Poorly Rehabilitated Felon Cherry-Picks Facts to Slam Major Democratic Donor and Assembly Candidate Simona Farrise


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Farrise for Assembly banner, with Kimbrew cheap shot

Simona Farrise, at right,is fabulously qualified for Assembly. Autumn Burke has a famous Mom. Ex-con and political hatchet man Basil Kimbrough knows which one HE’D prefer to try to influence in Sacramento!

1. An E-Mail List for Hire

Convicted embezzler of public funds, nominal Democrat, and mailing-list-wielding political shakedown artist Basil Kimbrew has gone way, way too far this time.  (That’s a change from his normal conduct as a paid political hit man — where he usually only goes way too far.)  He has slimed one of the best progressive Democrats around — an African American woman, it so happens — to make a stupid and dishonest point.  And I have gotten to the point where I’m just not going to put up with it anymore.  (Go ahead, Basil Kimbrew — endorse Anthony Rackauckas on your dishonest e-mails.  Judging from your endorsements of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson (husband of devoted enemy of teacher’s unions Michelle Rhee); Republican Diane Harkey for Board of Equalization seat 4; non-endorsed Sudden Democrat Karina Onofre and her fiance Sudden Democrat Mike Dalati; Republican Bob Dutton — Rackauckas seems like he’s more your type.)

Kimbrew sends his views (apparently, mostly for hire) to his e-mail list of supposedly 20.1 million voters that was called the Friends of the African American Caucus until this year its name suddenly changed to the Friends of the African American Publication. (The illegitimate name-claiming affiliation with the California Democratic Party Af-Am Caucus remains on its graphic, though.)  Kimbrew is one of those types who endorses lots of popular Democrats — and then mixes in conservatives and Republicans to fool Democrats into lumping them into the same palatable category.  He famously went vicious loco against Betty Yee this year when she decided that she didn’t want to play his extortionate game in her race for State Controller — and so Kimbrew came out hard for John Perez.

2. Kimbrew Supports Pleasant But Inexperienced Autumn Burke in AD-62

Kimbrew has, among other things, been pushing the 62nd Assembly District candidacy of  self-declared “small businesswoman” Autumn Burke, whose sole apparent actual qualification for office is being is the daughter of former Los Angeles Democratic political trailblazer Yvonne Brathwaite Burke.  Seriously, her biography shows no indication that she’s done much of anything professionally except sitting on some non-profit boards.

AutumnBurke

As an entrepreneur and small business owner, Autumn knows that good jobs, safe and affordable housing and quality schools are vital to every community. She will be an active problem solver who will fight for the interests of the people she represents, whether encouraging more businesses to locate and hire locally, improving conditions that can help small businesses succeed, increasing the availability of affordable housing or advancing the needs of local schools.

Autumn currently owns Mandeville Group, LLC, a professional consulting firm that offers business development, community outreach and energy efficiency consulting services. Previously, she was an award winning real estate agent at Keller Williams and has held senior positions with LA Events and the Los Angeles Marathon.

As the youngest daughter of parents who made their mark in business and government, Autumn learned at an early age the importance of hard work, integrity and the value of serving one’s community. Throughout her career, she has been active in a range of community initiatives.

Today, Autumn serves as a committee member on Count Me In for Women, an organization that promotes the growth of women-owned businesses. She is also a board member of the Yvonne Burke Education Foundation, founded by her mother Yvonne Burke, a former Los Angeles County Supervisor and U.S. Congresswoman. The organization provides scholarships to increase higher education attainment among young people in Los Angeles County.

Autumn has also been a longstanding supporter of the Compton Jr. Posse, a program that provides at-risk youth with alternatives to the lure of gang and drug lifestyles. For more than 20 years, the Compton Jr. Posse has given inner city kids hope by teaming them with horses and giving them roles at the ranch that encourage responsibility and a greater sense of belonging.

