North Bay Bohemian: Sonoma Trifecta

Number 28272
Subject Government
Source North Bay Bohemian (Santa Rosa, CA)
State
Year 2018
Publication Date July - October 2018
Summary The three interlocking stories uncovered a real estate investor-banking-media network that illuminates the shape of Sonoma County’s “shadow” government. A development partnership angling for a county contract includes a county official who partners with a banker who flaunts ethics regulations in a fire disaster rebuild area. An owner of a major local newspaper is a board member of the bank which receives favorable press coverage in the newspaper for its fire deals that do not disclose the ownership connection. Another owner of the newspaper, a real estate investor and political consultant, is found to have defrauded a local Indian tribe in a real estate deal and in cahoots with the son of a U.S. Senator. As we go to press, the newspaper fails to report on the fraud when confronted with the relevant court documents, publishing only a 900 word story on a “dispute” that our 3,500 story unveils as fraud and breach of contract. The need for surviving alt-weeklies to keep publishing hard-hitting LOCAL investigative journalism is reaffirmed.
Category Contest Entry
Pages
Keywords North Bay Bohemian, Sonoma County, "shadow" government, development, ethics, newspaper, real estate, fraud, breach of contract, Santa Rosa, deal
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