News


Update: Feds unseal charges against Sen. Leland Yee

State Senate president pro tem calls on Sen. Yee to resign

Federal authorities have unsealed a criminal complaint in San Francisco today alleging charges including drug trafficking, gun running, money laundering and murder for hire against 26 people, including state Sen. Leland Yee, who has represented Woodside and Portola Valley in the Legislature.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Sen. Yee this morning, along with infamous Chinatown gang leader Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow. Mr. Chow is the president of the Supreme Lodge of Chinese Free Masons in San Francisco.

State Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg today called on Sen. Yee to resign following his arrest. Sen. Steinberg, D-Sacramento, spoke in Sacramento flanked by a number of his fellow state senators.

Calling the charges in the indictment "sickening," and "shocking and surreal," Sen. Steinberg said, "Leave. Don't burden your colleagues and this great institution with your troubles. Leave."

Sen. Steinberg said senators were prepared to move to suspend Mr. Yee if he did not resign, and would remove him from all his committee positions.

"I am angry," Sen. Steinberg said. "I'm angry on behalf of the people and I'm angry on behalf of the 37 other members whose hard work every day on behalf of the people is being tarnished because of events outside of their control and outside of our control."

The complaint unsealed today alleges that between 2012 and 2014, Sen. Yee offered to use his office to do favors for undercover FBI agents in exchange for money that would fund his secretary of state campaign.

The U.S. Attorney's office says one instance of such an offer happened after Sen. Yee lost the November 2011 election for mayor of San Francisco.

In an effort to retire at least $70,000 in debt accrued during the campaign, authorities say, Sen. Yee agreed to help push a contract under consideration with the state Department of Public Health. He allegedly called a manager at the department, and sent an official letter in support of the contract, which was to benefit an undercover FBI agent. In exchange, authorities say, Sen. Yee accepted a $10,000 campaign donation.

Official charges against Sen. Yee include six counts of attempting to defraud citizens of honest services, and conspiracy to traffic in, and illegally import, firearms.

Maximum penalties for the firearms charges include 10 years in prison and $500,000 in fines. Penalties for each of the fraud charges could carry a penalty of 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Sen. Yee represents Senate District 8, which includes the western half of San Francisco and a portion of San Mateo County. He declared his candidacy for secretary of state in 2012 when his term in the state Senate was up, and he was on the ballot for November's election.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow's criminal rap sheet dates back to the 1970s, and includes previous convictions for racketeering, drug trafficking, attempted murder, arson, robbery, gambling and extortion.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

Posted by same old story, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 26, 2014 at 9:37 pm

@kinneytimes: Yee allegedly told informant he was pumping for donations in 2011 that if he won SF mayoralty, "we control $6.8 billion man." #SenYeeArrest

Web Link




Posted by whatever, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 27, 2014 at 1:00 am

Yee - a true politician.
On one hand an advocate for gun control and campaigner against video game violence - and on the other hand he's gun trafficking.

And he's out on 500K bail. Sure hope the feds took away his passport.


Posted by entrapment, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 27, 2014 at 10:21 am

Did any of this gun running actually happen in real life, or was this all idle boasting? This case sounds just as outlandish as the John DeLorean cocaine trafficking case that fell apart when the defense successfully argued entrapment. Web Link


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 27, 2014 at 10:37 am

It does have the smell of ABSCAM.


Posted by gunste, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Mar 27, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Name one politician who does not do favors for donors in return for campaign contributions. It is a fact of life for our system where elections run on other people's money, donated directly or via PACs. Money rules. You merely need to read the media when they talk about a race for office - it is always judged by how much money thy have int heir campaign funds. There are isolated altruists, but after Citizen's United, corporate money flows to obligate the receivers to do their duty to donors. Legislation is influenced by money: just follow the NRA's expenditures against people who do not do their bidding. - Senator Yee was just excessively foolish about he did things, but the rest are little different.


Posted by Public financing of elections, a resident of Portola Valley: Woodside Highlands
on Mar 27, 2014 at 1:17 pm

"Name one politician who does not do favors for donors in return for campaign contributions."

Public financing of elections --- politicians would be much less beholden to criminals, corporations and unions.

A cheap price to pay.


Posted by Paul, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Mar 27, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Don't make excuses for him. He was on the take, two faced and for sale.


Posted by Public financing of elections, a resident of Portola Valley: Woodside Highlands
on Mar 27, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Excuses? Hell no. After a trial, I hope they string him and his cohorts up.

But how many other politicians does this apply to, at least to some degree? "He was on the take, two faced and for sale."

I submit: most of them.

Let's start to take the dirty money out of politics. Public financing of elections.


Posted by Fred, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 28, 2014 at 12:20 pm

He IS innocent until proven guilty. But since it is an election year, it is sad to watch the Democrats distance themselves and demand his resignation. What if he is acquitted?


