There’s a tangled mess of IEs and FPPC fines in Anaheim and the more things get untangled, the more they point to Mayor Tom Tait.
The OC Register broke the story October 5 about OC trash contractor George S. Briggeman Jr. being fined $15,000 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for what amounts to political money laundering. Briggeman used a company in Cheyenne, Wyoming – Green and Clean LLC – to route more than $13,000 into 2012 city council elections in Anaheim, Cypress and Lake Forrest that were used to fund independent expenditures (IEs) in support of certain candidates and against others.
If Briggeman had recorded himself as the contributor, he would have been OK. But using Green and Clean to conceal his contributions is the reason he got into trouble. From the FPPC complaint, this quote:
“This case involves a series of transactions calculated to intentionally prevent the public from learning the true source of funds,” according to the FPPC’s findings. “The violations here are especially egregious because they were intentional, deliberate and the activity associated with the violations was intended to circumvent the central purposed of the (state Political Reform) Act.”
Since the IEs benefitted Lucille Kring and John Leos, who were part of the “Tait Slate” in 2012 and that same IT attacked Jordan Brandman, the predictable commentary from the Orange Juice blog crew scoffing at the notion Kring didn’t know Briggeman. Dave Zenger, Supervisor Shawn Nelson’s fired county aide, chimed in with this comment. “Kring says she has no idea who this guy is. Unfortunately when it comes to truthfulness she no longer gets the benefit of the doubt.”
So let’s explore the concept of truthfulness here for a moment.
Briggeman’s trash hauling firm has no contract in Anaheim and the last trash contract awarded in the city was prior to Kring’s election to the council. Brandman got elected in 2012 too and had no say in that awarded contract. So why Briggeman and why a company in Cheyenne, Wyoming?
AnaheimBlog reported Monday that there’s a coincidental connection to Briggeman to the Tait Slate, which was Mayor Tom Tait’s attempt to secure a council majority that would vote as he wanted them to. Clean and Green LLC gave $13,200 to Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods (see page 4), the Tait Family Trust gave $5,000 and Carolyn Young gave $9,500 – a hefty sum from an individual who listed her profession as Braille Institute Secretary.
From the post:
“Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods was the primary vehicle for promoting the Tait Slate to the voters. The anti-Brandman mailer sent by Taxpayers was the most vicious hit on him of the entire campaign.
The other funders of the Tait Slate’s mail were The Tait Family Trust and Carolyn Young, mother of Brandman-hater Jason Young. The mail consultant was Chris Jones, who has also been Tait’s campaign mail consultant for many years.
The FPPC notes that Briggeman created Green and Clean LLC for the purpose of giving to political campaigns. But why in Cheyenne, Wyoming, of all places? Briggeman’s various businesses are all incorporated in California. True, there are tax advantages, but according to the FPPC, Green and Clean LLC was a shell that existed to funnel campaign dollars, not function as an actual business.
So why Wyoming? Why Cheyenne?
The city of Anaheim has about half the population of the entire state. A possible explanation is that Tait’s wife Julie, from a prominent family in Wyoming, has some sort of connection to this entire endeavor. It’s completely coincidental of course, but I’d love to know who handled the paperwork for incorporating Clean and Green LLC, how Briggeman decided to use Wyoming to fund political IEs in California, and for what possible purpose since his trash hauling firm has no business in Anaheim. What’s Julie Tait’s role in all of this? Does Briggeman know her or know someone in her family? What motivated Briggeman to launch IEs into the Anaheim 2012 elections? He wouldn’t talk to the Register.
Kring says she doesn’t know Briggeman. Brandman doesn’t know him. I’ll guess Leos doesn’t either. What would Tom Tait say? What would Mrs. Tait say?