Those are perfectly legitimate activities, especially if you’re the daughter of a famous mother who reaped bounteous goodwill, but they don’t really show off one’s stuff as a potential legislator.  From the vantage of people like Kimbrew, that may be her most important qualification — a hope that, in office, she would be politically manipulable.  (If Burke wins, I hope that she bites the hands that feed her — with the hope of this controlling her — often and hard.  But nothing in her history suggests that she has the mettle to do so.)

3. Kimbrew Opposes Impressive and Experienced Simona Farrise in AD-62

To promote Burke’s chances, Kimbrew has been trying for months to slam plaintiff’s attorney Simona Farrise, the biggest threat to Burke’s election.  He’s supposed to be a clever guy, so I presume that what he was showing with his ham-fisted punching today was his rising desperation.

First, he accused Farrise of trying to buy her way into office by, aside from contributing to her own campaign, purchasing a house within the district at what seems like a market price.  Uh … so?  (If Mimi Walters had been honest enough to buy a house in Irvine in 2012, that would have been a big improvement!)  Farrise earned the money she is spending as one of the state’s top plaintiff’s attorneys.  And her biography forms a stark contrast to Autumn Burke’s:

Simona Farrise is an accomplished attorney, small business owner, philanthropist, community activist, wife and mother. After establishing herself as among the top consumer lawyers in the country, practicing law for more than twenty years, and volunteering for and contributing to countless community initiatives and campaigns, Ms. Farrise has decided to seek the open Assembly seat in California’s 62nd district.

Farrise_Head_shotIn 2007, Simona Farrise founded the Farrise Firm, P.C. The firm was started in California with offices in San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Illinois. The Firm’s mission is focused on assisting those in the community without a voice — those injured by corporate polluters, working men and women who have been severely injured, harassed or discriminated against at work, aiding those who have been injured or killed by negligence of others, and ensuring that access to justice is available to all.

As an active member of her community, Ms. Farrise has given her time and talents to dozens of organizations including: ERA (Equal Rights Advocates, Board Member), Impact Fund, Legal Aid, Park Day School (Board Chair and Member of the Board), Julia Morgan School for Girls (Board Member), California Rural Legal Assistance, National Action Network, Girls, Inc., Boys and Girls Club of Venice, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights (Member), Dream Foundation, ADAO (Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization), 2nd Harvest, Lake View Pantry, Red Cross, Rotary International, Women’s Law Clinic and the Santa Barbara Firefighters. She has tutored illiterate adults, served as a pre-school “classroom helper” and traveled to Broward County, Florida in 2012 to fight against voter suppression efforts in minority communities.

In 2011, Newsweek Magazine featured Simona Farrise as one of the “Top Attorneys in the Country” and she was selected to be included in the Los Angeles Times’ “Women Leaders in the Law” in 2013. Also in 2013, Golden Gate University School of Law awarded Ms. Farrise with the first “Award for Alumni Distinction in the Field of Litigation”. That same year, the California Association of Black Lawyers named her the “Trial Lawyer of the Year” and she was similarly recognized by the Consumer Attorneys of California Women’s Caucus in 2008. In 2009, she was nominated as the “Street Fighter of the Year” by CAOC.

A tireless fighter for all families, Simona Farrise received the Progressive Leadership Award from the Equal Justice Society and was honored by A New Way of Life Re-Entry Program with their “Movement Builder Award” in 2013.

Ms. Farrise is known across the state as an advocate for working families, the disadvantaged, children, seniors, veterans, the LGBT community, the rights of free speech, and for equal justice for all. The daughter of a Teamster and a transit worker, Farrise grew up on the south side of Chicago and worked to put herself through college at night, earning a B.A. in accounting from DePaul University, and then to attend law school. She has a J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law and an LL.M in Social Justice from the University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law.

Simona Farrise lives in Los Angeles, near LAX with her three children and her husband Kim.

I’m sorry, but there’s no comparison between those two bios.  Farrise might not be preferable to Yvonne Burke herself, but Yvonne Burke is not on the ballot.

4. Possibly the Stupidest and Most Vile Political Attack of the Month

Attacking Farrise for being successful and competent enough to both fund and fight her own battles was just the appetizer.  Kimbrew then went after her, with a large graphic and about 150 words of text, for her making ONE $500 contribution to a Republican.  Literally … one.  Here’s the text:

[F]inancing elections isn’t a new thing for Simona Farrise.

She’s helped bankroll the last two campaigns for uber-conservative Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

Who is Senator Lindsey Graham again?

This is a man who recently voted to cut over 2 million struggling families off of unemployment and SNAP benefits. Lindsey Graham was the guy who voted to stop affirmative action for college admissions. He also voted time and time again to keep taxes low on millionaires and billionaires like Simona Farrise. And when it comes to keeping guns out of our communities, he always votes the NRA way!

And just what did Simona Farrise say when confronted with the fact that she gave money to help a man like Lindsey Graham continue representing for the one percent? She called it “pocket change”.

So, if you think we’d be better off making Southern California just like South Carolina – by all means vote for Simona Farrise.

Basil Kimbrew
California Friends of the African American Publication, Chair
Political Consultant
Second Chance Group
California Democratic Voter Guide
Army Veteran
International Political Chef
Alpha Phi Alpha
Le Cordon Bleu, Graduate

There is about one sentence worth of truth relevant to Simona Farrise there: the first one.  It’s true that Farrise isn’t new at donating to political elections.  (Autumn Burke, by contrast, is.  And Kimbrew has done nothing with federal elections.)  I presume that she gave $500 to Lindsey Graham because — hold onto your hats! – there are politicians in South Carolina far worse than Lindsey Graham, and Graham had a real serious chance at being defeated by a radical right-wing candidate at the time that she donated.  It was only his ability to quickly assemble a large war chest that help off a Tea Party challenge.  And while Graham has been taking some really obnoxious positions lately, most Democrats are happier to see him in office from a state that will not elect a Democrat this year than we would be to see another Senator Ted Cruz.

That was my theory when I started writing this piece.  The truth, I now think, is even kinder to Farrise.

5. A Major, Sophisticated, Reliable, Dedicated, Progressive Democratic Donor

But just as we have to look at Basil Kimbrew’s embezzlement of public funds in a broader context — say, in the context of his brazenly violating parole upon leaving prison and then being sent back there (which means that his consulting group really ought to be named “Third Chance”) — we Democrats have to view this sole tactical contribution to a Republican Senator in a broader context.  So here we go.

Farrise has contributed to politicians and groups including: Sen. Barbara Boxer ($200 + $1000), the DCCC ($30,800 + $20,000 +$1500), the DSCC ($5000 + $2500 + $1000 + $500), the DNC ($5000 + $5000 + $5000 + $2500 + $1000 + $1000), Obama 2008 ($2100), Obama 2012 [both candidate and PACs] ($10,000 + $5000 + $5000 + $5000 + $2500 + $2500 + $2500 + $1000 + $1000 + $1000 + $1000 + $1000 + $1000 + $1000), Rep. Lois Capps [both candidate and PACs] ($2500 + $2500 + $1000 + $1000 + $1000 + $1000 + $1000 + $1000 + $1000 + $1000), Sen. Mark Udall ($714), Sen. Al Franken ($714), Rep. Janice Hahn ($100), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen ($714), Sen. Mark Begich ($714), Sen. Ed Markey ($500), Rep. John Conyers ($1000), Sen. Richard Blumenthal ($1000), Sen. Chris Coons ($212), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse ($1000), Sen. Harry Reid ($600 + $500), Rep. Barbara Lee ($2600 + $2100 + $2100 + $2100 + $275), Rep. Julia Brownley ($250), the American Association For Justice Political Action Committee (around $6600) and thousands and thousands to Democratic Senate candidates that didn’t make it, like Kendrick Meek of Florida and Roxanne Conlin of Arkansas.

