So, Mayor Sam Abed is going to Washington to meet with Trump as a reward for Abed’s fight against California’s AB 54 the so-called sanctuary state law. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/politics/sd-no-white-house-20180510-story.html I wrote about Abed’s position in my last blog: https://ablueviewescondido.com/2018/04/11/ego-hubris-and-the-curious-amicus-curiae/ Well, Abed and Trump have quite a bit in common, especially their factually-challenged views on immigrants.
Trump is the first President in the current era, not to put all his holdings in a blind trust, or to publish his tax returns. As The Economist reported as early as July, 2017, the room rates of Trump’s hotels in the USA were increased as much as 40% after his election. https://www.economist.com/news/business/21725303-six-months-mr-trumps-conflicts-interest-look-even-worse-how-donald-trump-monetising
After Trump secured the Republican nomination, the number of buyers of Trump properties that were limited liability companies (that allow the actual purchasers to hide their names) jumped from 4% to nearly 70%. The profits from the sale of those properties goes to a trust that is managed by Trump’s sons, but, as sole beneficiary of the trust, Trump can take money from the trust any time he cares to. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/06/13/trump-property-buyers-make-clear-shift-secretive-llcs/102399558/ So, Trump is receiving unknown sums from who knows who. The public has no access or knowledge of what sort of back room deals are being made by Trump, or with whom they are made.
In the last few weeks we have learned that large companies like Novartis and AT&T paid large sums to Trump’s sort-of attorney Michael Cohen to—well we’re not sure why. But, it’s pretty obvious that it wasn’t for Cohen’s legal knowledge of drug or communication laws. The Cohen story has more turns than the old Grapevine road from L.A. through the Tehachapi Mountains. The Washington Post has put out a pretty good summary of the Cohen debacle so far: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/05/10/a-taxonomy-of-michael-cohen-and-potential-trump-corruption/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0319ca68ec93 . Every day seems to bring a new revelation about the financial benefits Trump is reaping from his position.
Abed is not in Trump’s league when it comes to financial gain from his office, but he’s all for it. Shortly after becoming Mayor, Abed started a firm, Pacific West Consulting, a “public relations firm [that] specializes in how to describe a project to elected officials and the media.” http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/growth-development/sdut-escondido-mayor-sam-abed-development-firm-2013mar04-story.html Abed maintains that he never advises a developer client about any project that must be approved by Escondido. And that is probably true. But that doesn’t stop him from advising a developer about a project in another city or the unincorporated county, establishing a strong relationship with that developer, then voting on another project the same developer does want to build in Escondido. Nor, from voting on and approving projects that are represented by lawyer Dave Ferguson, whom Abed has advertised as part of his network for Pacific West Consulting. Abed’s actions are not illegal, but they don’t pass my morality sniff test.
I have written about the generosity of Abed and his colleagues in reducing the developer impact fees that would cover the drainage and traffic deficiencies in the North Broadway area, from $17,000 to $12,500. https://ablueviewescondido.com/2015/04/25/the-zenner-project-and-allocation-of-community-development-funds/ That generosity would appear to have been rewarded by campaign contributions, half before the vote on the project, half after. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/watchdog/sdut-escondido-abed-masson-campaign-donations-stir-2014feb16-story.html Abed may not have a Cohen working for him, but he’s doing okay on his own.