Campaign finance law-violating Realtors are at it again

by John Washington on October 28, 2016

A few days ago, the Scottsdale city clerk notified 2016 candidates that the National Association of Realtors out of Chicago had donated a staggering $72,000 to their favorites in our city election:

An Independent Expenditure Notification form has been filed with this office by the National Association of Realtors Fund.  The notification reports independent expenditures in the total amount of $71,920.42 in support of candidates Jim Lane, Suzanne Klapp, Virginia Korte, and Dan Schweiker.

NAR is the same group that violated campaign finance laws in Scottsdale’s 2014 election, by spending $86,000 in support of adding to our massive municipal debt for make-work projects.

The local NAR affiliate Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors used to be pretty good about non-partisan voter education efforts, including one of the better candidate forums. However, SAAR was hijacked back in 2011 by cross-pollinators from the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, another group that has a long history of violating campaign finance law.

Rebecca Grossman was installed as the CEO of SAAR, leading the group’s turn away from its history of non-political community involvement and toward the Dark Side of dark-money dirty tricks.

grossman3

As it turns out, Grossman is and has been very involved with NAR at the national level. A recent press release touts her as the incoming vice-chair of the NAR “executive committee.” Not being a corpocrat, I don’t know exactly what an “executive committee” does, but it sounds pretty important.

grossman2

Grossman’s bio in the same presser includes:

…Rebecca is very involved in her community, serving as a Director of the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce [ahem], a Director of the Perimeter Center Owners Association [principals Gary Case and Tim Huff, I’ll have to look for their names in the candidates’ campaign finance reports], a member of the Envision Scottsdale Community Group [Google never heard of this group…dark money?], and a volunteer at Wild at Heart Raptor Rescue Center.

I know almost nothing about Wild at Heart. It’s probably a worthy organization with a noble goal. But her involvement makes it all the more puzzling why Grossman would support the commercialization of Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve…let alone promote it!

Seen here in a video that will probably disappear from YouTube pretty soon, Grossman chats with Christine Kovach and Sam Campana about the Desert Discovery Center:

grossman

Another pair of Grossman dichotomies can be found in a year-old interview by Lauren Gilger, this excerpt clearly advocating for more urban density. Grossman doesn’t use the “L” word–light rail–but “walkability” is usually a lead-in to that conversation.

As the Valley becomes more urban, walkability is the name of the game.

The Valley is definitely turning away from urban sprawl and toward urban centers, according to Grossman.

So, walkability is at the center of the conversation in development right now. They’re focused on connecting communities to shopping and restaurants, she said.

“I think it has a lot to do with our awareness of the sustainability of continuing to just grow out and out and out,” she said. “Eventually, we have to bring people closer in so that we’re not using as many resources.”

But, in order to do that, we need rental and buying options in urban hubs, Grossman said.

It will be hard to get some cities to recognize that bringing people into the center permanently is important and will take work. “That’s going to take infill projects; that’s going to take redevelopment projects; it’s going to take a lot of zoning changes,” she said.

You’ll notice that in addition to the last paragraph, I highlighted in the paragraph before that “…we need rental…” All of the NAR-supported city candidates voted to approve the 10,000-odd apartments under construction or recently completed in the downtown Scottsdale area.

Strange that an organization supposedly formed to support its Realtor members would advocate for rental housing from which Realtors get no commission, and which through over-supply of housing stock drives down the property values (and thus Realtor commissions) for owner-occupied homes.

I suspect that NAR has been used by Grossman to launder money from local supporters of Jim Lane, Suzanne Klapp, Virginia Korte, and Dan Schweiker. In fact, NAR’s own IRS Form 990 says:

nar-990-excerpt

“Member dues earmarked for a separate segregated fund…detailed description of direct and indirect political campaign activities is not applicable.”

In other words, “dark money.”

This sounds a lot like what the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce did in 2008 when they violated campaign finance laws in supporting local candidates. I think they called it “enhanced dues” or some such nonsense.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

steve lowen October 28, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Many Scottsdale Residents have wondered why and how Realtor’s, and developers, are ‘allowed’ to place their signs, oftentimes very large signs, seemingly wherever they choose. This may be on public land, next to a major road, or in a location remote to the property.
We can sum up Lane, Klapp, Korte and Schweiker as play for pay.
Code Enforcement a dismal joke for the above, but post a garage sale sign and these municipal workers are on it.

