Mark Arabo, the one-time head of the Neighborhood Market Association, was ordered by a judge here to return $248,000 in disputed bonuses and personal expenses in 2017.
San Diego has four names on the Joe Biden presidential campaign’s list of big-money bundlers, those who gathered a total of $100,000 or more in cash contributions from friends and associates and now may expect return favors. “The following individuals have raised at least $100,000 for our campaign and affiliated joint fundraising committees,” says Biden’s campaign website over a list including Democratic state senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Mark Arabo. He’s the one-time head of the Neighborhood Market Association who in 2017 was ordered by a judge here to return $248,000 in disputed bonuses and personal expenses after a bitter fight with association board members. “Arabo treated the NMA, a non-profit mutual benefit corporation, as his own personal bank account,” wrote Superior Court Judge Richard E.L. Strauss in an opinion cited by the Union-Tribune. “He misused the NMA credit card, lied to the board to justify a $210,000 bonus, lied to obtain a $38,000 ‘expense reimbursement,’ oversaw the unlawful transfer of $100,000 from the NMA Education Foundation and used it for non-charitable purposes, and undertook a tax-avoidance scheme with respect to his ‘personal expense account.’”
Famous for his political fundraising prowess, Arabo was appointed to the California Workforce Development Board by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom in November of last year.
Mark Arabo’s grinning because his fundraising efforts for Joe Biden likely earned him some political favors.
Another local Biden bundler is La Jolla’s Lynn Schenk, the longtime California politico on the board of the controversial effort to build a bullet train in the Central Valley. Also among the bundlers is La Jollan David Alberga, an entrepreneur on the board of drone warfare contractor Citadel Defense Company, and chairman of the board of GovX, “the online shopping site exclusively for current and former military, law enforcement and first responders,” says a company news release. According to the release, “Alberga’s longest venture was with ACTIVE Network, LLC, where he worked as chief executive for 13 years before serving as its executive chairman. Under his leadership, ACTIVE went public before it was acquired in 2014 for $1 billion.”
Long road home
Jason Cabel Roe, once known as Kevin Faulconer’s political brain, who frequently tangled with the Chargers during the mayor’s ill-starred efforts to keep the team from taking off for Los Angeles, has himself departed the San Diego scene for friendlier Midwest hometown climes. “Putting the legal and ethical issues aside for a moment,” wrote Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani in a 2015 missive to Faulconer regarding Roe, “what sense does it make to have someone who is your chief advisor on political matters, and who advises a potential stadium vendor on business matters, play any sort of role with the ‘independent’ Task Force?”
Jason Cabel Roe was once known as Kevin Faulconer’s political brain.
After being Faulconer’s key advisor during the 2014 mayoral campaign, Roe opened a lobbying shop and in January 2015 became an influence peddler for food and beverage giant Delaware North’s effort to win the lucrative catering contract at Qualcomm Stadium, then the home of the Chargers. With Roe’s assistance Delaware North wrested the contract away from the incumbent vendor Centerplate, which then cried foul. “As you know, during the 90 minutes allotted to Centerplate for its presentation, not one member of the selection committee asked a single question regarding any one of the five different financial proposals put forth by Centerplate in its [request for proposal] response,”
Centerplate chief legal and talent officer Keith B.W. King wrote city contracting official Ronald Villa. “Further troubling are the recent allegations raised about [Delaware North’s] lobbyist and his apparent connection to the Mayor’s office.” With the subsequent collapse of Faulconer’s drive to keep professional football at Qualcomm, the food contract quickly died, and Roe folded his San Diego lobbying operation in June of 2015. The latest address for Roe Strategic, Roe’s latest political consulting venture, is in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
A recent financial disclosure statement of incumbent GOP county supervisor Kristin Gaspar, badly beaten by Democrat Terra Lawson-Remer in last month’s election, show Roe picked up $19,205 in consulting fees between October 18 and November 20 of this year. Among the Western Michigan University alum’s biggest clients has been Arizona Republican congressman Paul Gosar, whose reelection committee paid Roe Strategic $327,646 through September 30 of this year, per OpenSecrets.org. In 2019, Roe’s company picked up $2509 from the failed Kristin Gaspar for Congress campaign.
— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)
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