Trading favors?

Randy Shaw quietly gets city funds for his Tenderloin Museum from a Mayor's Office he loudly promotes

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Randy Shaw
SF Examiner photo by Cindy Chew

Randy Shaw is a Tenderloin power broker who has a cozy relationship with the Mayor's Office, regularly promoting its interests and perspective on his blog, BeyondChron, and through other avenues. In return, Shaw quietly gets tremendous city support — including big infusions of public funds — for his projects and initiatives.

The biggest recipient is Shaw's main organization, Tenderloin Housing Clinic, which holds city contracts worth millions of dollars to manage single-room occupancy hotels for the poor, including supportive rooms for the formerly homeless. But that's just one of Shaw's many projects.

The most recent example is the Tenderloin Museum project, which Shaw has been working on for five years (see "Test of the Tenderloin," 9/28/10). In addition to getting official support from Mayor Ed Lee and Sup. Jane Kim — both of whom Shaw and his closest associates helped get elected — Shaw has also gotten a commitment of public funds that he appears to be trying to hide.

During the April 21 press conference celebrating the Tenderloin Museum project, flanked by Lee and Kim, Shaw described how the once-vibrant Tenderloin went into economic decline in the '50s, but that he and others have been trying to restore it and spur more investment.

"Fortunately, we have those of you in the room who did believe, and none greater than the mayor," Shaw said, parroting the lavish praise he regularly heaps on Lee at BeyondChron, praising his leadership on the Twitter tax break. "With the mid-Market/Tenderloin tax exemption, it's often forgotten that the Tenderloin is in there, but the mayor insisted on it."

Actually, as a Guardian investigation showed at the time ("Behind the tweets," 3/15/11), it was Shaw who took the lead role in orchestrating the deal and ensuring the Tenderloin was part of it, benefiting some of Shaw's business allies in the process (see "Selling the Tenderloin," 3/29/11).

Now, a Guardian review of recent emails between Shaw and city officials shows that he has once again used his political influence and connections in the Mayor's Office to tap public funds for his Tenderloin Museum project — something Shaw conveniently failed to mention at the April 21 event, even as he praised the pro bono work of contractor Webcor Builders and structural engineer Rodrigo Santos, the conservative pro-development advocate whom Lee appointed to serve on the City College Board of Trustees (see "Words and deeds," 9/11/12).

Shaw regularly trades emails with officials in the Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development and Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development, both of which are working on funneling funds to the Tenderloin Museum project. Shaw peppered those conversations by sharing his sympathetic blog posts with the officials, urging them to "please send it around."

Shaw did not return phone calls seeking comment for this story.

In association with the museum project, Shaw's Uptown Tenderloin Inc. was recently awarded a $20,000 contract with OEWD to help fill commercial vacancies in the Tenderloin, a role made easier by city officials who regularly refer business leads and official inquiries to Shaw, the emails show.

An April 7 email from Shaw to John Harris of the Mayor's Office of Housing outlines the funding arrangements, and illustrates the influence Shaw appears to hold with key city officials.

Comments

many. What do losers like you, Welch, Hestor, Redmond and marcos do? Nothing, except whine from the sidelines.

Try getting your hands dirty before you throw stones.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 2:50 pm

I live right next to one of the Shaw's buildings, which supposedly "improve living conditions for the under-housed". The place is a bombed out, nightmarish, hellhole.

Shaw himself, lives in a mansion in the Oakland hills.

Posted by anonymous on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 10:28 am

But it's a bed and a roof over their heads.

What do you do to help them?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 1:58 pm

We cut property and sales taxes to the City which then shunts those dollars into Randy Shaw's operation. Without our money, Shaw could do less than the little that he does.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 2:08 pm

job with that money than Shaw. Indicate who, along with evidence of their track record. Show your working.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 2:21 pm

there's a number of other non profits that do better. TNDC, TODCO, Community Housing Partnership, etc. These places like TNDC also get private funding while Shaw is almost exclusively public money. Shaw is also the only one who 'master leases' existing buildings which results in pushing existing tenants out and that's been going on for 13 years now. Shaw is also the only one who excludes the wider public from renting in any of these buildings. All the other non profits don't do that. And of course, Shaw is the only one who does what the subject of this article is about

Posted by auweia on Jun. 05, 2014 @ 12:25 am

What the public doesn't see is any accountability for any non-profits that are funded by the City. So a black mark on one is a black mark on all.

Posted by Richmondman on Jun. 05, 2014 @ 8:39 am

TNDC, TODCO, Community Housing Partnership stake claims as part of CCHO on MOH $, no?

Posted by marcos on Jun. 09, 2014 @ 5:15 am

There was a similar investigation by Rita O'Flynn a couple years ago and the SFBG did once do a story on her lawsuit against Shaw. Anyway, she had made a complaint I think to the ethics commision about violating the political advocacy clause for no profits and much of that is described here

http://www.bluoz.com/blog/archives/884-Mayors-Office-of-Housing-grant-ag...