Reply

Shoirley Cordasco October 31, 2016 at 10:41 am

I tried to give CEO Grossman the benefit of the doubt, that she was taken by two of our shrewd council members, But As I can see ,while catching up on her talking points, I can see she’s a fast learner, schooled well.
Her walkability speech is word for word, repeat of Korte & Milhaven, bringing people closer ,so we don’t use too many resoures. She truly is also as one of their messengers, trying to urbanize this beautiful city!
I believe this is really all about one thing….Lite Rail.
This CEO, should take notice that prior to her arrival, SAAR was a non-political organization, we need to keep it that way, keep your liberal council members out of our business! Stop using our 8000 members as a union, Korte & Millhaven recognized that immediately, and pounced on it! Most of our members don’t get involved politically, busy working, raising a family or are just uninformed, we don’t need her liberal views, I personally gave this CEO a pass, not anymore. This CEO must stop attending our council meetings stating SAAR is with you , regarding Lite Rail, LGBT ordinance or more apartments..NO, they are not!

Reply

John Washington October 31, 2016 at 10:48 am

“Most of our members don’t get involved politically, busy working, raising a family or are just uninformed, we don’t need her liberal views”

Therein lies the problem, AND the blame. As Plato said, the price men (and women) pay for inattention to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men (and women).

And labels like “liberal” only obfuscate the real issue. ALL the members of our council AND the mayor have labeled THEMSELVES as conservative Republicans. If you support Jim Lane, you bought it hook, line, and sinker.

Reply

steve lowen October 31, 2016 at 11:00 am

‘Conservative Republicans…’ more so than you can imagine. Our ever mindful of loose dimes about, Mayor Lane actively supports Scottsdale based Center for Arizona Policy, and Alliance Defending Freedom. These two miscreant organizations campaign nationally AGAINST Women’s Rights, and those of the LGBTQ Communities. Scottsdale can not remain one of the local cities that practices discrimination and prejudice.

Reply

john November 3, 2016 at 7:59 pm

Light rail brings crime. Look at what the light rail brought to Bloomington Mn. and the Mall of America. Doubled the police department and raised taxes. If in doubt, look at the “L” and subway systems in Chicago and New York and the crime rate around the ” stops”.

Reply

steve lowen November 3, 2016 at 8:19 pm

‘John’ I do not know the statistics in Bloomington, Mn, but per the Transit Police in New York, other than ‘social crime,’
e.g. littering, etc. crimes against persons have fallen or remained static within the past ten years. This has also been the case in street episodes.

Reply

john November 25, 2016 at 1:36 pm

If ” social crime ” is okay, then please have it around your place of residence. Crime has been down in New York for those 10 years, if fact, Chicago now has more homicides than New York and LA combined. The crime statistics by the transit police only include crimes on the property- not one block away or near the L or subway stations. That is problem with statistics. Bloomington has much more pertinent numbers as do the ” pin” maps concerning the concentration of crimes in and around the L or subway systems. More crime, more police, higher taxes. Just look at the crime map of the ” Entertainment” District. The Police are very seldom asked about certain political decisions, they are just told to deal with them while the taxpayer ( homeowner) pays the taxes. Look at the sexual assaults in the entertainment district.

Reply

steve lowen November 25, 2016 at 3:44 pm

I did not state, nor infer that ‘social crime’ is acceptable, in my venue, yours, or anywhere else. The point made is that there are gradients of crime, and, as was shown by the death of ‘Walter…’ the Afro-American individual for selling individual cigarettes, thence resisting arrest, there are problems, then there are PROBLEMS. My Bother, a retired New York Cop, would be pleased to advise thusly.

Reply

john November 25, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Spent 3 decades with a big city police department.

john November 25, 2016 at 3:57 pm

Do you think those police officers just happened to be there ? Some local resident/ store owner called the local politician who sent the police there.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: