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Sonoma man pays $500,000 to settle corruption probe

Darius Anderson (2006 photo from The Sacramento Bee)

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.

The Bee reported:

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





10 Responses to “Sonoma man pays $500,000 to settle corruption probe”

  1. Jake says:

    Bump.
    Hey! Lookie here! The new owner of the Press Democrat!
    Can’t wait to see how the editorial staff spin this one.

    “we have been given full editorial and journalistic freedom”

    …right. Until it might cost you your job.

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  2. This payment might not be the end of Anerdson’s problems. According to recent reports, Anderson has been subpoenaed by Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office in connection with Gold Bridge Capital, a San Francisco placement agent that helped several which had helped investment firms get over $250 million in CalPERS deals. CalPERS is the CA state pension fund.

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  3. Here are just a few of my sources. This is my hobby.

    1. National Legal and Policy Center – Organized Labor Accountability Center, April 30, 2007, Volume 10, Issue 9 http://www.nlpc.org/view.asp?action=viewArticle&aid=1974

    2. “Susan Kennedy: Wielding power behind the scenes”, SF Chronicle http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2001/11/04/MN50594.DTL&hw=Susan+Kennedy+Jane+Fonda&sn=001&sc=1000

    3. “Conan the Appeaser”, Monday, December 19, 2005, Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal http://www.stopsusankennedy.com/editorials/20051219/

    4.www.arnoldwatch.org/blogs/blogs_000829.php3

    5. “Conflicting Interests”. Cal Law, May 15, 2002

    6. CA Secretary of State website,
    http://cal-access.sos.ca.gov/Lobbying/Employers/Detail.aspx?id=1272602&session=2009&view=activity

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  4. Kai Ote says:

    As usual Marilee Montgomery has most of her facts wrong. No wonder she’s having such a terrible time getting people to oppose the proposed casino in Rohnert Park.Most of us here in Rohnert Park find her opinions and letters to the editors really hilarious, Especially her comments above about Darious Andereson. Sounds like she needs a hobby.

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  5. Miguel M. says:

    In New York the Attorney General actually investigates corruption when public officals are getting paid off. Maybe that should be a question for the two candidates for Sonoma County DA. What kind of investigation or action do they think is appropriate when a Water Agency is doing the paying?

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  6. Cheryl F. says:

    Right after reading this article, I went directly to the website for Platinum Advisors to see the list of clients. VERY telling!

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  7. Rachel says:

    Has he ever worked for the Sonoma County Water Agency? This has got to make Michael Allen very, very nervous.

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  8. Kristine Burk says:

    Darius Anderson is smart, nice and successful. I hope that this arrangement closes this unfortunate chapter so that he can focus on projects and charitable works that benefit the Northern California community.

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  9. Carolyn says:

    Having gone to High School with Darius in the early 80′s I can say that he grew up in Marin County, not Sonoma. Interesting article!!

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  10. Darius Anderson has a long history of shady goings on and back-room deals, but locally, he is infamous for being one of the original architects of the Graton Rancheria casino. Back then, he employed Sen. Barbara Boxer’s son Doug at the very point in time when Boxer was pushing the Graton Rancheria Restoration Act through the Senate with gambling rights, which Graton had waived, built back into the bill. Coincidence? Please!

    In 2003, Kenwood boasted Dem. powerplayer Chris Lahane along with perennial local agency head Stewart Sunshine and of course, Doug Boxer. The group optioned 1700 acres of Bay-front land which it wanted to sell to Graton for its casino.

    For a number of years, one of Anderson’s clients at his lobbying firm has been Station Casinos, Inc., Graton Rancheria’s casino partners. Station Casinos most recently lobbied against Assem.member Jared Huffman’s attempts to give communities the right to advisory vote on tribal casino projects.

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