Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Who is Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson? Gerald Walpin - Johnson Investigation

Today, the White House announced that President Obama fired Inspector General Gerald Walpin because he had been "confused, disoriented and disruptive." The charge seems to come second-hand because the behavior apparently happened at a corporation board meeting where we would assume no one from the White House was present. If this is old news to you, take a look at the Phoenix newspaper report below at Item "g" and the transcript of Johnson talking to a high school girl, because the question is, who is Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson? See update 11-10-09 below.


Kevin Johnson - Sacramento Mayor
Walpin's investigation showed that Kevin Johnson, the famed NBA star, misused millions of dollars of federal monies. Then, Walpin was given one hour to resign or be fired, a demand that was not lawful by congressional statute.

So let's take a look at Kevin Johnson, and keep in mind that Walpin's investigation was correct and it is documented that Johnson misused federal funds, at times for his personal benefit. That fact is not being disputed by anyone.

Here are pertinent points taken from a pdf titled Special Report to Congress from The Office of Inspector General of The Corporation for National and Community Service.

a) The IG sent a referral for criminal and/or civil prosecution of Kevin Johnson and Dana Gonzalez b) Johnson and Gonzalez were found to divert grant funds to non-grant purposes on six specific acts.
1. Using AmeriCorps members to “recruit[ ] students for St. HOPE Academy;”
2. Using AmeriCorps members for political activities in connection with the “Sacramento Board of Education election;”
3. Taking grant-funded AmeriCorps members “to New York to promote the expansion of St. HOPE operations in Harlem;”
4. Assigning grant-funded AmeriCorps members to perform services “personally benefiting . . . Johnson,” such as “driving [him] to personal appointments, washing [his] car, and running personal errands;”
5. “Supplementing staff salaries by converting grant funds designated for AmeriCorps members,” by enrolling two St. HOPE Academy employees “into the AmeriCorps program for the 2004/2005 grant year” without changing their duties, thereby improperly using grant funds so that one St. HOPE employee’s “salary was then paid through the AmeriCorps program,” plus she “received an [AmeriCorps] living allowance and an education award,” and the other employee’s salary, which was not paid from the grant, “was supplemented by both an AmeriCorps living allowance and an education award;” and...
6. Improperly using AmeriCorps “members to perform non-AmeriCorps clerical and other services” that “were outside the scope of the grant and therefore were impermissible” for “the benefit of St. HOPE.”
c) Johnson and Gonzalez were "debarred" and "suspended" from acting on behalf of the St. Hope Academy. Both had the right to submit contradicting facts to the investigation. Neither did so. (The Debarment and Suspension procedure was created by the Federal government).

d) The Corporation "executed a settlement agreement of questionable value," and lifted the debarment and suspension. IG Walpin assets the "180 degree turnaround" was due to Kevin Johnson becoming Mayor of Sacramento. The corporation said they "could not stand in the way of Sacramento," displaying the incongruity that while Johnson was on suspension for misusing federal funds, he was "sufficiently responsible" to become Mayor of Sacramento and receive substantial federal funds coming in to the city.
(i) St. HOPE would make an immediate payment of $73,836.50, and execute a stipulated judgment for an additional $350,000, to be paid $35,000 annually for ten years, plus 5% annual interest.
(ii) “to assist St. HOPE in paying” the initial $73,836.50 amount, Johnson agreed to pay St. HOPE $72,836.50 and Gonzalez agreed to pay St. HOPE $1,000.00 “in time for St. HOPE to make the Initial Payment
(iii) “Johnson and Gonzalez shall register to take an on-line course offered by Management Concepts titled ‘Cost Principles’” and “complete the course within 120 days. . . , and shall provide written verification under oath of having completed the course.”
(iv) “The Corporation shall terminate the suspension of St. HOPE, Johnson and Gonzalez. . . ” and “agrees not to institute debarment proceedings against” them “so long as they comply with their obligations under this Settlement Agreement.”
e)The lifting of the suspension by the Corporation amounts to buying-off a suspension. (The settlement required Johnson's charity, the St. HOPE Academy to repay the government half of the funds received, some $400,000+, but Walpin has said Johnson was not to be held liable and St. HOPE's was insolvent, so everyone knew that the money would not be repaid.)

The OIG report points out that two people were culpable for misuse of the money, Johnson and Gonzalez. Johnson "is reported to be more than financially able to pay the full judgment due the government," instead a charity in "poor current financial condition" will assume a liability it cannot pay, and even if it could, the St. HOPE did not misuse the money...and even if it could make the repayment, those monies could go to further it's charitable missions.

