Saturday, June 04, 2016

Campaign Finance Fraud In Santa Barbara's Congressional Election Likely To Result In Mulitple Prison Terms


Same as the last generation conservatives-- steeped in ugly corruption

A few weeks ago I blogged about how I was in the middle of investigating a shady campaign finance situation up in Santa Barbara on behalf of an entitled young right-wing up-and-comer, Justin Fareed. Basically what I had discovered was that Fareed is funding his congressional campaign from just a few wealthy families with very special interests involving the healthcare industry. The investigation is still on-going but, basically, Fareed has taken in over $180,000 from eight families representing four healthcare companies, particularly the Kolodny family-- all of whose adult members have declared bankruptcy in the past as a way of escaping debts-- who are first-time political donors but have maxed out to Fareed for over $40,000. They run controversial nursing homes in Maywood and Oxnard. I never did get to finish the tedious tracking down of shady-looking contributions I had started when-- BOOM!-- Javier Panzar of the L.A. Times broke the story wide open Thursday. He reported that almost all of the million dollars Fareed is spending to win a blue district comes from outside the wealthy district and that nearly $200,000 has come from donors with ties to two of the state’s largest nursing home operators. He traces the money to two shady businessmen, Lawrence Feigen and Shlomo Rechnitz.

This is the district where independent-minded progressive (and Berniecrat) Bill Ostrander has been endorsed by Blue America (CA-24). If you'd like to contribute to Ostrander's grassroots campaign-- he's up against Fareed and a bunch of well-funded establishment Democrats as well-- you can do that here.
Feigen’s company SnF Management owns more than 35 long-term nursing facilities in California and Arizona under the name Windsor Healthcare.

Rechnitz owns more than 70 facilities and has been described as the state’s largest nursing home operator. In recent years, state and federal authorities have investigated his companies on charges including elder abuse and involuntary manslaughter.

Feigen and at least 30 of his employees, business associates, friends and family members have together contributed at least $108,000 to Fareed’s congressional campaign. Rechnitz, employees of his businesses and their family members have given just over $74,000.

Federal law caps direct donations to candidates at $2,700 for the primary and $2,700 for the general election.

Feigen donated the maximum amount to Fareed’s campaign. Rechnitz contributed $2,700. Three Feigen family members listed as students in finance disclosures each donated $2,700.

In addition, Feigen, his family’s trust and his company donated $25,000 to New Generation, a pro-Fareed political action committee that has since disbanded. Ramat Medical, where Rechnitz is chief financial officer, donated $10,000. Feigen and his wife also donated $10,000 to another PAC set up to support Fareed.

When asked about his donations, Feigen said he and his family “like people who are honest” and not part of the political establishment. He said he knew Fareed through business connections in the medical sector. Rechnitz, through a representative, declined to speak about his contributions to Fareed’s campaign beyond an emailed statement.

"Mr. Rechnitz is a major, non-denominational, non-partisan donor who last year alone contributed to more than 1,100 institutions," Rechnitz’s spokesperson Stefan Friedman said in the statement.

At the recent opening of his campaign’s Santa Barbara headquarters, Fareed described Feigen as "a supporter like all of our other supporters for the campaign."

...In August, California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris filed involuntary manslaughter charges against one of Rechnitz’s nursing homes, and two of its employees were also charged with dependent adult abuse. Charges against one defendant were dismissed at a hearing last month after she agreed to testify in this case. The charges against the head of nursing and the nursing home remain, and the case is pending. At another Rechnitz-owned facility in Orange County, two former employees were charged with three counts each of elder abuse and failure to report abuse. Their trial is scheduled for July.

Santa Barbara Republicans wasting their money

In addition, three Rechnitz-owned facilities repeatedly failed inspections and were eventually decertified by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an agency spokesman said. Regulatory violations at facilities owned by Rechnitz have led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Rechnitz’s spokesman declined to comment on those cases but said the executive brought "59 nursing homes out of insolvency and currently provides life-saving care to thousands of Californians."

West Hollywood resident Viktor Kogan and his wife each gave $2,700 to Fareed's campaign in late October.

Asked recently about the contributions, Kogan said he could not recall donating to Fareed, adding that he had never heard of the candidate.

When shown a copy of a federal record noting his contribution, Kogan, 75, said his daughter, Ksenya Kogan, arranged the donation. She also contributed, and listed one of Feigen's companies, SnF Management, as her employer.

Ksenya Kogan, an attorney, declined to comment about the donations except to say she had met Fareed through friends.

In nearby Hancock Park, Freda Stock gave a total of $5,400 to Fareed, but said she didn't know anything about the candidate or his campaign. Stock said Feigen has done business with her husband and has been a family friend for “many, many years.”

Fareed’s campaign also has received donations from outside the state, including a $2,700 contribution from Chaim Feigen, a recent graduate of New York University who works for SnF Management and is registered to vote at Lawrence Feigen’s Los Angeles home. Asked about his contribution, he declined to comment.

Other donors interviewed by The Times said they had given money to Fareed’s campaign based on the advice of friends or business associates.

One of those is Denise Wilson, an executive at Ramat Medical, the West Los Angeles medical supply company where Rechnitz is chief executive. Wilson, who gave $2,700, said a group of people that she works with introduced her to Fareed’s campaign.

“They said that he was a good guy,” she said. “I couldn't give you a definitive answer of his issues or what he stands for. They just said that he was a good, up-and-coming person to support our industry.”
Giving money to straw donors to contribute to political campaigns is illegal-- very seriously so and people go to prison for it. Ksenya Kogan will certainly loser her license to practice law if it's proven that she participated in this scheme. Meanwhile, needless to say, the slime-meister behind all this, Justin Fareed, absolutely refuses to return the dirty money to the nursing home crooks and their associates and family members.

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