New Round of Clawing in GOP Board of Equalization Cat Fight
Below is the latest campaign email from Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, a Dana Point Republican, vying with Sen. Mark Wyland, an Escondido Republican, for a seat on the state Board of Equalization.
A key element of Wyland’s campaign has been the bankruptcy of Point Center Financial — a firm run by Harkey’s husband, Dan. Wyland’s choice of issues doesn’t sit well with the termed out Orange County Assemblywoman:
Wyland was first to bare claws with this “Taxpayers for Wyland Board of Equalization” email blast in August:
State Legislator and candidate for Board of Equalization, Diane Harkey’s husband found guilty of acting with “malice, oppression, or fraud”, elder abuse, breach of contract, breach of duty to victims of investment scam.
Here’s a brief July 16 write-up of the verdict in Dan Harkey’s case from the Orange County Weekly:
“Assemblywoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) was removed from the Point Center Financial (PCF) fraud case last month but her family still suffered mighty blows Thursday and Friday.
“First, after a four-month trial, the jury found PCF CEO Dan Harkey, Diane’s husband, guilty of breaching his “fiduciary obligation” to his investment clients with “malice, fraud and oppression.”
“Then, a day after ordering Harkey to pay $4.5 million, the jury indicated it will more than double the award for other reasons. Total tab: $11.6 million.
“Among the charges Harkey was found guilty of were 11 counts of elder abuse because he preyed on older people to invest their life savings of $50,000 to $3 million each in various PCF programs tied to commercial real estate projects, many of which went bust.
“Harkey was sued for using “slick print ads and direct mailings, carefully crafted public offering circulars, sophisticated marketing materials and well choreographed ‘invitation only’ seminars to appeal to the potential investors and eventually gain their trust.”
“Dan Harkey was accused of collecting “huge and unlawful” fees and loaning money to borrowers who were “poor credit risks,” initially hiding what was characterized as a Ponzi-type scheme by paying old investors with new investment monies.
“Diane Harkey, who has cited her business acumen at PCF and other companies while running for office, was initially sued because some builder-borrowers of projects that later collapsed had contributed thousands of dollars to her political campaigns. A judge severed her from the case in June.”
Harkey sued Wyland for defamation one month later, asking for $5 million in damages. That prompted this Sept. 16 post from the redoubtable Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle.
This is what the website of the Board of Equalization says the 134-year-old five-member body does:
“California’s State Board of Equalization collects taxes and fees that provide approximately 33 percent of the annual revenue for state government and essential funding for counties, cities, and special districts. In fiscal year 2011-12, board administered taxes and fees produced $52.5 billion for education, public safety, transportation, housing, health services, social services and natural resource management.
“The board administers the state’s sales and use, fuel, alcohol, tobacco and other taxes and collects fees that fund specific state programs. More than 1 million businesses are registered with the agency.
“In addition to administering key revenue programs, the board plays a significant role in California property tax assessment and administration. It also acts as the appellate body for corporate franchise and personal income tax appeals.”
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