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Perata Has Paid Son $721,000 Since 1999
Money from the lawmaker, committees under his control went to consulting business
By Josh Richman, Staff Writer
December 17, 2004
State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata and political entities under his direct control have paid his son's consulting business at least $721,000 since 1999, a new Oakland Tribune analysis of state records shows.
This doesn't include additional work Nick Perata, 31, and his Alameda-based Exit Strategies did for other committees and candidates with which his father was aligned. Nor does it include work subcontracted to Exit Strategies by other consultants or companies working for Perata-connected causes.
FBI and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division agents served a search warrant at Nick Perata's Oakland home Wednesday, carting away two computers and several bags full of evidence. The search was part of an ongoing federal grand jury probe into Perata, his family and his political and business associates, reportedly seeking evidence of kickbacks paid to the lawmaker who now is the state's second-most-powerful elected officeholder.
So far, no one has been charged with any crime.
When asked about some of these payments earlier this year, a spokesman for Don Perata, D-Oakland, told the Oakland Tribune the lawmaker paid his son "fair market value" for work suchas voter and fund-raiser database management and other campaign-related services.
Campaign finance records filed with the Secretary of State's Office show The Perata Committee, which the elder Perata closed Nov. 3 even as subpoenas were being issued, has paid Nick Perata's Exit Strategies $353,843.68 since 1999. Perata 2004, which is still active, has paid Exit Strategies $98,134.74 in 2003 and 2004.
Three committees directly under the lawmaker's control have paid Nick Perata, too.
The Children's Committee, formerly known as the Three R's PAC, was formed by Perata and Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown to pursue Oakland school reform; they shut it down in June 2001. In 1999 and 2000, it paid Exit Strategies $257,740.78 — about 48 percent of the committee's total spending and contributions for those two years.
Also, Californians for Neighborhood Preservation and the Committee for Urban Excellence, which both list Don Perata's phone number as the campaign phone number, paid Exit Strategies $1,200 and $10,000, respectively, in 2002.
Meanwhile, Exit Strategies rented Alameda office space from Don Perata. Nick Perata bought two homes — including the Rose Avenue home searched Wednesday — from his father in recent years, and until 2003, the younger Perata paid his father rent for the use of another Perata family home in Alameda, according to public records and the senator's annual statements of economic interests.
Subpoenas issued last month to companies, individuals and public agencies in connection with the grand jury probe listed Nick Perata and Exit Strategies — as well as another of his businesses, NRP Productions — among entities on which evidence is being sought.
Also listed on some of those subpoenas are the lawmaker's daughter, Rebecca Perata-Rosati, 36, of Alameda, and her businesses, Vox Populi and BPR Communications. In 2001 and 2002, BPR was paid $12,500 by the Committee for Urban Excellence and $3,500 by the Perata Committee; in 2003 and 2004, Vox Populi was paid $1,650 by the Perata Committee and $9,011.67 by Perata 2004. The four-year total paid to both businesses: $26,661.67.
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