Matier and Ross lifted the covers on a potential conflict of interest within the Coliseum Authority in today’s Chronicle. According to the report, a campaign for a cigarette tax headed by former State Senate President and recent Oakland mayoral candidate Don Perata paid $37,500 to Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente. IDLF would then rally support for the initiative, Proposition 29, on this June’s ballot.
The conflict of interest could come from both men’s roles in relation to the Coliseum Authority. IDLF is on the Authority board, which will decide on a vendor for a new 10-year management contract for the complex. Perata is a lobbyist for SMG, the incumbent operator and one of three bidders for the next contract.
Naturally, both Perata and protege De La Fuente deny that there’s any conflict. Whether you think that these types of transactions can be properly siloed or were done deliberately to hide the details from the public, it looks at least a little suspect. Both pols are grizzled veterans and have been associated with shady Oakland dealings in the past including the Mt. Davis deal, so it’s not as if there’s no history there. To keep things from blowing up, it would be best if IDLF recused himself from voting on the matter. Or he could return that money.
A contract to manage the Coliseum complex is peanuts compared to the potential of Coliseum City. If there’s something to this conflict of interest allegation, god knows how corrupt the Coliseum City deal could be.