Checks from mayor's mysterious breakfast companions mysteriously absent

There are no recorded donations from unnamed CEOs who were asked to contribute toward the America's Cup.

In less than three months, custom made super yachts will zip around the San Francisco Bay in the ultimate competition for the prized America’s Cup. But San Francisco could wind up spending millions more than originally expected to host this prestigious sailing regatta.

At a March 13 committee hearing at the Board of Supervisors, America’s Cup Organizing Committee CEO Kyri McClellan reported that Mayor Ed Lee was investing an “incredible amount of energy” into helping ACOC with fundraising efforts to avert a city funding shortfall. He was even said to be hosting “breakfasts with CEOs” to solicit funding, McClellan said.

Who are the CEOs? Nobody will say.

How much has each of them pledged to give? Nobody will say.

When the Guardian submitted these questions to Lee, McClellan, and Stefanie Roumeliotes – whose SGR Consulting firm was wheeled in at the last minute to organize fundraising events – none answered directly.

McClellan responded on April 9 with a copy of a letter she sent to Mayor Lee and Board President David Chiu on the day of the hearing, which she indicated was “the most recent update on fundraising.” Roumeliotes, for her part, told the Guardian flat out to stop calling, because her firm was not going to answer any questions.

So far, it appears that none of the mayor’s fundraising meetings, which took place from January 25 to March 4, resulted in his unnamed breakfast companions writing out actual donation checks.

Had they contributed funding, the donation amounts would have been reflected in “behested payment” forms filed with the San Francisco Ethics Commission, required under state law to be submitted 30 days after a contribution is made.

Elected officials are “supposed to file behested payment [forms] for … legislative, governmental or charitable purposes,” Ethics Commission chief John St. Croix told the Guardian, so donations relating to the America’s Cup would fall squarely into this category. Those forms are supposed to filed internally by department, then sent onto Ethics. So far, none have been recorded.

“If there are such forms that the mayor filled out,” St. Croix told the Guardian, “they’re not getting forwarded.”

Meanwhile, McClellan’s March 13 letter suggests that recent fundraising efforts have yielded only $1.4 million – which won’t actually be in hand till next year. That’s a far cry from the estimated $15.6 million funding gap race organizers say is needed to cover San Francisco’s estimated $22.5 million billionaires’ boat race tab. As the fundraising arm of the race organizing committee, ACOC promised in an initial agreement that it would “endeavor to raise” the amount needed to defray city costs. Thus far, it’s paid $6.8 million.

In her letter to Lee and Chiu, McClellan suggested that roughly $13 million of that $15.6 million shortfall would be accounted for in “forecast General Fund revenues.” That translates to additional money harvested from visitors’ pockets via sales and hotel taxes, with some payroll taxes and parking fees sprinkled in, all associated with the America's Cup events. Little-guy money.

And thanks to the little guys, ACOC’s new fundraising goal is much more attainable. “The SFACOC continues to endeavor to raise the funds,” McClellan wrote. “At a minimum that is $2,670,851 of which we already have $1,400,000 in existing pledges that are to be received by January 2014.”



Refusing to answer questions from the press we're are footing a large portion of the bill for the race, amounts to a slap in the face to SF taxpayers. We deserve to know what's going on. Come clean, Stefanie!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 11:33 am

Oh please...look at what this 'story' is about. Lee said that he was raising money but the final paperwork for any donations hasn't yet been filed.

Wow. Drop whatever else you are doing and immediately share this critical info with your Twitter followers.

Who are the CEOs that he met with? Who cares at this point. Maybe some CEOs told him to buzz off. Do they need to read about that in a rag?

Roumeliotes did exactly the right thing. The SFBG is not the press, they have zero interest in fair and objective reporting. They better get used to people showing contempt for them because it's only going to get worse

Posted by Troll on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 12:44 pm

What a revelation! Glad you cleared that up for me, Troll! Thanks to your enlightening comment I have finally come to understand that despite publishing a weekly newspaper for the past 47 years, hosting a widely read news site, having a designated spot in the press box in City Hall, being issued official press passes, having articles syndicated in local and national publications, and receiving dozens of journalism awards, the Guardian is in fact .... NOT the press! Wow. You just blew my mind. Now please excuse me while I try to adjust to people "showing contempt", because I have never experienced this phenomenon in all my life, least of all from web commenters.