Based on my years of experience in politics, and looking at this list of progressive candidates with a chance to win, I can tell you EXACTLY who and what Simona Farrise has been within the Democratic Party – a reliable donor whom party officials can call up when they need someone to make a truly needed donation in exactly the right place.  And I’ll bet that, without ever having spoken to her about the matter, I can tell you EXACTLY how that contribution to Lindsey Graham came about: SOMEONE FROM THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY PROBABLY CALLED HER UP AND ASKED HER TO MAKE THIS DONATION — there are plenty of tradeoffs she wouldn’t even know about that could have led to that — and because they ASKED her to do it, she DID!

For BASIL KIMBREW to bring this up as part of a desperate attack on her just makes it that much harder for the party to access these big, reliable, and party-minded voters in the future, because of the fear that someone who puts personal interests over those of the party will dig it up and try to slam someone over the head with it.  HAS HE NO SHAME???

I’m prepared to post all of entries for donations by Simona Farrise to federal elections, as listed at fec.gov, if Basil Kimbrew really wants to see them.  If he wants to raise a ruckus, I’m prepared to post all of her contributions to California State and local races as well — as well as Autumn Burke’s and Kimbrew’s himself, if I can find any.

Basil Kimbrew has NO LEGITIMATE BASIS to criticize Simona Farrise over one political contribution — especially given her stellar overall record as a contributor — and especially one where she was likely just “taking a hit for the team.”  And if Autumn Burke has any shame at all — and any ability to make her own decisions in these matters — she will distance herself with great promptness and speed from Basil Kimbrew’s ludicrous and embarrassing attack on her opponent.

I’ll bet that former Congresswoman and LA County Supervisor Yvonne Burke would have easily passed that test — but then, of course, Autumn Burke is not her mother.  Not by a longshot.  Maybe she’ll be in her league someday — but not yet, and no time soon.

UPDATE 5/28

Poorly-rehabilitated felon Basil Kimbrew now accuses Simona Farrise of having been arrested for real estate fraud.  Close reading shows that this was in 1992.  And closer reading suggests that there’s no indication of her (or her husband) ever being convicted of anything related to the matter — unlike the situation with Kimbrew.  How irresponsible do you have to be to dredge up and trumpet such a story without telling people whether the charges HELD UP — as they did with Basil Kimbrew?  Here’s the piece:

Disclaimer: San Francisco Chronicle     

Simona Farrise: Arrested for Real Estate Fraud

Personal Injury Lawyer and candidate for California’s 62nd Assembly District, Simona Farrise, was reportedly arrested in connection with a 26-count felony real estate fraud scheme in the East Bay area of Northern California.

Records show Simona Farrise, who is also known by the aliases Simona Hunt, Simona A Farris, and Simona Morgan, has been listed in documents on over a dozen real estate transactions throughout the state of California over the last decade. A preliminary investigation values these transactions at over $15 million dollars.

Ms. Farrise entered the race to replace termed-out Assemblymember Steven Bradford in February of this year. Largely financing her campaign through loans to herself, Ms. Farrise reportedly moved into the district in December of 2013 after purchasing a home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Westchester for $1.3 million, paid for in cash by Ms. Farrise.

California has seen a recent spate of felony arrests against sitting members in the State Senate with three office holders currently on paid leave as they negotiate through various stages of their defense.

Charges against those elected officials run the gambit from voter fraud, public corruption, perjury, bribery scandals, pay to play legislation efforts, and international arms deals trading shoulder-fired missiles for campaign funding. This comes on the heels of a rough five years for Southern California local governments where small city officeholders enriched themselves through illegally inflated salaries and pensions at the expense of city services and municipal effectiveness.

