Marina Times – Is John Hamasaki fit to become San Francisco’s top cop?

From tax liens to credit card lawsuits, the district attorney nominee’s personal finances are a mess; plus, an updated district attorney endorsement

“That “if” does a lot of work. Just pay some fucking taxes, mate.
District Attorney John Hamasaki’s nominee to Elon Musk in since-deleted tweet

Much has been made of the removal by former San Francisco Police Commissioner and current District Attorney John Hamasaki of nearly 9,000 offbeat Twitter posts, but nothing was said about his personal financial issues, which should definitely be taken into account when someone is running to be the top cop in a big city. In fact, public records reveal that Hamasaki has a long history of non-payment of bills. Besides being a harbinger of one’s character, why is it important? Because anyone in a position of immense power is susceptible to corruption – and having thousands of dollars in personal debt puts them at even greater risk.

Take for example the 2017 case against Philadelphia District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams, who admitted to accepting tens of thousands of dollars in covert bribes in exchange for his agreement to perform official acts, and using political action committee funds and official government vehicles for personal purposes. benefit to. The indictment alleged that Williams compromised himself and his elected office by using his position to help those who wanted to secretly pay him with valuables like cash, travel and cars, as well as than by defrauding his political action committee and others.

Then there’s the case against Orléans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams, who was hit with a federal tax lien in May of this year for failing to pay more than $200,000 to the IRS. in 2019. Williams also faces federal charges that he conspired to inflate business expenses by $700,000 to reduce his tax burden by $200,000 between 2013 and 2017. The government wants to introduce evidence dating back to 2002 of Williams’ tax problems, including “late payments, late filings, correspondence showing his disputes with the IRS, and a large tax lien.” placed on Williams’ property.

Of course, anyone familiar with my writings in the Marina hours is aware of the many high-ranking city officials who have been indicted for taking bribes or otherwise abusing their power for personal and financial gain. It’s a story as old as time, but particularly powerful here in San Francisco, which ranks among the most corrupt cities in the country. If you’ve been sued by credit card companies and have unpaid state and federal tax liens, at the very least a red flag should be raised when you run for public office.

THOUSANDS OF CREDIT CARD DEBT

According to public records, as recently as 2017, Hamasaki faced several different civil lawsuits, including two that resulted in judgments against him totaling nearly $10,000. Hamasaki has been named as a defendant in the following four civil lawsuits, which were filed between 1990 and 2017:

• In May 2017, Hamasaki was sued by Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC for defaulting on payment of $1,219.65 due to Synchrony Bank/Amazon.com. The case was closed on May 14, 2018.

• In April 2017, Hamasaki was sued by Capital One Bank for $2,691.99 in damages. In October 2017, the case was settled with conditions. Hamasaki agreed to pay the full amount of $2,691.99.

• In July 2000, Hamasaki was sued by First Select, Inc., and in February 2001 ordered to pay a total of $6,592.38 to the company. On November 19, 2008, an acknowledgment that the judgment was fully satisfied was filed with the San Francisco County Superior Court.

• In May 1990, Hamasaki was implicated with his father Duco in a lawsuit brought by State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance. The complaint amounted to $3,143. Two months later, in July 1990, the case was dismissed.

LIEN, LEGAL PROCEEDINGS AND RESTRAINING ORDER

In August 2019, John Hamasaki and his wife, Hana Azman, were subject to a federal tax lien of $16,958.29 for 1040 unpaid income taxes for the 2016 and 2017 tax years. , there has been no release on file for the lien with the San Francisco County Recorder’s Office.

After declaring his candidacy for district attorney on August 11, 2022, one would think Hamasaki would have taken care of those back taxes. Not only did he not, but almost exactly one month later, on September 14, 2022, the California State Franchise Tax Board filed a $5,554.58 tax lien against him for unpaid taxes in 2018 and 2019.

In November 2016, Hamasaki’s private law firm, Hamasaki Law, was named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by San Francisco resident and apartment owner Jenny J. Kim, who alleged that defendants in the case had attempted to reverse the plaintiff’s deed of grant and deed of surrender of her residence and barred her from entering her home (Jenny J Kim v. 1856 Franklin Street HOA, filed Nov. 21 2016 in California Superior Court, San Francisco County).

The lawsuit alleged that Hamasaki and other attorneys involved in the case secretly consulted with the homeowners association’s board of directors and refused to negotiate with Kim in good faith, earning him substantial costs.

