Stan Herzog of St. Joseph, Missouri, onetime Eastern terminus of the Pony Express to California, has long been a financial angel to San Diego Republicans and pro-trash causes, including fallen-mayor-turned-talk-show-host Roger Hedgecock.
Roger Hedgecock. The U-T pushed hard for Great American PR man Dick Carlson's 1984 mayoral bid against embattled incumbent Hedgecock
Herzog is chairman and CEO of the mighty Herzog Contracting Corp, a building behemoth specializing in public transit projects, including the San Diego Trolley. Herzog Environmental, a solid-waste sideline, is also part of the family domain.
According to online accounts Herzog’s environmental division has had "more than five solid waste landfills in San Diego County, Calif., and a contract with Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Waste Control Commission to beneficially process and dispose of incinerated sewage sludge ash."
The company has also experienced some spectacular San Diego setbacks, including exposure of its allegedly covert political activity related to an ultimately ill-fated trash-to-energy plant in San Marcos and the controversial Gregory Canyon landfill.
Herzog surfaced as part of a $1.2 million civil suit against ex–San Diego mayor Roger Hedgecock that alleged Hedgecock, a onetime county supervisor, "improperly failed to report $3,000 in campaign contributions from persons associated with Herzog in 1982 to avoid embarrassing political speculation about any connection between the contributions and his vigorous support of switching the landfill to private control," reported the Los Angeles Times in August 1987.
Having resigned as San Diego mayor in December 1985 following his conviction on 13 felonies in a criminal money-laundering case, Hedgecock appealed and copped a plea in January 1991, having his conviction reduced to a misdemeanor and subsequently dismissed after he agreed to drop his appeal, pay a $5000 fine, and promise to disclose the conviction if he ever ran for public office or tried to obtain state licenses or lottery contracts.
In May 1991, Hedgecock, by then safely out of office and a prosperous radio talk-show host, settled the civil case against him brought by the state's Fair Political Practices Commission by paying a $30,000 fine.
Besides its Hedgecock affairs, Herzog has been a hefty contributor to San Diego GOP causes and local Republican office-holders, who wield regulatory power over many solid-waste disposal issues here.
In November 2004, the Missouri company deployed a $280,000 mailer against Proposition B, a measure to stop development of the proposed Gregory Canyon landfill, in which Herzog was heavily invested.
"Don't let LA dump its trash in San Diego. Vote No on Proposition B," advised the mail piece, not mentioning that a "yes" vote on the measure was a vote to repeal the permit to build the dump.
Prop B failed by 64 to 36 percent, allowing the dump to proceed, but the project later stalled, and in the spring of last year Herzog filed suit to foreclose on the project in an attempt to collect bad debts, listing more than $7 million due the company, according to a May 2015 Union-Tribune account.
That June another entity, Sovereign Capital, took over the venture, though as of this month it continues to remain on hold.
In addition to direct contributions to local politicos, Herzog has also funneled its cash through an array of conduits, including the San Diego Deputy Sheriff's Association political action committee, coming up with $20,000. The law enforcement officers’ union backed Republican county supervisor Bill Horn’s 2014 re-election bid.
In all, Herzog has given a total of $176,875 to California candidates and political causes since 2009, with $70,000 for the San Diego County Republican party and $17,500 to the GOP Lincoln Club, according to state campaign-disclosure filings.
Now Stan Herzog has suddenly emerged as one of two major backers of the effort to dump presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump from the ticket at next month's GOP convention.
A key donor to Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential bid and an early backer of Texas senator Ted Cruz's hopes for the presidency early this year, Herzog joined with wealthy Dallas investor Christopher Ekstrom to fund the Courageous Conservatives PAC, which launched a volley of anti-Trump robo-calls during February’s South Carolina primary.
Said the calls, “It’s about forcing people to bake cakes and photograph gay weddings, forcing clergy to officiate, it’s about transgender bathrooms in your child’s school. It’s about tearing down our Judeo-Christian values. It's about tearing down our America. Ted Cruz for president, now, before it’s too late."
With Trump having presumptively clinched the nomination, Courageous Conservatives has mounted a last-ditch battle to change GOP convention rules to allow delegates to vote for someone else.
After a weekend conference call featuring a reported thousand participants, Courageous Conservatives spokesman Steve Lonegan said the group would bankroll and act as de facto treasurer of the anti-Trump movement. Federal disclosure filings show Herzog has so far contributed $60,000 to the PAC.