On Wednesday, Scott McKibben, now the former Executive Director of The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority and currently President Of The Oakland Panthers of The Indoor Football League, accepted a misdemeanor plea-bargain deal in the case where he was accused of violating a government law prohibiting self-dealing. The problem is, the case and the mainstream media reporting, masks a great deal of facts that, in total, show an organizational system beyond the control of McKibben, and where he was asked to be an actor in it, then burned by it.
Scott McKibben was accused of violating California Government Code Section 1090, which prohibits public officials and public employees from “making” public contracts in which they have a financial interest. The fact is, Scott was asked by the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority Board to secure a naming-rights marketing agreement with Ring Central. Scott was, contrary to the law, listed contractually as an independent consultant – just like the other marketing consulting firms the Coliseum JPA has hired over its existence, since its creation in 1996.
That Scott asked for, but did not receive, a $50,000 fee from a $4 million deal with Ring Central, should not have raised any eyebrows considering that the Coliseum JPA Board asked him to do the deal, he’s an independent contractor, and the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda at no point at all gave Scott any instructions regarding the law. Indeed, the persons who should have done that are Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker and Alameda County Counsel Donna Ziegler.
Moreover, the other persons who should have done that comprise the same Board of Directors of The Oakland Coliseum JPA, and many of whom are friends of mine, and should not have let Scott take a fall like that, and they know it. Folks like Alameda County Supervisors Scott Haggerty and Nate Miley, Oakland City Councilmembers Larry Reid and Loren Tayor, and JPA Commissioners Yui Hay Lee (famed Oakland architect), Ignacio De La Fuente (himself a former Oakland Councilmember), and Chris Dobbins (everyone’s favorite local lawyer), and Christine Smith, both who are no longer on the JPA Board.
And I add myself to that list, because, in 2019 for the NBA Finals Game 4, Scott gave me a ticket – way up in the damn rafters, but it was a ticket. When he invited me to visit the Coliseum JPA Box, my friend Chris was there, as was Barbara Parker, among others.
It’s no wonder that the law firm of Brown, White, and Osborn wrote “Government Code Section 1090, Prohibiting Conflicts of Interest, Is Now Even More of a Hazard For The Unwary.” (https://brownwhitelaw.com/government-code-section-1090-prohibiting-conflicts-of-interest-is-now-even-more-of-a-hazard-for-the-unwary/) Brown, White, and Osborn said:
“California Government Code Section 1090 (“Section 1090”) – which prohibits public officials and public employees from “making” public contracts in which they have a financial interest – is notoriously vague, broad, and malleable. Section 1090 provides that California’s elected and appointed public officials and public employees may not be “financially interested” in “any contract made by them in their official capacity. California courts have interpreted these terms broadly, making it dangerously easy to violate the statute without even knowing it. Most troublingly, Section 1090 does not require bad intent for a conviction or a fine. A public official, public agency, or employee may violate the statute if they act knowingly – that is, knowing about their financial interest and knowing what they are doing in connection with the contract – even if they don’t realize that their conduct is prohibited. In fact, because of that low general intent requirement, California courts have rejected the defense of “advice of counsel” or that they obtained prior approval from an attorney. In other words, a California official or employee might violate Section 1090 even if the public entity they work for, and its attorneys, told them that their conduct was lawful and not a violation of Section1090.
And in Scott McKibben’s case, no one told him about Section 1090 to start with. For Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley to seek to charge McKibben for a felony makes me wonder if her office was aware of how poorly the law was written and just decided to go ahead and go after Scott, anyway? And why? Well, to answer that question, read on.
The Warriors Playoffs And Coliseum Sports Ticket Distribution Scandal That Should Not Be, But Is
And in addition, the JPA Board was served by the Oakland Chief Administrator’s Office, and I attended a meeting where then Oakland Chief Administrator Sabrina Landreath served as the secretary for the meeting. But did you know Sabrina Landreath scored a Warriors playoff ticket valued at $5,000 in 2016? And did you know Yui Hay Lee was signed up for and received $35,000 in Warriors playoff tickets? And before you say Scott McKibben signed off on them, I instruct you to look online at the many Form 802 filings going back to 2016, because Councilmember Reid, and Yui Hay Lee signed off on some of them, too. http://oraclearena.s3.amazonaws.com/doc/OACCA-Form-802-May-2016-5576c104a9.pdf
And did you know Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker scored $840 worth of Oakland A’s tickets in 2016, as did my friend Coliseum JPA Commissioner Chris Dobbins? (And this is something Barbara Parker herself admits too, so there, but its wrong for some news media to blast Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney for the same perk that Barb Parker herself obviously enjoyed. Moreover, its wrong for Reid and Parker to make Scott McKibben look bad, when they could have defended him, and put him in the bad position to start with.)
