Juan Vargas got a good chunk of change from the controversial founder of Lincoln Military Housing.
San Diego’s poster boy for shadowy members of Congress, Republican Duncan Hunter, continues to rack up big legal fees paid for by his campaign committee. Meanwhile, the fundraising and spending practices of local Democrats have remained discreetly under the radar.
A recent financial disclosure shows that South Bay Democrat Juan Vargas laid out $3411 in campaign funds for food and drinks during a bash at the Del Mar racetrack September 5. A July 13 banquet reception at the National Democratic Club in Washington set the campaign back $1303, and a July 18 banquet bill from the venue was the same. In San Diego, a July 10 food-and-beverage tab at Seasons 52 ran $750.
Money to support the Vargas spending came from an array of special-interest donors, including A. Mack Pogue, the controversial founder of Lincoln Military Housing, who furnished $2700 on June 19. Last year Pogue’s Dallas, Texas-based company agreed to pay $200,000 in fees and penalties under the Service Members Civil Relief Act for illegally evicting four military members from their San Diego lodgings. At the same time, Lincoln and the U.S. Defense Department settled with the State of California regarding a matter involving 18 servicemembers, including the four covered in the federal case, per an August 2016 military.com report.
“Lincoln Military Housing unlawfully evicted active-duty servicemembers and their families from their homes,” said a statement by Bill Baer, principal deputy associate attorney general at the Justice Department. “This settlement rights that wrong and serves as a powerful reminder that we will protect and defend the rights of those who protect us all.” The case was referred to the Justice Department by the Legal Services Support Team at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Last year, a federal jury awarded $350,000 to family members of a Marine living in moldy military housing operated by Lincoln in Norfolk, Virginia.
Besides his run-ins with the law, Pogue is noted for the early American coin collection he started for his son D. Brent Pogue, auctioned for a total of more than $106 million earlier this year, per CoinWorld.