McGoldrick’s ethics in question

One supervisor’s deciding vote in favor of a controversial development is being called into question after opponents of the project have learned a campaign fundraiser by the developer’s consultant firm was held for the elected official just one day prior to the vote.

Nick Pagoulatos, a coordinator for the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition, said political contributions to help Supervisor Jake McGoldrick fight a recall campaign may have caused him to vote Tuesday against an appeal of the 60-unit condominium project at 3400 Cesar Chavez St.

McGoldrick vehemently denied the allegation on Wednesday.

“My buttocks has never been for sale and never will be. Nobody buys Jake McGoldrick, it’s really simple,” McGoldrick said. “I think it’s sad some folks who lost the case have to go to the gutter so quickly.”

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors rejected the 3400 Cesar Chavez St. appeal in a 6-5 vote, allowing the development to move forward.

Opponents, who include Pagoulatos, said the development should offer more than just nine below-market rate units — the minimum requirement under city law — and that before approval, The City should further study how the project fits into the affordable housing needs throughout the area.

Pagoulatos said McGoldrick has “always been a staunch ally” on land use issues and wondered why, on this matter, he was not.

“It led us to believe there was something else at play,” Pagoulatos said.

The developer of the project, Seven Hills Properties, has donatedmoney to the so-called Citizens Against Recall Abuse, a campaign against McGoldrick’s recall. The recall, being supported by a group of local merchants in McGoldrick’s district could wind up on the February 2008 ballot if enough signatures are gathered.

Luis Belmonte and Thomas Rocca, of Seven Hill Properties, contributed a combined $1,500 to the anti-recall campaign, while the developer’s attorney, Steven Vettel, contributed $500.

On Monday, a day before the vote, Barbary Coast Consulting, one of The City’s top lobbying firms, whose client is Seven Hill Properties, held a fundraiser for McGoldrick and raised about $8,000.

Alex Clemens, a Barbary Coast consultant, said the fundraiser had nothing to do with the Mission neighborhood development. Clemens said he talked with his partners about supporting McGoldrick after learning of the recall effort because he felt McGoldrick was being unfairly targeted. “We decided to help,” Clemens said.

jsabatini@examiner.com


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