pursuit of their political agenda. Abuse, of any kind, is seen through the eyes of the beholden beholder. Who is watching Gascon. 
     I for one anticipate seeing flying pigs before I see fair and impartial investigation of alleged malfeasance by city officials or their paymasters.
     Just my thruppence.
     Go Giants. Beat LA.
     Yes on Proposition 37
      http://www.carighttoknow.org 

    • Richmondman

      While I think this Ed Lee perjury claim is a weak attempt at gotcha from Mirk’s supporters, and there isn’t enough evidence to pursue - the voter fraud allegation is disturbing.  The video is damning, and Gascon benefitted from the fraud.  You know Kamala Harris won’t pursue this, and Eric Holder won’t either. 

      • PatrickMonkRn

        Does anyone know if the video in question is posted anywhere for public viewing?

  • Robert Miller

    Funny, I didn’t see this mentioned in the SF Chronic.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LSBUHQYPHL2GEESTZGNXZGB2EY sfsoma

    With Suhr and Gascon in place the only people who would investigate are the State or Feds.  We can forget the State cause that’s Kamala.  The US Attorney is too busy threatening pot clubs to prosecute any crimes. This is what happens when voters turn their government over to a political machine – a 3rd world style government.

  • h. brown

    Fascinating races,

        Two deeply flawed sitting supes.     Mar gave us Ed Lee as mayor and supports the most extreme of 1% goals (plastic playing fields for the Fisher boys and 8 Washington for mega rich).    Olague likes Lee too and some say perjured herself on his behalf when he is allleged to have essentially committed jury tampering by talking to her about the Mirkarimi case.     Plus, of course, she is (like Eric) scared poopless that  the 1% will end up on the street if she doesn’t help them build a double-height view blocking palace across from the Ferry Building.

    However, their major opposition is far worse.     That’s David (“Hi, my name is David and I’m a stooge for Rose Pak and the PRC.”) Lee and London (“I can wipe my own mother-fucking ass.”) Breed.

    Hope Johnson in D-5!

    Julian Davis in D-5!

    Dodgers in town tomorrow for weekend 3.

    h.  

    • Richmondman

      As a former soccer player, I can tell you that the Beach Chalet field is the worst I have ever been on.  Soccer is not some extreme 1% pastime (you have clearly not spent much time watching or playing soccer, h, or you would know this).  That said, The artificial turf would have been a better choice for the Sunset District fields which are slated for new natural turf.  That said, I agree with you that Mar is flawed – in fact, Mar has been an embarrassment to many in the Richmond. I believe Mar supported Lee to improve his credibility with moderate Chinese in the Richmond, who would have sent him packing if he didn’t support Ed Lee.  Pure political self-interest….So what else is new?

  • DavidinSF

     Lee and Olague have denied they discussed the Mirkarimi case but Olague has said she may have to recuse herself when the matter comes before the Board of Supervisors for its considerations. Nine of 11 supervisors must vote in the affirmative to remove a democratically elected official from office.
    Is this an admission of guilt by Olague, that she may have to recuse herself.

    The allegations of mayoral perjury first surfaced June 29 when Lee
    testified under penalty of perjury that he did not speak with any
    members of the Board of Supervisors about the Mirkarimi case prior to
    filing charges of official misconduct against him, nor did he offer
    Mirkarimi, through an intermediary, alternative employment in return for
    his resignation.

    If when this goes to trial and each supervisor is asked under oath had the Mayor sought their advice about the Mirkarimi case, if there is a yes from any of the supervisors, Mayor Lee will be in a deep hole I doubt he can climb out of.

    • http://twitter.com/pinkbarrio rosa barrio

      “Mayor Lee will be in a deep hole I doubt he can climb out of.”

      That’s dreaming. He won’t have to climb out of it.  He will be lifted up out of the hole gracefully by the corporate media and Establishment politicos who will protect him.  That’s the way things work these days in the political cesspool.  And does under oath mean anything these days—or did it ever?—to the bourgeois elite corporate cesspool politicos?  Under oath only applies to the “average person” in our injustice system.

  • PatrickMonkRn

    Anyone have access to the video presented as insufficient evidence.

  • PatrickMonkRn

    Thanks Luke, I also received the link from Larry Bush, thanks Larry. There are a number of people here who are easily identifiable, they should all be questioned under oath.
    Go Giants. Sweep LA.

  • DavidinSF

     I just watched the video. VOTER FRAUD

  • Guest

    More on Ed Lee
    ps://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?shva=1#inbox/139aa827df039e42

  • Daniele E.

    Good for them. Nice to see some backbone for once. What goes around comes around, as they say. I hope to see a full investigation myself, as I already have seen things in this Mayor that don’t/didn’t seem proper. Letting the interim mayor thing be “bygones” for a minute, I was disgusted–is this too strong a word? i think not–by Lee’s characterization of Ross as a “wife-beater”. That was egregious. What’s underneath a man who can use the power of his office to misrepresent someone so blatantly? Maybe we’ll see that if an investigation is launched.