By Zach Arnold | July 29, 2014
Meet my little friend, Shrimp Boy.
In California political circles, the name of state senator Leland Yee sends chills down the spines of many. Yee, who was running for Secretary of State and was considered a very reliable Democratic state senator, got indicted on a million different charges in relation to various business dealings. And many of those dealings allegedly involve top members of Chinatown’s most powerful criminal organization.
It is shocking, given the gravity of the charges, how little national attention the indictment of Yee and Chinatown mobsters have gotten. However, it is the biggest California political scandal in decades and will produce the show trial of all show trials in Northern California.
And part of that updated indictment against Yee and Shrimp Boy last week includes allegations from the Feds that Leland Yee extorted the California State Athletic Commission in order to prevent the commission from getting sunset by the state Senate. The indictment introduces the Chinatown mobsters in this manner:
“The Chee Kung Tong, also known as “Gee Kung Tong,” also known as “Supreme Lodge Chinese Freemasons of the World,” also known as the “CKT”, was a predominantly Chinese American association based in Chinatown, in the City and County of San Francisco, whose members operated in the City and County of San Francisco and elsewhere, and whose activities affected other parts of the United States. The members of CKT primarily conducted their activities in the Bay Area, centered in the cities of San Francisco and Oakland.”
Yee, along with these mobsters, are charged on the following counts:
- Conspiracy to Conduct the Affairs of an Enterprise Through a Pattern of Racketeering Activity
- Money Laundering
- Dealing Firearms Without a License
- Illegal Importation of Firearms
- Felon in Possession of Firearm
- Manufacture and Possession with Intent to Distribute Narcotics
- Narcotics Conspiracy
- Possession of Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking Crime
- Trafficking in Contraband Cigarettes
- Murder for Hire
- Conspiracy to Obtain Property Under Color of Official Right
- Honest Services Conspiracy
- Honest Services Fraud
- Aiding and Abetting
So, how does the California State Athletic Commission, the Department of Consumer Affairs, and Andy Foster fit into the picture?
The 148-page indictment, which can be read online at The Los Angeles Time web site, lays out all the allegations in grizzly detail. One of the allegations involves Yee and his fundraiser Keith Jackson supposedly extorting money from two different individuals who were trying to get the state Senate to vote on a bill to extend the life of the California State Athletic Commission rather than closing it down and moving everything into hidden DCA control.
The state senate’s Sunset Bill, SB-309 by Senator Ted Lieu, is also linked in the state Legislature by Assembly Bill 1186. AB 1186 is a bill by Susan Bonilla on kid’s pankration. Essentially, the sunset bill and the kid’s pankration bills are joined at the hip and would press forward with survival in keeping the Athletic Commission the way it currently is.
According to the superseding indictment updated last week in the US District Court of Northern California, case number 14-00196-CRB, “…defendants [California State Senator Leland] Yee and [consultant Keith] Jackson engaged in criminal activity, including wire fraud, honest services fraud, bribery, extortion, trafficking in firearms, and money laundering.”
Included in those allegations is the bombshell:
“Extorting individuals related to the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) and the Mixed Martial Arts industry regarding retaining the existence of the CSAC and its ability to regulate certain sports in California.”
“Extorting individuals and professional sports teams related to the passes of legislation governing the ability of professional athletes to collect workers’ compensation for injuries in California.”
The latter is about Yee allegedly extorting someone regarding the lobbying that was taking place by NFL football players who wanted worker’s comp protections for players who compete in games in California. That, in the end, got spiked.
The former allegation is just as explosive. To add context to the indictment, Andy Foster became the Executive Officer of the Athletic Commission in November of 2012. He spent the next six months preventing the Athletic Commission from getting sunsetted and lobbied at the capitol in Sacramento with politicians & lobbyists to ensure that the state senate voted the right way.
Here comes last week’s indictment stating the following:
“On or about March 2, 2013, Yee and Jackson had a conversation by telephone. Yee explained about the California State Athletic Commission and a pending Senate bill, SB-309, to Jackson and told Jackson that Yee was on the Senate Committee that would be voting on whether to keep the CSAC or “just trash it.” Yee told Jackson that he spoke to an individual who had an interest in extending the existence of the CSAC and “did a number” on that person. Yee said that he told Individual A that Yee intended to shut down the CSAC, but Individual A should hire Jackson to lobby Yee to vote to extend the CSAC. Jackson subsequently spoke to Individual A, who said he was fearful that Yee was going to vote against extending the life of the CSAC. Jackson told Individual A that he was willing to help, but would have to be paid.
Question 1: Is Individual A named in the indictment Andy Foster? If not, is Individual A someone from Consumer Affairs management? If so, will Individual A have to appear at Yee’s show trial as a witness?
“On or about March 3, 2013, Yee instructed Jackson during a telephone call to tell Individual A that convincing Yee to vote in favor of the CSAC extension was going to be a “heavy lift” and Jackson could not be expected to do the work of lobbying Yee for free.
Question 2: Did Individual A allegedly pay Yee’s consultant Keith Jackson with personal funds, Athletic Commission budget funds, DCA funds, or funds from a lobbyist involved in combat sports?
“On or about March 6, 2013, Jackson met with Individual A and an Individual B who had an interest in extending the term of the CSAC. Individual B was concerned about whether SB-309 [sunset bill] was going to pass and knew that Yee had influence over that decision. During the meeting, Individual B learned that Jackson was a close associate of Yee and that Yee was running for Secretary of State.”
Question 3: Is Individual B in any related, as a lobbyist or employee, to the UFC or DCA? Does Individual B have any connection to John McCarthy or Andy Foster?
“On or about April 29, 2013, the California Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee held a hearing and vote on SB-309. Yee voted in favor of SB-309 and extending the term of the CSAC. The full vote by the Senate on SB-309 did not take place until September 2013.”
Question 4: How much money was allegedly paid by Individuals A & B to Leland Yee and Keith Jackson? Did the Chinatown mobsters receive any supposed kickbacks? Were the mobsters aware of the supposed extortion of the Athletic Commission? If so, what interests did they have in being involved? Was it about a one-time bribe or was it about obtaining control over promoters and regulators to gamble on or fix fights?
Suddenly, that August 11th CSAC meeting in Los Angeles has become a whole lot more interesting. How will DCA react to the Athletic Commission being allegedly extorted by some of the most powerful political & criminal forces in California? Were other politicians involved in bribes and kickbacks in regards to the sunset bill for the athletic commission? Did the millions of dollars in both the boxer’s pension and neurological funds look enticing to criminal elements who wanted to get their hooks into those bank accounts?
What will Andy Foster do now? Will he stay in California? Will he be a witness against Yee & the Chinatown mobsters in the big show trial? What about his health & safety from future threats?
What about the athletic inspectors and officials working events? How can they be protected from threats by criminal elements who may attempt to bribe them or threaten physical violence if a fight isn’t scored the way they want it to be scored?