Barbara Parker got $9,250 worth of Golden State Warriors regular season tickets for free, March 2016.
And I happened to randomly find that information about Yui Hay Lee in opening the link to the Form 802 page. I wasn’t going on a witch hunt against Yui Hay Lee (even though he did use part of my Oakland City Hall Plaza Design Concept I made at Skyline High School in 1979 for the actual plaza). I’m only demonstrating that the truth is the entire Coliseum JPA culture, and that of the City of Oakland and The County of Alameda, is to blame for what the Alameda County Coliseum District Attorney accused Scott of doing with respect to Ring Central. You can see all of the ticket request reports here: https://www.theoaklandarena.com/about-us/coliseum-authority/public-information
Now, I have long argued that the law should allow for public officials who run a giant sports complex should, to enjoy some small benefit of doing so, like occasionally scoring tickets to events – just don’t sell them. Look, how the heck is any official to see how their facility is managing a large sports event it that person can’t even attend the event? Logical, right?
Anyway, here’s a newsflash: doing that – getting sought-after-tickets – failed to become an big issue for years – or until The Golden State Warriors got real good at NBA Basketball. Prior to that, the Oakland Coliseum had not enjoyed a team that won so much, tickets to their playoff games were valued over gold.
Then, when Golden State became the daring of the NBA, those who did not score Warriors playoffs tickets and were somebodies, were railing over those who did – particularly public officials. Moreover, the public officials were getting seats so good that Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi wound up on national television during the 2016 NBA Finals.
And she too had an appetite for $8,650 worth of regular season Warriors tickets, all in March of 2016…
Then, while the Oakland Public Ethics Commission was formed in 1996, it did not became the new cultural tool for use against elected officials that the folks in control of it did not want to protect, until the last seven years. So, rather than defend themselves and explain the rationale for having tickets, the officials who were enjoying that ability to get tickets went into hiding.
And then had no problem trying to remove the one person they went to for tickets: Scott McKibben. Think about that. Rather than help their “ticket friend”, if you will, they stabbed him in the back, in my humble opinion.
The trouble with the mainstream media is its institutionally racist and when its not that, it’s myopic. One news organization was all too willing to try and take down Scott because some of its editors remember him from when he ran ANG Newspapers and they worked for him in the early 2000s. So, for them, making Scott look bad was a just reward for low pay they received as journalists, back then. Fact is, they did not tell you that, and it masks the truth I’m telling you. (And why I am a blogger and not a journalist.)
The real truth is that public governance in Oakland and in California has degenerated into a culture where someone is always looking to use poorly written California laws to take down someone else, for whatever reason. It chases away good people like Mr. McKibben, my friend who ran The Rose Bowl, and was the one reason the Oakland Coliseum managed to land rent agreements with the then-Oakland, now Las Vegas Raiders that put the organization in the black after years of red ink. And it covers up the truth: that when something like Warriors playoffs tickets are to be had, the culture will figure out a way for someone to land them, and then blast someone like Scott.
You know the saying that rules are made to be broken? Well, in California, the rules are made to be used against those set up by others to break them. The Coliseum JPA set Scott McKibben up to fail, and is the worst for it.
In Scott McKibben, the Coliseum JPA lost the best sports negotiator it ever had. And, starting in 1996 when I represented Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris as his Economic Advisor, I have worked with and advised to some extent all of them since 1996: Ezra Rapport, Denna McClain, Mark Kaufmann, Ann Haley, Doug Thornton, Denna McClain again, before Scott McKibben came in (and even though the original first choice was a former elected official who had zero experience in the business of sports).
Moreover, I defend Scott because he bailed out the City of Oakland’s 2005 Super Bowl Bid in May 10th of 2000. I was the head of the Super Bowl XXXIV Bidding Committee and Executive Director of the Oakland-Alameda County Sports Commission, which I formed in 1999. The NFL Commissioner had invited us to give a presentation at NFL Headquarters in New York. After showing up 20 minutes late, then-Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown left our meeting with then NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue early, and unexpectedly.
Thus, we were left with just Scott McKibben and two other board members from the Oakland-Alameda County Sports Commission to be there, in addition to me, as head of the meeting. At the other side of the room and for the NFL were Tagliabue, Executive Vice President Of Football Operations Roger Goodell, then-NFL Head of Special Events and Mr. Super Bowl Jim Steeg, and then-head of NFL Legal Derrick Haggens, Jennifer Gonsalez, and Sue Robichek. Scott spoke up for the Oakland / East Bay business community and saved our meeting with Paul. A good thing, because Tagliabue was fuming over Brown’s actions.
Just 10 days after that meeting, The NFL selected Oakland as one of three finalist cities (the other two Jacksonville and Miami) for the right to host the 2005 Super Bowl. As then-Oakland District One Councilmember Jane Brunner told me later that year “none of us gave you a chance.” Ultimately, we lost to Jacksonville.
On the way to that NFL meeting, I had to create the damn Oakland sports commission from scratch, and because then Oakland City Attorney Jane Williams had stood in Oakland City Administrator Robert Bobb’s way (as did McClain) with roadblocks explaining why Oakland could not even do a bid! On top of that, the Coliseum was managed by SMG and Sally Roach, who, with Deena McClain, famously told Mr. Bobb that a former employee of the Coliseum I was working because he was the architect, had stolen the facility’s drawings. Everyone believed them but me. As I told Bobb then, how can we operate the Coliseum without the drawings? The whole claim just smelled bad to me. So, I went on my own investigation and found the drawings (which we needed for our NFL Super Bowl Bid) via an engineer with HNTB in Marin County, Ca.. That same person then said “Sally Roach says you can’t have the drawings”! I hit the ceiling, called Robert Bobb, and Sally was removed from running the effort, and Bobb told her to work with me. I wanted her fired.
Point is, Oakland had many stories of people trying to stop other people from making government work for the people, and doing great things (take Phil Tagami, Insight Terminal Solutions, and the whole Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal coal issue, for example). Scott McKibben is the latest casualty in this.
Post script: The giant list of $139,013.50 worth of sports ticket issued by the Coliseum JPA and that (I was told by a source who does not wish to be named) claimed were approved by the Oakland City Attorney’s Office, but the docs show the Coliseum JPA did as well:
2016-137 events=$139,013.50 + ???
02/06/2016-Warriors v OKC=$1,100.00
02/09/2016-Warriors v Rockets=$1,100.00
02/14/2016-Charlie Wilson Concert=$75.00 x 4
03/01/2016-Warriors v Hawks= $700.00
03/03/2016-Warriors v OKC =$1,100.00
03/04/2016-Prince: Piano and a Microphone=$600.00 x 4= $2400.00
03/05/2016-Festival of Laughs Comedy Show=$93.00 x 4= $372.00
03/07/2016-Warriors v Orlando=$600.00
03/09/2016-Warriors v Jazz=$700.00
03/11/2016-Warrior v Portland=$600.00
03/12/2016-Warriors v Phoenix=$600.00
03/13/2016-Bruce Springsteen= $158.00 x 4= $632.00
03/14/2016-Warriors v New Orleans=$800.00
03/16/2016-Warrior v Knicks=$1,100.00
03/23/2016-Warriors v Clippers=$1,300.00
03/25/2016-Warriors v Mavericks=$700.00
03/26/2016-Andre Ward v. Sullivan Barrera=$105.00 x 4= $420.00
03/27/2016-Warriors v 76ers=$350.00
03/29/2016-Warrior v Wizards=$700.00
04/01/2016-Warriors v Celtics= $700.00
04/02/2016-Oakland A’s= $112.50
04/03/2016-Warriors v Portland=$500.00
04/04/2016-Oakland A’s= $100.00
04/05/2016-Oakland A’s= $80.00
04/05/2016-Warriors v T’wolves=$600.00
04/06/2016-Oakland A’s= $80.00
04/07/2016-Oakland A’s= $80.00
04/07/2016-Warriors v Spurs=$1,200.00
04/10/2016-Carrie Underwood Concert= $134.00 x 4=$536.00
04/11/2016-Oakland A’s= $80.00
04/12/2016-Oakland A’s= $80.00
04/13/2016-Oakland A’s= $80.00
04/13/2016-Warriors v Memphis=$650.00
04/15/2016-Oakland A’s= $80.00
04/16/2016-Oakland A’s= $80.00
04/16/2016-Warriors v Rockets (Game 1)=$5,000.00
04/17/2016-Oakland A’s= $90.00
04/18/2016-Warriors v Rockets (Game 2) )=$5,000.00
04/23/2016-The Class Reunion Concert= $75.00 x 4= $300.00
04/27/2016-Warriors v Rockets (Game 3) )=$5,000.00
04/29/2016-Oakland A’s= $80.00
04/30/2016-Oakland A’s= $100.00
05/02/2016-A’s v Seattle= $90.00
05/03/2016-A’s v Seattle= $80.00
05/04/2016-A’s v Seattle= $80.00
05/04/2016-Hill Song United= $32.50 x 4= $130.00
05/07/2016-Rihanna=$157.50 x 4 = $630.00
05/16/2016-A’s v Texas= $80.00
05/17/2016-A’s v Texas= $80.00
05/18/2016-A’s v Texas= $80.00
05/19/2016-A’s v NYY= $90.00
05/19/2016-The Who= $149.50 x 4= $598.00
05/20/2016-A’s v NYY= $100.00
05/21/2016-A’s v NYY= $100.00
05/22/2016-A’s v NYY= $100.00
05/28/2016-A’s v Detroit= $80.00
05/29/2016-A’s v Detroit= $90.00
05/30/2016-A’s v Detroit= $80.00
05/31/2016-A’s v Detroit= $80.00
June-17 events = $41,130.00
06/02/2016-Warriors v Cavaliers=$10,000.00
06/05/2016-Warriors v Cavaliers=$10,000.00
06/08/2016-Warriors Watch Party=$20.00
06/10/2016-Warriors Watch Party=$20.00
06/12/2016-KMEL Summer Jam=$62.50 x 4= $250.00
06/13/2016-A’s v Texas= $80.00
06/13/2016-Warriors v Cavaliers=$10,000.00
06/14/2016- A’s v Texas= $80.00
06/15/2016- A’s v Texas= $80.00
06/16/2016-Warriors Watch Party=$20.00
06/17/2016- A’s v Angels= $90.00
06/19/2016-Warriors v Cavaliers=$10,000.00
06/19/2016- A’s v Angels= $90.00
06/21/2016- A’s v Brewers= $80.00
06/22/2016- A’s v Brewers= $80.00
06/29/2016- A’s v Giants= $120.00
06/30/2016- A’s v Giants= $120.00
July-11 events = $1,080.00
07/01/2016-A’s v Pittsburg= $90.00
07/02/2016-A’s v Pittsburg= $90.00
07/03/2016-A’s v Pittsburg= $80.00
07/09/2016-Louis C.K.= $60.00 x 4+ $240.00
07/15/2016-A’s v Toronto= $80.00
07/17/2016-A’s v Toronto= $90.00
07/18/2016-A’s v Houston= $80.00
07/19/2016-A’s v Houston= $80.00
07/20/2016-A’s v Houston= $80.00
07/21/2016-A’s v Tampa Bay= $80.00
07/23/2016-A’s v Tampa Bay= $90.00
August-11 events = $2,962.00 + ?
08/02/2016-Adele= $274.00 x 4 = $1,096.00
08/03/2016-Dream Team= $156.50 x 4 = $626.00
08/05/2016-A’s v Cubs= $90.00
08/06/2016-Andre Ward v. Alexander Brand= $165.00 x 4 = $660.00
08/07/2016-A’s v Cubs= $90.00
08/08/2016-A’s v Orioles= $80.00
08/11/2016-A’s v Orioles= $80.00
08/14/2016-A’s v Mariners= $80.00
08/22/2016-A’s v Cleveland= $80.00
08/23/2016-A’s v Houston= $80.00
08/27/2016-Raiders v Titans = ?
September-18 events= $2,821.00 + ??
09/01/2016-Raiders v Seahawks=?
09/02/2016-A’s v Boston= $90.00
09/03/2016-A’s v Boston= $90.00
09/04/2016-A��s v Boston= $90.00
09/05/2016-A’s v Angels= $90.00
09/06/2016-A’s v Angels= $80.00
09/07/2016-A’s v Angels= $80.00
09/09/2016-A’s v Seattle= $80.00
09/11/2016-A’s v Seattle= $80.00
09/15/2016-Black Sabbath= $205.00 x 4 = $820.00
09/18/2016-Raiders v Falcons= ?
09/19/2016-A’s v Houston= $80.00
09/20/2016-A’s v Houston= $80.00
09/21/2016-A’s v Houston= $80.00
09/24/2016-A’s v Texans= $90.00
09/24/2016-Sonu Nigam & Atif= $88.00 x 4 = $352.00
09/25/2016-A’s v Texans= $90.00
09/30/2016-Bad Boys Concert= $137.25 x 4 = $549.00
October-10 events= $6,623.00+ ??
10/01/2016-Sia=$149.50 x 4 = $598.00
10/04/2016-Warriors v Clippers= $675.00 x 4 = $268.00
10/07/2017-Dixie Chicks=$89.50 x 4 = $358.00
10/09/2016-Raiders v San Diego= ?
10/10/2016-WWE Raw=$99.75 x 4 = $399.00
10/14/2016-Golden State Music Fest=136.50 x 4 = $546.00
10/16/2016-Raiders v Kansas City=?
10/21/2016-Warriors v Trail Blazers= $675.00 x 4 + $2,700.00
10/25/2016-Warriors v Spurs= $1,350.00
10/26/2016-Disney on Ice= $50.50 x 8 = $404.00
December-4 events= $10,657.00
12/03/2016-Warriors v Suns= $1,000.00 x 4 = $4,000.00
12/18/2016-KMEL Hip Hop Holiday House of Soul= $125.00 x 4 = $500.00
12/24/2016-Raiders v Colts= $275.00 x 4 = $1,357.00
12/30/2016-Warrior v Mavericks= $1,200.00 x 4 = $4,800.00
Here’s the record of who approved what tickets; there are 62 results:
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