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D2 supervisor candidate spars with consulting firm over $20K alleged debt

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District 2 Supervisor candidate Nick Josefowitz’s initiative to revise term limits for the mayor and Board of Supervisors fell short of the signature required to qualify for the June ballot. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Supervisor candidate Nick Josefowitz has already poured nearly $400,000 into an unsuccessful bid to block a prospective challenger from running against him, and it turns out he could be on the hook for thousands of dollars more.

Campaign management firm Democracy Resources claims that the District 2 candidate is refusing to pay the firm an estimated $20,000 it is still owed for collecting signatures in support of a potential ballot initiative he bankrolled.

Democracy Resources political consultant Judson Parker said that means some campaign canvassers “who live payday to payday” will not be able to cover their own rent or bills. “We will not allow some rich, entitled man to steal bread from their dinner tables without a fight,” Parker said in an email.

Canvassers for the firm began to gather signatures to place the measure on the June ballot beginning last November.

If approved, the measure would have revised term limits for the mayor and Board of Supervisors, preventing former Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier from launching a rumored race against Josefowitz in November. The measure would have blocked a supervisor or mayor from serving more than two four-year terms.

But the initiative fell short of the signatures needed to qualify for the June ballot, and Alioto-Pier also quashed rumors that she would run when Mayor Mark Farrell named Catherine Stefani as his District 2 successor in January.

SEE RELATED: SF’s District 2 supervisor race turning into a big money political slugfest

Parker said missed and short payments to the firm “effectively kneecapp[ed] the signature gathering efforts.”

Josefowitz “pulled the plug” on the ballot initiative March 17, having missed the deadline to qualify for the June ballot and decided against collecting signatures for the November ballot, according to Parker.

“I think it’s safe to say that this initiative is past the point of no return now,” Parker said.

Josefowitz, who founded a solar energy company and serves on the BART Board of Directors, referred the San Francisco Examiner to a spokesperson for comment on Sunday.

Jesse Mainardi, an attorney for Josefowitz’s campaign, confirmed the ballot measure would not appear in November but said the campaign did not owe the firm any money.

“The committee had budgeted an amount per the contract with signature firm Democracy Resources and already had to exceed that threshold just on the signatures collected to date,” Mainardi said in a statement. “The committee does not have unlimited funding, and it does not owe any money.”

Parker’s records show that Josefowitz’s campaign paid $362,977 to Democracy Resources between last November and the beginning of the month. Parker said the estimated $20,000 owed is for the last two weeks of work on the campaign.

Overall, “Coalition for Effective Term Limits, supported by Nick Josefowitz” — the committee behind the potential ballot measure — had spent $445,175.57 on the initiative as of March 15, according to Ethics Commission filings.

The city records also show that Josefowitz himself contributed $373,000 of those dollars to the campaign as of March 15.

Democracy Resources said it is prepared to argue the debt before an arbiter.

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