Posted by rebecca on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

Let me explain...a few weeks back a 46 year old lawyer from Texas had a heart attack and died during the swim from Alcatraz. Various members of the press wrote about factors that could contribute to such a tragedy and other relevant details.

The SFBG ran the following headline:

"The America's Cup Is Killing People!"

I'm sure that the SFBG got several Pulitzer nominations for that one.

Oddly, when a 35 year old died of a heart attack at the Kaiser Permanente Marathon the journalistic lions of the SFBG were strangely silent.

The examples of SFBG nonsense are too numerous to mention. But what about

"Checks from mayor's mysterious breakfast companions mysteriously absent"?

Was the CEO supposed to pull out a checkbook at lunch? Do you really assume that your readers are that poorly informed? Is there even a remote possibility that they would have to go back and run it through appropriate channels at their office? And that might take a little time perhaps? And the finance director might have objections perhaps?

A real member of the press would acknowledge that and wouldn't just be itching to "get" Mayor Lee above all else. The SFBG 'gotcha' is so transparent and one sided as to be pathetic.

No, the SFBG is not really a member of the press, sorry to have to break the news to you.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 5:50 pm

When there is no news, make that the news?

Posted by anon on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

What is mayor Lee offering to potential donors? We don't know. We don't even know who the potential donors are. Could they be seeking city development permits? Could they be seeking tax breaks? City Contracts? Is it Airbnb seeking a waiver from the hotel tax? Is it Lyft? Is it the airport shuttle caught laundering money to Ed Lee's campaign? Is Ron Conway good for even more -- the mayor's recent trip to Paris shows that it was underwritten in part by the Cowan Family Trust (is taking aristo's to Paris to celebrate Willie Brown's birthday like carrying coals to Newcastle?).
The point being that even Gavin Newsom claims we are in a new age of transparency where the public can see what public business is being conducted. So give it up Ed.

Posted by CitiReport on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

If you want punters to bail the city out of this, then you may have to pay the piper.

But I'd rather pay the piper than foot the bill myself, as a taxpayer.

It's the golden rule - he who has the gold makes the rules.

Posted by anon on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 1:43 pm

20 million dollars of taxpayer gold is funding this shitshow on the water and that means we the people make the rules. So go suck Larry Ellison's dick somewheres else.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 3:59 pm

I voted for Lee - I did not vote for you.

Posted by anon on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 5:56 pm

So you voted to waste taxpayer dollars to net subsidize billionaires.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 8:44 pm

How much did London taxpayers spend on the 2012 Olympics?

20 million is cheap for a world class event.

Posted by anon on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 7:29 am

America's Cup is not a world class event and $20m of subsidy to the handful of individuals in charge of this game ain't cheap.

We're broke because your side broke the economy. We can't afford this.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 7:47 am

Marcos: "America's Cup is not a world class event"

Sports Illustrated: "In terms of both viewers and economic impact, the America's Cup is the third biggest sporting event in the world, after the Olympics and the World Cup."

Also, the $20 million dollar is fabricated. The latest figure was that the city would be on the hook for $16 million against tourism tax revenue of $13 million. Which sucks, I know, I just wanted to point out the exaggeration.

One of the reasons that the Progressive movement is so weak is that its advocates think that they can say whatever they want and nobody will notice that they are making things up.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 8:23 am

You're saying that the America's Cup is a bigger sporting event than the World Series or the Superbowl? Gimme a fucking break.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 9:05 am

Superbowl and the (laughingly termed) World Series, while of interest in some places, are not significant because they are purely North American events. Not "global" at all. The America's Cup, despite it's name, has international appeal.

No wonder you didn't get that gig in Europe, sounding as typically America-centric as that.