Posted by Jack Hickey, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 28, 2014 at 1:25 pm

While I do not support public financing of elections, there is something which government(Registrar of Voters) can do to level the playing field.
Currently, those registering to vote are asked for e-mail addresses, which are included in the voter database. The Registrar of Voters could facilitate the distribution of candidates positions on issues to those who volunteered their e-mail addresses. And, to make it worthwhile, the e-mail addresses should be validated periodically. There could be a minimal charge for the service. Recipients of such distributions could selectively opt out if they so desired.


Posted by ECR, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 28, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Jack: public financing reduces or eliminates a lot of money for favors transactions that appear to be at the heart of our current political contribution system (unions donate if you support them, Koch brothers buy you an election if you support them, etc..)

How does an email list stop that? Anyone can buy an email list or get it from a local party (green, democrat, gop, etc...)


Posted by Jack Hickey, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 28, 2014 at 2:26 pm

A legitimate(not spam)e-mail distribution to willing recipients(voters who have expressed an interest in receiving campaign information by virtue of having provided their address when they registered) would be much less costly than "purchased" lists. Candidates needn't send large campaign documents in such e-mails, but simply send short messages with links to their campaign website, published articles, letters to the editor, or their League of Women Voter's candidate page. The ease with which a candidates information can be accessed obviates the need for expensive campaign mailings or TV commercials. And, by passing information on to their friends, this can have a huge impact on voter awareness.


Posted by entrapment, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 28, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Other newspapers are reporting that the Senator had no connection whatsoever with any gangsters until FBI informants introduced them. This case is sounding fishier and fishier.


Posted by local resident, a resident of Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on Mar 30, 2014 at 6:53 am

sems as tho Yee & his fellow bad "guys" should be suspended w/out pay. If in fact, any of them are proven innocent, then they can have their salaries reimburses retroavtively. Sounds fair as the trials could last for a very long time w/ appeals etc.


Posted by SteveC, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 30, 2014 at 12:20 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

The honorable thing would be for Yee to resign period. But, he needs the money for his defense atty.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 30, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Ironic that a politician who was so "pro" gun control was actually offering to bring in automatic weapons into our state... for money. A real profile in courage.

Until people are willing to call out criminal behavior in their own party - and stop making excuses where none exist - this will continue to be the way our fair state operates.


Posted by Goid, a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 30, 2014 at 7:19 pm

"Until people are willing to call out criminal behavior in their own party"

I'm a liberal (registered I, actually) and I hope they fry this guy, when convicted. But I guess it's easy for someone who claims to be an independent or libertarian to say the above about a democrat or a republican.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 30, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Goid:

do you think that just maybe the reason those of us who are independent or libertarians are that way because of those things? We have two parties in control of this state, yet this garbage continues to go on. Why? Perhaps because it's given a pass by members of their own party. Perhaps not you, but the vast majority. Just watch.


Posted by entrapment, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 30, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Do any of these alleged guns really exist? Did Mr. Yee or any of his employees actually have control of the weapons at any point in time? Or was this whole story manufactured by FBI informants? Many of the other allegations seem realistic, but this one sounds pretty fictitious to me.


Posted by Goid, a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 30, 2014 at 11:02 pm

>>>yet this garbage continues to go on. Why? Perhaps because it's given a pass by members of their own party.

Maybe it's time for third parties. See the other posts above about financing them.

Or sit here and whine about anonymous posts that you feel are like 'entrapment' above (cyber-mastur//, umm, never mind, you get it.... about a bunch of noise that means nothing until the actual trial.)

Talking about this prior to the trial is like CNN covering a missing airplane for three weeks: 2 minutes of actual news per day, 23 hours, 58 minutes of noise. You choose to moan about the 23 hours of noise, and huff-n-puff about your superiority as an 'independent'.

Enjoy.

Unless, of course, if you proclaim to be Independent, or Libertarian, or Green, but you mostly vote for a certain party, well, now we're talking real mental mas.... aw, never mind. I choose to no longer participate.

Cheers.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 31, 2014 at 6:54 am

Goid:

I am a registered Libertarian. I don't vote for anyone because of their party. I've voted for the candidate I thought was the best in all of the elections I've voted in the last 38 years. Which was all of them. Quite often, and especially in the last 20, I haven't voted for a either a republican or a democrat.


Posted by transaction, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Anonymous poster "entrapment" should watch this segment. On June 25, 2013, an undercover FBI agent paid Keith Jackson $5,300 in cash for some guns, on that same day a partner at Jackson's firm donated $4000 to Yee's Secretary of State campaign. Web Link


Posted by popular mechanics, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 2, 2014 at 5:23 pm

This article covers the various weapons:
Web Link


Posted by Sun Yat Sen, a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2014 at 3:53 pm

How intersting it is that in the upcoming week Shrimp Boy will be a defendent in a criminal trial in San Francisco and down in San Mateo County Shrimp Girl will be a defendent in a civil litigation.


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