Friday, January 29, 2016

Top SEIU-UHW Staffer, Leon Chow, Departs amidst Reported Connections to Man Convicted of 162 Criminal Counts

SEIU-UHW's Leon Chow -- a top staffer for Dave Regan whose brief political career exploded in flames in 2012 -- is getting attention for his alleged connections to an ex-con recently found guilty of more than 150 criminal counts following a multi-year FBI probe.

Chow is no longer employed by SEIU-UHW, where he was paid approximately $120,000 per year.

According to an article in the SF Weekly, Chow has connections to Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow (no relation), who on January 8 was found guilty on 162 counts of racketeering, murder, money-laundering, and dealing in stolen liquor and cigarettes.

During a sentencing hearing in March, Shrimp Boy will face a mandatory life term, according to the Los Angeles Times ("Raymond 'Shrimp Boy' Chow found guilty of 162 counts in massive corruption case," 1-8-16). The FBI investigation involved raids that detained more than 20 people including former State Senator Leland Yee.

What's Leon Chow’s connection to Shrimp Boy?

According to the SF Weekly, Chow is an "associate" of Shrimp Boy.

Shrimp Boy, after completing an earlier jail term, rose to the top of a Chinatown fraternal organization called the Ghee Kung Tong group, which was attempting to manage a night market in San Francisco's Chinatown with city funding.

Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow
When city officials "balked at handing over the market to a shady character like [Shrimp Boy] Chow," says the Weekly, "Shrimp Boy had an associate who did take over the market — a Chinatown advocate and union organizer named Leon Chow."

According to the Weekly, "Chow secured a permit for the night market in 2010 on behalf of his union, Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West (why home healthcare workers were interested is still unclear, but the union accepted a $5,000 check from Pius Lee to do it)."

The article, entitled "Shrimp Boy Associate Is Helping Julie Christensen," continues:
[Leon Chow’s] tenure with the market was brief: the night market ran for a full season in 2010 but for only two Saturdays in 2011 before closing. Chow, too, would soon drop off the scene. He mounted a brief campaign for city supervisor in 2012, running against incumbent progressive John Avalos in the Excelsior District. That effort ended after it was revealed that Chow lived in Walnut Creek, not the Excelsior; having committed the same offense that landed disgraced former Supervisor Ed Jew in federal prison (lying about his residence on a voter registration form) it seemed Chow's political career was over.
(Fyi -- Leon Chow’s earlier brushes with the law are detailed in various posts.)

Last fall, SEIU-UHW's Leon Chow reappeared in Chinatown to work on behalf of a business-dominated association attempting to elect a business-friendly candidate, Julie Christensen, to San Francisco's Board of Supervisors.

San Francisco's progressives -- including most of its labor unions -- backed candidate Aaron Peskin, who won the November 2015 election.

The business-dominated association -- called the "San Francisco Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth" -- was founded by Regan after he parachuted into California in 2009. Regan teamed up with leaders of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce to create the Alliance, which has attempted to exert a rightward pull on the city's politics.
San Francisco Chamber of Commerce

Regan -- who’s made his name as the Boss's best friend at the bargaining table -- has extended his alliance with corporate CEOs to the terrain of electoral politics by forming such political alliances. Regan's Alliance includes multiple business associations and other conservative elements of the labor movement, such as the Police Officers Association.

Last year, SEIU-UHW and Regan’s so-called "business-labor alliance" threw their full support behind AirBnB and real estate developers, who campaigned aggressively against a pair of affordable housing and anti-gentrification ballot measures that were championed by neighborhood groups, tenants and progressives.

Where's Leon now?

Stay tuned!