Ms. Simona Farrise, booked in 1992 under the name Simona Hunt, was arrested as an accomplice in 17 of the felony counts related to the defrauding of 11 victims in various bogus real estate transactions including Emeryville City Councilwoman Nellie Hannon and her son.  Councilwoman Hannon now runs a shelter for the homeless and families in need.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle article “Real Estate Dealer Jailed in Oakland on Fraud Charges” (author Bill Wallace, 11/7/92), Farrise and her accomplice were booked in connection to charges of stealing property titles, passing bad checks to buy out unsuspecting property owners of their equity, making false and misleading statements, grand theft, and failing to comply with real estate transaction laws among other charges.

Also included were charges related to efforts by the duo to prey upon homeowners attempting to avoid foreclosure.  

The San Francisco Chronicle

NOVEMBER 7, 1992, SATURDAY, FINAL EDITION

Real Estate Dealer Jailed in Oakland On Fraud Charges

BYLINE: Bill Wallace, Michael Taylor, Chronicle East Bay

SECTION: NEWS; Pg. A14

LENGTH: 405 words

An East Bay real estate dealer who allegedly swindled former Emeryville City Councilwoman Nellie Hannon in a 1990 property transaction has been jailed in Oakland on a 27-count criminal complaint.

Mykael Allen Morgan, 36, a self- described ”foreclosure acquisition specialist,” was arrested Thursday by investigators from the Emeryville Police Department and the Alameda County district attorney’s office.

He is being held in Oakland city jail in lieu of $ 110,000 bail for investigation of 26 felonies and one misdemeanor stemming from his real estate deals.

Arrested Thursday as a co-defendant was Morgan’s wife, Simona Hunt. She was released on $ 20,000 bail later that day.

Authorities said privately that Hunt, who faces 17 felony counts, appeared to have acted primarily as an accessory in Morgan’s alleged crimes.

Morgan is tentatively scheduled to be arraigned in Oakland Municipal Court on Monday afternoon.

Morgan is accused of writing bad checks, violating state real estate laws and committing grand theft. The charges list 11 victims, including former City Councilwoman Hannon and her son, Joel.

According to the complaint, Morgan stole title to parcels of real estate owned by several of his victims, in some cases by paying them for their equity in the properties with bad checks.

He also is accused of selling securities without a state license, making false and misleading statements in his transactions and failing to comply with state laws governing real estate sales.

Sacramento County Municipal Court records show that Morgan was convicted there last year on misdemeanor fraud charges stemming from a 1989 transaction in which he persuaded a woman to invest $ 1,500 in a piece of real estate that he did not own. Morgan served 30 days in jail on the charge and remains on probation.

Court records show he had an earlier conviction on federal embezzlement charges in Los Angeles.

Morgan has been named in numerous lawsuits alleging questionable business practices, and he has been the target of tax liens in Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

Two Alameda County lawsuits accuse Morgan of taking advantage of victims’ ”precarious financial condition” to gain title to their houses when they were foreclosed. One of the suits was filed by Hannon, who claims Morgan arranged to purchase a home she owned in Emeryville in 1990 but used a bad check to pay her for her title to the property.

LANGUAGE: ENGLISH

Copyright 1992 The Chronicle Publishing Co.

When is Autumn Burke going to distance himself from this convicted liar, Mr. Kimbrew?


About Greg Diamond

Prolix worker's rights and government accountability attorney and General Counsel of CATER. His anti-corruption work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, leading them to work with the Democratic Party of Orange County Chair and other co-conspirators (who had long detested the internal oversight his presence provided) to remove him from the position of DPOC North Vice Chair of in violation of party rules and any semblance of due process. He also runs for office sometimes. Unless otherwise specifically stated, none of his writings prior to that lawless putsch ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. He tries to either suppress or openly acknowledge his partisan, issue, ideological, and "good government" biases in most of his writing here. If you have a question about any particular writing, just ask him about it and (unless you are an pseudonymous troll) he will probably answer you at painful length. He lives in Beautiful Bountiful Brea, but while he may brag about it he generally doesn't blog about it. A family member works as a campaign treasurer for candidates including Wendy Gabriella in AD-73; he doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. He does advise some campaigns informally and (except where noted) without compensation.