A Union Made in Political Heaven

A labor boss in trouble with the feds joins a high-powered Democratic lobbyist to merge Konocti Resort with Indian gaming

In researching the proposal Mellen also contacted Chuck Doty, until recently executive director of the Lake County Business Outreach and Response team.

"Is this a real deal, or a make-believe scheme to make the Department of Labor believe there is a value to this property that doesn't exist?" asked Schmit, in reference to her conversation with Mellen. "Mr. Anderson is clearly well connected. So it's not to say he couldn't make some of this happen, because obviously some of this is really political. But there are process issues that are real stumbling blocks."

Anderson representative Jay Wallace has been meeting with Lake County officials about possibly rezoning the Local 38 property, said Rob Brown, a Lake County supervisor.

"The threat of a casino coming in, that concerns us," said Brown, adding that he may circulate a petition opposing the casino idea.

Such stumbling blocks could clear if the right politician ran interference, however.

Jay Wallace, who managed Nancy Pelosi's first campaign for the House of Representatives in 1987, is on the mastheads of Anderson's investment and lobbying firms. Lately Wallace has been in Lake County schmoozing local officials. A call to Anderson and Wallace's firm wasn't returned by press time.

Doug Boxer, son of Sen. Barbara Boxer, worked for Anderson's Kenwood Investments during the early 2000s, when his mother wrote legislation restoring federal recognition to the Coast Miwok and the Southern Sonoma County Pomo tribes, thus enabling a Kenwood-backed, Vegas-style casino in Sonoma County.

Anderson himself is a true A-list political insider. He's been the on-the-ground man for billionaire Democratic Party backer and Bill Clinton pal Ron Burkle. He reportedly takes vacations with Susan Kennedy, Arnold Schwarzenegger's chief of staff. He counts Dianne Feinstein as his mentor. If anyone could be counted on to tempt the newly enthroned Democratic Party congressional leaders to veer from their newfound ethical path, it would be Darius Anderson.

For their sake, and for the sake of the federal sleuths probing why Larry Mazzola flushed away $36 million of his union members' pensions, I hope Anderson fails.

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