Posted by anon on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 9:53 am

Billionaire boys club events appeal to a slim strata here, while established team sports have a much broader and deeper appeal. Talking economic impact to SF, orders of magnitude more people would come here for the WS or SB than for the AC.

I didn't get the gig in Europe because I was jet lagged all to hell for the interview and had to try to write out code longhand on pen and paper at what was essentially 3AM. They didn't let me use my pimped out MBA, the one that I bought last year because people pay me good money to program, to show my stuff. I'd never had a job interview that did not allow the use of a laptop or at least a white board for such problems.

I'd not written out code longhand with pen and paper since nineteen eighty...four, was completely blindsided and in too much of a jet lagged fog to figure a way out. Shit happens.

Interestingly enough, they said that my qualitative answers to their business questions (!), SQL knowledge and communication skills were excellent. Their format did not capture my engineering expertise which is better than those three combined.

But I got a free trip to Amsterdam, so there's that, but I managed to foil my own escape plot and remain trapped here with you trolls for the time being.

And I got some awesome photos:

Posted by marcos on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 10:43 am

you should either give yourself an extra day going eastbound, or talk the employer into springing for a business class ticket, as most airlines have "flat seat" beds in biz class now.

Anyway. while the WS or SB might bring in more people, the AC has more global cachet, as football and baseball are considered American sports rather than international sports.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 10:56 am

Global cachet does not pay the bills, warm bodies carrying wallets full of cash that they're willing to empty do.

They set up the travel schedule as they did, I ended up competing against people they'd flown in for the day from Madrid. The interview teams were unforgiving and unyielding, insisting that using a laptop would not be fair other applicants. It truly sucked by that measure.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 11:11 am

You're probably too old, and your skills are outdated.

Move on.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 7:58 pm

"Marcos, do you have any questions about the job here?"

"Yes, will my boss be willing to turn a blind eye while I goof off all day long blogging on a very left-wing website?"

"Marcos, we'll be in touch. No, really, we will."

Posted by anon on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 8:24 pm

The employer enforces a maximum work week of 40 hours.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 8:47 pm

crave a work environment where work is discouraged.

Posted by anon on Apr. 13, 2013 @ 11:28 am

Wouldn't you be happier toiling your pathetic little troll life away in a sweatshop in Southeast Asia, purifying your contagion with the bleach of hard work?

Posted by marcos on Apr. 13, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

exposing that you rreal agenda is to artifically prop up your failing career thru cultivating xenophobia and anti-Asian bias.

Posted by anon on Apr. 13, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

The IEEE and ACM have come out against more H1-B.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 13, 2013 @ 12:41 pm
Posted by anon on Apr. 13, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

Everyone gets to pursue their enlightened self interest except for working people who should learn to take it in the groin and like it.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 13, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

Marcos, I know that you are a Progressive but there is actually a slight possibility that Sports Illustrated is right and that you are remote a possibility as that may be.

Perhaps they were misled by the fact that the America's Cup has an international base and the two events that you mentioned are US only.

Or perhaps it is because the Super Bowl is only a weekend and the World Series might not even be that for the host cities...who knows. Or that the Cup only happens every four years.

But obviously, if a major media news source says something that contradicts the Progressive agenda then what they say, by definition, must be wrong. Sorry for not being clearer about that basic point.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 10:06 am
Posted by Guest on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 10:18 am

No, Sport Illustrated is wrong and I am correct.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 10:27 am

and thinking you are right.

A big part of being stupid is not admitting it when you are wrong.

The World Series is anything but global, despite the name. More people play cricket globally than baseball.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 10:44 am

Bringing this back to economic impact on SF, America's Cup is chump change compared to the SB or WS.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 10:58 am

(FYI, at a certain point Marcos starts prodding us Moderates just to get a reaction, the same way that we do to Lilli.)

Anyway, we just had a World Series here last fall. It was held in a stadium with 45,000 seats. At least 35,000 of those went to local season ticket holders and such. Perhaps 10,000 seats were available for people around the world to come here and spend money...

