Tainted Contributions to Shea & Choi’s Campaign?

On Friday, we posted a link to a story by OC Weekly’s Matt Coker on how a contributor to the No on R campaign that’s backed by Christina Shea, Steven Choi and Pat Rodgers was involved in a fraud campaign.  Enterprise Co. of Santa Ana gave $4,000 to the No on R effort.  Coker’s story suggests the company has ties to organized crime.

Now word that both Shea and Choi received financial contributions for their mayoral and city council election campaigns from another donor involved in a fraud case.  Coker again breaks the story on OC Weekly’s Naval Gazing blog.

From Matt’s story:

Two committees, Friends of Steven Choi ’08 and Christina Shea for Mayor ’08, received the individual contribution limit of $410 apiece from the Colton Co. of Irvine. Owner David Alan Colton also gave John McCain‘s presidential campaign $2,300 during the same election cycle.

Colton has built big office towers around Irvine and John Wayne Airport for years. But the decade of the 1990s was not kind to the Irvine-based developer. His old company, Colton Financial, forfeited its license to sell securities in 1993 after getting caught up in one of Orange County’s costliest real estate scams. ***About 5,000 investors lost $89 million – for many, their life savings — in the collapse of Anaheim Hills-based Hill Williams Development Corp., which Colton Financial had promoted.****

As a result, Colton and his private company were named as defendants in a half dozen lawsuits tied to what government prosecutors called a Ponzi scheme. Colton admitted no wrongdoing, and Hill Williams’ owner Donald Hill Williams Jr. pleaded guilty in 1998.

But that did not stop the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from investigating Colton. After he was ordered to pay a $34 million fraud judgment, the SEC probed Colton for possible violations of securities registration and disclosure laws. A suit filed in 1999 accused him of fraudulently shifting his assets, including $4 million in ill-gotten profits, to his wife and several real estate companies after it became clear that Hill Williams was starting to unravel.

So what does this say about the judgement of Shea and Choi?  What sort of dubious chracters are they hanging around with and what sort of quid pro quo will be required should Shea and Choi prevail in tomorrow’s election?



  1. Never said you weren’t; Coker rocks. Nice to see the other side’s dirty laundry reported. The Register never ran a print edition story on the Smith/Rodgers lawsuit against the City being dismissed. Online story only. It makes you think they have a vested interest in ousting the Irvine progressive council majority.

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