He further alleged that Hamasaki sought attorney fees from Kim despite “intentionally flawed legal work”, stating, “In or around August 2016, Hamasaki and Haigh began seeking attorney fees, despite their Intentionally flawed legal work resulting in a civil harassment restraining order against a completely different person named Ji Hyun Kim To date, they have not served the restraining order or any pleading after September 1, 2016 to the applicant, however, they continue to contact the applicant for money.

On April 3, 2017, plaintiffs’ attorneys filed a motion to dismiss, asking the clerk to dismiss Hamasaki Law as a defendant in the case, but the allegations are still troubling.

Another troubling complaint is a July 3, 2002 claim for $5,000 that Hamasaki filed against defendant Lahela Kahulani Chapman. On August 14, 2002, the court issued a judgment determining that Chapman did not owe Hamasaki money, and on the same day Chapman filed for a domestic violence injunction against Hamasaki. Since the $5,000 claim exhibits were destroyed, there is no further information on the case, but as a candidate for one of the most powerful offices in the city — an office that prosecutes domestic abusers and protects their victims — it seems Hamasaki owes his would-be voters an explanation.

Voters must also carefully consider whether Hamasaki is qualified to create and manage a multi-million dollar budget for the district attorney’s office and be the sole decision maker on how to handle every criminal case in the city when he cannot. not even pay his own bills. As the future district attorney himself put it in one of those now infamous deleted tweets, “Gotta love how @latimes directs the message to another criminal cop practically justifying him taking a bribe of 30,000 because he was in danger of losing his house and his credit cards were maxed out…”

UPDATED DISTRICT ATTORNEY APPROVAL: VOTING ONLY BROOKE JENKINS

Personally, I think San Francisco should do away with ranked voting – it’s confusing and often leads to a less popular and less qualified candidate. The textbook case for this theory, of course, is former San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who barely picked up a win because three moderate contestants canceled out. Preferential voting also requires voters to be strategic, especially if there is a candidate like Hamasaki in the running. His admiration for Boudin, his financial difficulties and the fact that he has no experience as a prosecutor are enough to count him, but these nearly 9,000 deleted tweets are a window into the mind of Hamasaki who cannot and does not should not be ignored. He advocated for gangs to keep their illegal guns as ‘protection’, showed pure contempt for day-to-day law enforcement, said cops and district attorneys were one and the same and should both be funded, and called incumbent Brooke Jenkins an insurrectionist. . In fact, Hamasaki is the least qualified person to run for public office in the two decades I’ve covered elections in San Francisco — and if you look at City Hall, past and present, you know that says a lot.

I originally endorsed Jenkins as number one and Joe Alioto Veronese as number two, despite his lack of prosecuting skills, primarily to stop Hamasaki from pulling a Boudin. But recently, Veronese has escalated her misogynistic and bullying behavior, which has resulted in my secondary endorsement being removed. He joined Hamasaki in attacking Jenkins not on her record but personally, berating her for leaving a debate where an organized group of Hamasaki supporters yelled at her and wouldn’t let her speak, his wealthy male privilege. white being on full display as he dismissed Jenkins saying she didn’t feel safe. Veronese also tweeted that Jenkins — who is black and Latina — was scared of African Americans protesting at SF State, which he punctuated with #CowardlyMove.

Veronese also joined Hamasaki in promoting a politically motivated complaint to the California State Bar written by Martha Goldin, a 94-year-old retired Los Angeles judge who, along with her daughter Laura, has donated as much as possible to the campaigns. of Boudin and Hamasaki. Goldin’s lengthy rant stems from a 2014 case and, like most complaints to the state bar, will likely never be investigated, not only because it’s baseless, but also because it’s a publicity stunt to distract from the fact that Hamasaki is a terrible candidate. The state bar considers the complaints confidential, but that didn’t stop the Goldins from routing them through the Wren Collective, a far-left public relations firm headed by none other than the former chief of staff of Boudin, Kate Chatfield. Seeing Veronese and her family, including her mother, Angela, attack Jenkins made me (and a lot of other people if you read the comments on Twitter) heartsick. It is sad that Veronese and her family do not realize that they are tarnishing their once politically prestigious name.

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Follow Susan and the Marina hours on Twitter: @SusanDReynolds and @TheMarinaTimes.

About Charles D. Goolsby

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