Tuesday, April 22, 2014

City Delaying Charlotte Shultz Charity Law-Breaking Investigations?

(Shultz, lower left, at her annual taxpayer-funded diplomatic City Hall party in December 2013. Credit: Catherine Bigelow, SF Chronicle.)

There are two San Franciscos. One is for the elite 1% where they wield power and public money at City Hall, and pay no heed to good government laws and ballot propositions they don't like. The other San Francisco is for the rest of us who will be arrested and charged at the drop of a hat for minor infractions of the law.

This month marks the fifth month I've been investigating Mayor Ed Lee's director of protocol, socialite and party-giver on the taxpayer's dime Charlotte Shultz and how she receives a nice chunk of City change and evades a few laws in the process.

I've written to the head of the General Services Administration, City Administrator Naomi Kelly, to see if the City is delaying the two investigations it has opened against Shultz. My letter sent today:

Dear Ms. Kelly,

In March, I brought several complaints to your attention regarding the annual $250,000 City grant to Charlotte Shultz's SF Host Committee charity your General Services Agency administers. Your department has confirmed that Shultz and her nonprofit have not complied with City law requiring open board meetings annually, as one legal requirement in exchange for municipal money, for at least the past six years.

Indeed, in a written response to you at the end of March from Shultz's attorney, he admits the committee has never met this the requirements of Sunshine laws and were unaware of the full laws that apply to them.

Your deputy Bill Barnes in early March wrote:

"After receiving a response, the City Administrator will swiftly make a determination and/or request additional information. The grantee and the complainant will be notified of the results. If the grantee is deemed to have violated the provision, the City Administrator will consider next steps based on the seriousness of the violation and the provisions included in the Administrative Code."

Additionally, I've complained that Shultz is violating the 1998 Prop F law passed at the ballot box, barring the use of City funds for Protocol Office expenses and functions because her committee spends its $250,000 on diplomatic events and such. Also in March, your department wrote to me saying you'd asked the City Attorney to investigate the potential violation to Prop F.

Mr. Barnes in said:

"The Proposition F issue, which we are treating as a separate request, relates to a ballot initiative from 1998 which references policies in effect in 1989. Therefore, additional research is required to properly respond. Once that research is complete, we may find it necessary to consult with the City Attorney. Such consultation would be subject to attorney-client privilege. We will inform you once we have completed this research, received advice, if any, and made a determination of how to proceed." 

Thanks to a public records request I made because your office was refusing to respond to requests for updates, in early April you wrote to Shultz's attorney saying you would investigate the apparent breaking of City law and for several years.

Today I am requesting an update on both the Sunshine complaint and the City Attorney's investigation, and any steps you've taken regarding these several apparent violations of the law. Please provide me with a status report by the close of business on Wednesday, April 23. 

No comments: