Monday, July 21, 2008

Chron: Perata FBI Probe Focuses on Crony Ron Cowan

By Chris Thompson
Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 7:34 AM

Looks like the Express isn't the only paper to hear that the FBI may finally indict state Senator Don Perata. This morning, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the feds have focused their Perata investigation on his longtime friend, Alameda developer Ron Cowan, and lobbying efforts around the construction of a road linking the Oakland airport to a business park owned by Cowan. Construction of the road, which was financed by millions in local tax dollars but doesn't appear to have any significant public benefit, appeared to have stalled when the Federal Aviation Administration requested an environmental clearance. Perata allegedly asked former state Senate President John Burton which lobbyists to hire, and then conveyed that advice to the Port of Oakland and other agencies involved in the construction. These agencies paid lobbyist Dawson Mathis $135,000. So did Mathis kick a little cash back to Burton? And did Burton share some of the kitty with Perata? These are the sorts of questions the FBI appear to be asking. But you already know this, since you're read this excellent investigative report by Robert Gammon and Will Harper. The federal probe is due to expire in a few months, so we'll soon know if The Don will be in the dock or not.

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