A high-powered lobbyist who lives in the Sonoma Valley and his Sacramento firm have agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a corruption probe launched by the New York attorney general.
Sonoma resident Darius Anderson and his firm, Platinum Advisors, agreed to the settlement without admitting or denying any wrongdoing, according to a report published by The Sacramento Bee.
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced the settlement Thursday. He is overseeing a three-year investigation into allegations that private-equity firms and hedge funds paid off officials to win investments from New York’s state pension fund.
Anderson operates a placement agent firm – a company that’s hired by private
equity firms to obtain investments from public pension funds. That firm, Gold
Bridge Capital, has earned more than $1 million in commissions from deals at
CalPERS, for instance.
Six people have pleaded guilty and 13 companies have agreed to settlements with the government that would recover more than $130 million, The Washington Post reported. Fifteen investment companies have agreed to a new code of conduct in dealing with public pension funds.
Anderson was raised in Sonoma County and maintains a home in Sonoma. He got a springboard job into politics the mid-1980s as an intern for Congressman Doug Bosco. But his rapid rise in politics came after he moved to Southern California in the early 1990s.
He became a top aide to Ron Burkle, a billionaire supermarket mogul and Democratic campaign donor who frequently golfed with President Clinton.
When Gray Davis ran for California governor in 1998, Anderson joined the campaign as his chief fund-raiser. After organizing inaugural festivities for the new governor, Anderson opened Platinum Advisors, which quickly became one of the biggest lobbying firms in Sacramento, claiming clients such as AT&T, PG&E, Sutter Health and United Parcel Service.
Platinum Advisors also serves as a consultant for Station Casinos, the Las Vegas gaming company that bankrolled plans by the Graton Rancheria to build a casino in Rohnert Park.
In 2006, Anderson attempted to buy the Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa in Lake County and build a casino at the resort. The deal fell apart in 2007.
He has also been involved in a massive project to overhaul Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay and the Docks project near Old Sacramento, The Bee reported.
His lavish parties at a hilltop property he owned in Kenwood drew the biggest names in California politics to chomp Cuban cigars, sip fine wine and dance to live bands. Neighbors complained about the noise and Sonoma County planning officials warned Anderson in 2004 that the events violated county code and could be shut down.
Anderson fired back by filing a lawsuit against one of his neighbors, saying she invaded his privacy and humiliated him in front of guests.
- Ted Appel
Watch Sonoma County