I'm not sure if I ever got around to posting the whole thing but basically the ethics commission found no wrongdoing because Shaw was able to show that the political advocacy on Beyondchron did not involve the SAME money that he got from the contracts. Instead that money came from the lawsuits Shaw files against other landlords. So it wasn't the EXACT same money even if it was in the same Tenderloin Housing Clinic

Now, as I understand it, the State Attorney generals Office and the IRS don't see it that way. They don't care if it's not the same EXACT money, you're not supposed to be cozy with the people who award your contracts as a 501c3 non profit

The is the difference between the City of SF's corruption and the higher up state and federal levels. The problem is the non profit oversight at the attorney generals office is chronically underfunded and the IRS seems to be tied up with the more right wing non profits. If they ever did take interest in Shaw, he might very well get popped

Posted by auweia on Jun. 03, 2014 @ 9:59 pm

Agreed, the appearance of corruption is what counts here, that and Shaw's salary that has doubled while the circumstances of those dependent upon publicly subsidized affordable housing has deteriorated twice as fast.

But, hey, what the TL needs is a museum!

Posted by marcos on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 5:44 am
Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 6:37 am

In response to the asinine comment that says the "Tenderloin needs a museum as much as the Mission needs a Hispanic theme park designation", I am flabbergasted.

I really don't understand what you mean by such a statement. I assume that you're saying a Hispanic theme park would celebrate and capitalize on stereotypical and borderline racist themes of ethnicity. The pending Tenderloin museum is not going to make a joke out of the area it aims to honor. Before you oversimplify and write the area off as a sketchy sideshow, I urge you to try and become culturally competent and gain an empathy. The Tenderloin is the last bastion of real humanity in a city that's being overtaken by callous, clueless, entitled brats as evidenced by the cavalier and dismissive way you anonymously posted that snarky comment out of the side of your mouth.

Posted by Michael Thomas Angelo on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 11:18 am

"The Tenderloin is the last bastion of real humanity..." I like the TL just fine, but there are other bastions of San Franciscans citywide who do not live in the TL.

The nonprofits thrive on building anti-coalitions.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 1:55 pm

Last week, all 11 supervisors voted to make the 24th Street corridor a Hispanic Theme Park.

The TL is the last bastion of humanity only if your view of humanity is a bunch of wino's puking in the gutter and shooting up.

Shaw does a good job of helping the homeless and hopeless, but let's not kid ourselves that they are a model of citizenry that we seek to advocate.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

Sadly, the SFBG didn't do a story about my lawsuit against Randy Shaw and his Tenderloin Housing Clinic (THC) blog, BeyondChron. If they did, they would have had to include Shaw's sworn declaration in which he admitted that he didn't do important research for the article he published about me. So much for journalistic integrity.

If the SFBG does want to do another story (or 2, or 3, or more) about Shaw and the THC, I have done my research and have documentation to support stories that I believe could be titled:

* THC refuses to declare $20million in donated land on its Federal Tax filings.
* THC neglects to account for millions in assets when applying for grants from the City.
* City gives THC a huge tax break by re-assessing $20million in property donations at only $200K.
* THC's audited financial reports indicate ongoing problems with managing rent rolls.
* THC's audited financial reports indicate ongoing non-compliance with Federal financial reporting requirements in relation to federal funding it has received.
* THC crosses the line on political activities prohibited by Federal Law.

I have a lot more, but I think what I listed above is enough to raise serious questions about the THCs ability to perform the services for which it receives over $100million from the City. There are probably issues regarding accountability and compliance with its contracts with the City that need to be addressed but no politician in SF will touch with a 10 foot pole despite the public's call for such consideration when dolling out the cash.

Hey Steve Jones...I've got the goods. If you want them, let me know.

Posted by roflynn on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 3:26 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 3:48 pm

You can't dispute what I say so you are reduced to criticizing me personally. Hope doing so made you feel better about yourself. You clearly need it.

Posted by roflynn on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 8:00 pm

In response to the asinine comment that says the "Tenderloin needs a museum as much as the Mission needs a Hispanic theme park designation", I am flabbergasted.

I really don't understand what you mean by such a statement. I assume that you're saying a Hispanic theme park would celebrate and capitalize on stereotypical and borderline racist themes of ethnicity. The pending Tenderloin museum is not going to make a joke out of the area it aims to honor. Before you oversimplify and write the area off as a sketchy sideshow, I urge you to try and become culturally competent and gain an empathy. The Tenderloin is the last bastion of real humanity in a city that's being overtaken by callous, clueless, entitled brats as evidenced by the cavalier and dismissive way you anonymously posted that snarky comment out of the side of your mouth.

Posted by Michael Thomas Angelo on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 11:16 am

Don't trust a man with three first names.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 11:34 am

a brat pretty much shot his cred from the start.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

Poverty pimp, yes, but is Randy Shaw also a degenerate parasite?

Posted by marcos on Jun. 05, 2014 @ 7:01 am

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