February 1, 2001
I understand that Darrell Reese will be sentenced tomorrow, February 2, 2001, for Felony Income Tax Evasion, at 10:00 AM in Courtroom I, Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building, 1515 Clay Street, Oakland, CA. Who were those clients that paid Reese $40,000, and what did they get in return?
On August 19, 2000, the West County Times reported the following:
RICHMOND FIREFIGHTERS GROUP MISREPRESENTED CONTRIBUTIONS TO ITS PAC; CONSULTANT SAYS HE THOUGHT PLAN WAS LEGAL
RICHMOND The city's politically influential firefighters union has agreed to pay a $17,000 state fine for misrepresenting the source of some 1997 campaign contributions.
The fine, which was unanimously approved on consent by the Fair Political Practices Commission this month, completes a 2 1/2-year probe of possible violations of the state's Political Reform Act by Local 188 of the International Association of Firefighters.
I have heard that Reese is continuing to act as a lobbyist and consultant for the Richmond Firefighters Local 188, that he is involved in the Hercules secession from the WCCUSD, and that he continues to be active in Richmond and West County politics. A Chronicle news story in October 2000 described his crime. Other stories can be found at:
Richmond Power Broker Guilty of Tax Evasion
Ex-firefighter Reese faces possibility of prison
Saturday, October 28, 2000
Benjamin Pimentel, Chronicle Staff Writer
Darrell Reese, the former Richmond firefighter who became one of the city's most powerful political consultants, has pleaded guilty to tax evasion and could be sentenced to as much as 10 months in federal prison.
Reese, who was at the center of an FBI probe into alleged corruption involving city contracts, entered his plea Thursday in U.S. District Court in Oakland, admitting that he did not report $40,000 in income from consulting on his 1996 and 1997 tax returns.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office declined to comment on the status of the investigation or whether Reese or any Richmond officials would face other charges.
Reese, 63, declined to comment yesterday. His attorney, Robert Breakstone, said the former fire captain now living in Rodeo was sorry about what he did.
``He was saddened by this and he wants to go forward,'' Breakstone said. ``He realized that this was a mistake.''
Reese admitted that he got $20,000 in consulting fees from a client in 1997 but did not report it in his tax returns. He also deliberately omitted another $20,000 from another client in his 1996 return.
Reese's attorney and federal prosecutors would not name the clients. Breakstone said only that the clients had hired Reese to help them secure business contracts, but he stressed the clients had nothing to do with city of Richmond business or a political campaign.
Reese, who will be sentenced in February before Judge D. Lowell Jensen, could face between 4 and 10 months in prison, a fine of $250,000 and be required to pay the taxes he owes.
The conviction is the second major blow this year to Reese, a consultant to two of the city's most influential groups, the firefighters union and an African American association called Black Men and Women.
In August, the firefighters union agreed to pay a $17,000 fine for violating nine counts of the California Fair Political Practices Act. The fine came after Reese admitted misrepresenting 1997 political donations as coming from retired firefighters and proceeds of a circus fund-raiser in an effort to get around state contribution limits.
Last year, Reese was among dozens of Richmond politicians questioned by the FBI as part of an investigation into alleged bribery of city officials in exchange for lucrative contracts.
Reese's lawyer said he will ask that the judge sentence the political consultant to probation or home detention rather than prison.
``We would hope that the judge would sentence Mr. Reese at the lower end of the guidelines and not put him in prison,'' Breakstone said. ``(Reese) hopes that people would still have faith in him and he hopes to continue being a constructive member of society.''
But Richmond City Councilman Tom Butt, one of Reese's staunchest critics, said Reese got what he deserved.
``It confirms what I've been telling people for 10 years, that this guy is a crook,'' Butt said. ``I would hope that this would taint him enough so that those associated with him in the past will not do so again.
``I hope this will help clean up Richmond politics and pull it out of the gutter that it's been in for so long.''
E-mail Benjamin Pimentel at firstname.lastname@example.org.