Also, The government received no guaranty of, or security for, the ten annual payments of $35,000 plus interest, in addition to the initial $73,836.50 payment.

f)At this point, the Corporation who employed the IG Walpin refused to discuss the settlement with him. Walpin saw this as an "unnecessary insult to the OIG staff, "which had worked unselfishly long and hard to uncover the facts which substantiated the charges."

g) The Sacramento Bee, a local newspaper, related that a Sacramento High School teacher reported that Kevin Johnson had inappropriately touched a female student" and the student told the teacher about the incident.

I need to clarify the information in "g." There are two charges of inappropriate touching: one in Phoenix in about 1995 and one in Sacramento about two years ago. I will be adding more here later today (6-18-09). The Sacramento reports includes the possibility of a total of 3 high schools. In the end, the girls said he touched with both hands on shoulders, at the waistline, etc. but in the end, said they didn't think it was "inappropriate." Many in Sacramento are outraged about this and about the firing of the teacher who reported the offenses. There is indication that the Sacramento girl was "intimidated" to change her testimony."

Of all things, Kevin Johnson's personal attorney and business partner investigated the complaint for the school!!! The Sacramento Bee eventually reported that the girl had recanted her story. Kevin Johnson's attorney questioned the girl, at the school, before the police were called. The male teacher resigned and in his resignation letter, he asserted "St. HOPE sought to intimidate the student through an illegal interrogation and even had the audacity to ask me to change my story."

Now to break away from the Report to Congress to clarify some things about the "inappropriate touching" incident: The Phoenix New Times, in an article titled The Summer of '95 focused on the "inappropriate touching" charge which didn't go anywhere in the courts.
Last January, however, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office reviewed a Phoenix police investigation of the girl's claims and declined to prosecute Johnson, saying the case did not meet the agency's threshold of "reasonable likelihood of conviction."
For that reason I was going to not going to talk about the "inappropriate touching" charge against Johnson, until a reader, sactownsue, sent me this link to the Phoenix newspaper. Here's the rest of the story, even though Johnson was not charged:
The most damning evidence against Johnson--indeed, the only evidence against him other than Kim Adams' statements--came from Johnson himself. In July 1996, the Phoenix police sex-crimes unit secretly taped a phone call placed by Kim to Johnson. Johnson made no overt admissions of sexual wrongdoing in the so-called "confrontation call."
A transcript of that call indicates Johnson was wary from the start. Even then, despite numerous signals that his relationship with Kim had soured, Johnson corroborated parts of her story--including that they'd been alone in bedrooms and that when he hugged her he had been too physically intimate.
Now, Johnson's attorneys, when faced with this admission, said Johnson was trying to be "gentle" with her. Do we really think he would have addmitted that he had been "too physically intimate" had he not been? Here's some direct conversation between the two (Kim is the teenaged girl):
Kim broaches one incident she alleges occurred inside the guesthouse at Johnson's sprawling home on the side of Camelback Mountain. "Well, I was naked and you were naked, and it wasn't a hug," Kim says. "Well, I felt that it was, you know, a hug, and you know, I didn't, to be honest, remember if we were both naked at that time. That is the night at the guesthouse?" "Yeah. . . ," the girl says. "Why would I be upset if it was just a hug?" "Well, I said the hug was more intimate than it should have been. . . . But I don't believe I touched your private parts in those areas. And you did feel bad the next day and that's why we talked about it." "Well, if it was just a hug, why were either one of us naked?" "Again, I didn't recall us being a hundred percent naked."
Kim reminds Johnson of other alleged fondlings during the summer of '95, including a claim that she took a shower with Johnson that night in the guesthouse--an event which, during the call, Johnson never denies.
Johnson subsequently passed a lie detector test that his attorney's provided, which included "Did you ever engage in any sexual contact with [Kim]?

I can understand why the charges did not go forward, and see that there was little likelihood that the charge could be proven. Kim did not claim that the two had had intercourse. However, this telephone call does seem to prove that the future Mayor of Sacramento had had "inappropriate" 'togetherness' with a high school student, and in addition, he stole government charitable funds.

The executive director of St. HOPE resigned and charged the board with misconduct, including the deleting of emails that pertained to a federal investigation.

Update 11-10-09:
Announced today that Gerald Walpin has been cleared of charges that he overstepped his authority in his investigation of AmeriCorps and Kevin Johnson. Read the story here.


New charges could undermine St. HOPE settlement

Gerald Walpin Fired by President Obama: Inspector General Walpin Fired
Gerald Walpin Firing Update: AmeriCorp $75 million Misused: Michelle Obama Hires?
Glen Beck - Gerald Walpin Video: IG Gerald Walpin on Glen Beck
White House Charges Walpin Confused Disoriented Disruptive

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