...on a Wednesday and Thursday night.

No tickets needed for the America's Cup, which is carefully scheduled for maximum visitor appeal.

When they announced the Cup Mayor Lee said that it was worth 10 World Series.

(See, I like to prod them also.)

Posted by Troll on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 11:18 am

When they announced the cup they said it would be a net gain for the City, now we're ending up paying to subsidize billionaires playing with toys.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 11:31 am

>"When they announced the cup they said it would be a net gain for the City, now we're ending up paying to subsidize billionaires playing with toys.

They're still saying that it is a huge net gain.

The downside investment went from $0 to anywhere between $3 million and $16 million. Which royally sucks, even though there is still time for outside funds to come in. But even Avalos admits that there will be a huge economic benefit and Chiu has said that we should be happy to spend a few million for this type of event.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

Except that nobody is hazarding a guess at the net positive economic impact for the City, just the red ink.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

Fire a few suits in city hall and we will save more than that in unfunded pension liabilities than AC costs us.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

audience? The broadcast viewership of the AC was mentioned in the original claim.

Did Sports Illustrated calculate the economic impact/viewership of the Olympics? (Of course the economic impact is almost always severly unpleasant for cities attaining that sort of "World class" status.)

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 11:37 am

oooo...kay....I have very little idea what any of that means but I'll try my best, Lilli...

Revenue from the World Series broadcast goes to Fox who in turn pays Major League Baseball for the rights. Any benefit to the local economy from World Series broadcasts is minimal. I guess that the Giants made some money and KTVU and Comcast Sports sold some extra ads. Other than that, not much, sorry. The blimp shots are nice but the AC will provide wall to wall beautiful shots of San Francisco.

And yes, I'm sure that Sports Illustrated did a good job of calculating the impact of the Olympics. That was one of the two events they said were bigger than the AC.

It's easy to say that hosting the Olympics is a mistake, it would be a bit harder to explain how city leaders all over the world, for decades, are all making an obvious mistake. They used to host world fairs until they proved expensive. The same would have happened to Olympic hosting if there wasn't some benefit to it.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 11:54 am

long as there is one loser in the gutter,

What a sad fuck you are.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

What a silly way to make an argument. Next time, try facts, not conjecture.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 10:27 am

If only because their ideas and policies are much less popular.

Winners get decided by popular opinion.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 10:45 am


But even more useless is this close cousin: effrontery, on top of fiction, on top of stupidity.

Big Troll Lie #2 "Progressive ideas are not popular"... and, by-the-way, we -- the majority -- were *correct* about Iraq until the corporate mass media parade of generals resulted in temporary lobotomies for too many moderates.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 11:26 am

to claim that your policies are "popular".

Posted by Guest on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 7:57 pm

People, it's not okay to come onto this thread and call somebody an "imperious bitch," K?

Posted by rebecca on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

admit to using both those words on other occasions, and about other people, here.

However, it is incumbent upon you, when writing potentially provocative articles, to at least consider that there may perhaps be some people out there who do not share your view, feel passionately about that, and expect from someone who is paid to report the news to be less partisna, biased and prejudicial.


Posted by anon on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 5:58 pm

You guys really must be kidding if you call this journalism - of any sort.

You keep lowering the bar with each subsequent story you post trying to fabricate drama.

How about something relevant, like why the Bay Bridge costs some $6B when it was initially budgeted at $1B ?

A $5B over-run is a little more newsworthy than Peshkin's personal agenda with LE because he pushed negotiations to the point of failure because he's an idiot. He got stuffed and deserved it - and subsequently went into a mad scramble to save face.

Another SF politician that is a total looser and embarrassment to the city.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 7:47 pm

Jean Quan makes Ed Lee look like Frank Jordan. No wonder Winnicker is panicking.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 8:22 pm

consider for a moment what came next.

Plus, no mayor has ever made me laugh so hard as Frank Jordan did with his shower-taking antics.


Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 9:52 am

then you have to find something to laugh about.

Me? I'm too busy winning to worry about that.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 10:51 am