San Francisco Airport Shuttle Company and Two Managers Charged with Making Illegal Contributions to Ed Lee Mayoral Campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 14, 2012

CONTACT: Stephanie Ong Stillman, (415) 553-1167 or (415) 740-5134 Omid Talai, (415) 553-9272

San Francisco – District Attorney George Gascón announced today the bringing of charges against Lorrie’s Travel & Tours, Inc., better known as GO Lorrie’s, one of the larger passenger shuttle companies at San Francisco International Airport.

GO Lorrie’s is charged with making $11,500 in illegal contributions last September to the Ed Lee for Mayor 2011 campaign committee. Also charged are Jason Perez, age 40, of San Mateo, the company’s general manager, and Hanan Qutami, 56, of South San Francisco, the company’s chief financial officer. The defendants are accused of making an unlawful $11,500 campaign contribution from GO Lorrie’s to the Ed Lee campaign by passing it through GO Lorrie’s drivers and staff.

“Campaign finance and disclosure laws help to ensure fairness and transparency in our elections,” said District Attorney George Gascón, “and my office takes the violation of these laws very seriously. After a thorough investigation, we have found clear evidence to charge Go Lorrie’s and two of its employees with making illegal campaign contributions.”

According to court documents, defendant Perez solicited GO Lorrie’s drivers, dispatchers, administrators and spouses to each write a $500 personal check to the Ed Lee for Mayor campaign, with the promise that they would be reimbursed. Perez and Qutami then had the 23 contributors, including Perez and his wife, reimbursed with GO Lorrie’s funds. San Francisco campaign finance law limits contributions in municipal elections to $500 per donor and prohibits campaign contributions from corporations altogether. California law prohibits donors from laundering campaign contributions through others to avoid these limitations.

According to court documents, the Ed Lee campaign returned the contributions shortly after questions about their propriety were raised.

The defendants are charged with twenty three counts of violating California Government Code section 84301 (making a campaign contribution in a name other than the true name of the contributor). The defendants are also charged with one count of violating San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code section 1.114(a) (contributing over $500 to a campaign committee in a municipal election) and one count of violating section 1.114(b) (making a campaign contribution by a corporation in a municipal election). The charges are all misdemeanors.

The case was investigated by District Attorney Investigators Matt Irvine and Zach Gorton. Assistant District Attorney Evan Ackiron is prosecuting the case.
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