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Cunningham manse owner kicks in $3000 for latest GOP House accused

Dow Jones heir helps bankroll Florida congressman Matt Gaetz

Cunningham mansion in a 2013 U-T story. "In reality the house was a fixer-upper."
Cunningham mansion in a 2013 U-T story. "In reality the house was a fixer-upper."

Monday's guilty plea by ex-Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg to sex trafficking and a bevy of other felony counts has reportedly ratcheted up the heat on his partner in partying, Republican congressman Matt Gaetz.

Greenburg's deal with federal prosecutors makes no mention of Gaetz but is widely expected to mark the beginning of a new chapter in the government's investigation of the pair's alleged cocaine-snorting and Venmo payments for sex with young women, as well as a 17-year-old.

One aspect of the probe includes whether Gaetz used any funds from his campaign account to pay for any extra-curricular hotel room activities, a charge aired by CNN last month.

Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing. "Matt Gaetz has never paid for sex," said an April statement cited by the New York Times. "Matt Gaetz refutes all the disgusting allegations completely."

Whatever the outcome of the charges against him, the Gaetz case may cast a new spotlight on Rancho Santa Fe, at the top of the list of California communities giving to Gaetz's congressional campaign fund.

According to disclosure filings with the Federal Election Commission, three Rancho Santa Fe denizens have come up with a total of $10,100 so far this year for Friends of Matt Gaetz.

The biggest giver was John Peck, Jr., with $6600 contributed between January 14 through March 5. Less than a month later, on March 30, the New York Times broke word that Gaetz was under investigation regarding sex trafficking of a 17-year-old. Peck, a computer industry veteran turned real estate investor, is a frequent giver to GOP causes, including Donald Trump.

Also, among the Gaetz donors, the records show, was Rancho Santa Fe philanthropist Patricia Amtower, with $500 on January 28.

Giving a total of $3,000 from January 28 to March 28 of this year was Hugh Bancroft, an heir to the Dow Jones fortune, who has previously crossed paths with another troubled GOP congressman, the notorious Randy 'Duke' Cunningham.

In 2005 Bancroft purchased the mansion in Rancho Santa Fe that Cunningham had acquired for $2.5 million in cash. The then-House member bought the property with money from proceeds of Cunningham’s November 2003 sale of a house in Del Mar to defense contractor Mitchell Wade, as first reported by the Union-Tribune, ultimately garnering a Pulitzer for the then-robust daily.

Cunningham subsequently pled guilty to receiving $2.4 million in bribes and evading more than a million dollars in taxes, agreeing to forfeit the Rancho Santa Fe house and other property to the feds. "I broke the law, concealed my conduct, and disgraced my high office," Cunningham told reporters. "I know I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, [and] my high office."

In his last hours as president, Donald Trump granted Cunningham, who had done eight years in prison for his misdeeds, a partial pardon, allowing him to own a gun, but keeping him on the hook for $3.6 million in restitution, the U-T reported January 20.

"It makes life worth living when people look at you and accept you, and this pardon is another step forward," the disgraced congressman was quoted as saying.

"The Bancrofts' home and garden provide a peaceful counterpoint to the couple's active lives filled with family (they have three grown children), travel, and adventure," wrote Ranch and Coast Magazine in a September 2019 profile of Bancroft and his wife Joy.

"Joy played polo for years with the San Diego Polo Club (along with son Colton), and now rides jumpers. Even the couple's vacations are action-packed. In Tanzania, they rode horses at the base of Kilimanjaro, ‘flying along’ amid herds of wildebeest, zebra, and giraffe."

"In reality, says Joy, the [Cunningham] house was a fixer-upper — a bad take on the fictional Tara, a plantation in Gone with the Wind. The house had tacky entrance columns and a warren of small, dark rooms crammed with old furniture."

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Cunningham mansion in a 2013 U-T story. "In reality the house was a fixer-upper."
Cunningham mansion in a 2013 U-T story. "In reality the house was a fixer-upper."

Monday's guilty plea by ex-Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg to sex trafficking and a bevy of other felony counts has reportedly ratcheted up the heat on his partner in partying, Republican congressman Matt Gaetz.

Greenburg's deal with federal prosecutors makes no mention of Gaetz but is widely expected to mark the beginning of a new chapter in the government's investigation of the pair's alleged cocaine-snorting and Venmo payments for sex with young women, as well as a 17-year-old.

One aspect of the probe includes whether Gaetz used any funds from his campaign account to pay for any extra-curricular hotel room activities, a charge aired by CNN last month.

Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing. "Matt Gaetz has never paid for sex," said an April statement cited by the New York Times. "Matt Gaetz refutes all the disgusting allegations completely."

Whatever the outcome of the charges against him, the Gaetz case may cast a new spotlight on Rancho Santa Fe, at the top of the list of California communities giving to Gaetz's congressional campaign fund.

According to disclosure filings with the Federal Election Commission, three Rancho Santa Fe denizens have come up with a total of $10,100 so far this year for Friends of Matt Gaetz.

The biggest giver was John Peck, Jr., with $6600 contributed between January 14 through March 5. Less than a month later, on March 30, the New York Times broke word that Gaetz was under investigation regarding sex trafficking of a 17-year-old. Peck, a computer industry veteran turned real estate investor, is a frequent giver to GOP causes, including Donald Trump.

Also, among the Gaetz donors, the records show, was Rancho Santa Fe philanthropist Patricia Amtower, with $500 on January 28.

Giving a total of $3,000 from January 28 to March 28 of this year was Hugh Bancroft, an heir to the Dow Jones fortune, who has previously crossed paths with another troubled GOP congressman, the notorious Randy 'Duke' Cunningham.

In 2005 Bancroft purchased the mansion in Rancho Santa Fe that Cunningham had acquired for $2.5 million in cash. The then-House member bought the property with money from proceeds of Cunningham’s November 2003 sale of a house in Del Mar to defense contractor Mitchell Wade, as first reported by the Union-Tribune, ultimately garnering a Pulitzer for the then-robust daily.

Cunningham subsequently pled guilty to receiving $2.4 million in bribes and evading more than a million dollars in taxes, agreeing to forfeit the Rancho Santa Fe house and other property to the feds. "I broke the law, concealed my conduct, and disgraced my high office," Cunningham told reporters. "I know I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, [and] my high office."

In his last hours as president, Donald Trump granted Cunningham, who had done eight years in prison for his misdeeds, a partial pardon, allowing him to own a gun, but keeping him on the hook for $3.6 million in restitution, the U-T reported January 20.

"It makes life worth living when people look at you and accept you, and this pardon is another step forward," the disgraced congressman was quoted as saying.

"The Bancrofts' home and garden provide a peaceful counterpoint to the couple's active lives filled with family (they have three grown children), travel, and adventure," wrote Ranch and Coast Magazine in a September 2019 profile of Bancroft and his wife Joy.

"Joy played polo for years with the San Diego Polo Club (along with son Colton), and now rides jumpers. Even the couple's vacations are action-packed. In Tanzania, they rode horses at the base of Kilimanjaro, ‘flying along’ amid herds of wildebeest, zebra, and giraffe."

"In reality, says Joy, the [Cunningham] house was a fixer-upper — a bad take on the fictional Tara, a plantation in Gone with the Wind. The house had tacky entrance columns and a warren of small, dark rooms crammed with old furniture."

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Back in he day, wasn't Democratic San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher the local chief of staff for disgraced, imprisoned and Trump-pardoned Republican Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham? I think so....before Fletcher became an Independent and then found a home in the Democratic Party....before he married Labor Democrat and Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez.

May 19, 2021

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