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Monday, March 20, 2006

His Man in Poway - Brent Wilkes' Connections to a 2004 Candidate for Poway City Council

Regular readers of this blog know who Brent Wilkes is by now. Wilkes is unindicted co-conspirator #1 in the federal government's indictment of former congressman Duke Cunningham, a charge supported by the guilty pleas of Mitch Wade and Duke Cunningham. In addition to outright bribery, Wilkes directed more than $1 million in campaign contributions from himself and his associates to federal politicians and committees and more than $180,000 to state-level politicians. Wilkes even contributed heavily to the San Diego mayoral campaign of Ron Roberts.

Wilkes Hosts Campaign Website for Harman
But no election is too small for Wilkes to take an active interest. In 2004, a radiologist named Scott Harman ran for the city council in Poway, CA, the suburb of San Diego where Wilkes lived and his company was headquartered. According to the North County Times, Harman's official website was "electharman.com", which was hosted at the IP address 12.22.219.140 -- one of a series of IP addresses owned by Wilkes company ADCS.

So Wilkes hosted the guy's campaign website. Big deal, right?

Wilkes Starts Up Poway Sports Council with Harman
There's more. The headquarters for Wilkes's companies was a newly built complex at 13970 Stowe Drive in Poway. (It has since been put up for sale.) The building also served as the headquarters for Wilkes' wife Regina's catering business -- Group W Events -- and hosted the "Dinner and a Movie" event with Congressman John Doolittle (check out the menu here), along with the September 2004 ISES event (scroll down for pics).

13970 Stowe also headquartered the Poway Sports Council (PSC) (cached website). In his candidate interview with the NC Times, Harman says he formed a "small company called the Poway Sports Council with three friends to raise money for things such as the Poway Rodeo and San Diego State University's athletic program".

Who were those three friends? Well, according to this article in the San Diego Union Tribune about the PSC hosting a poker tournament fundraiser for the SDSU Aztecs, one was Max Gelwix, who served as the president of the PSC. That same article mentions "a couple of San Diego State boosters" who proposed the poker tournament.

Wilkes was a huge supporter of SDSU, serving on the board of directors of its Campanile Foundation and giving so much money to the university that it named its athletic director's office after him. He is likely one of the boosters mentioned in the SDUT article and one of Harman's "friends" with whom he started the PSC.

So, Wilkes hosted the guy's campaign website. And, Wilkes started up the Poway Sports Council with Harman and Max Gelwix.

Gelwix Endorsement
Check out the SmartVoter guide for Harman. One of his three endorsers: Max Gelwix. The same Max Gelwix that served as President of the Poway Sports Council. The same Max Gelwix who was one of Wilkes's co-hosts for the Dinner with Doolittle. The same Max Gelwix with whom Wilkes owned and operated PerfectWave Technologies. The same Max Gelwix whose campaign contributions Wilkes directed to key members of Congress, including Doolittle. The same Max Gelwix whose company PerfectWave received $37 million in federal funding thanks to earmarks by Rep. John Doolittle.

And check out the NC Times candidate profile again. Harman touts the Poway Sports Council and the fundraising he did for it as part of his candidate qualifications. In essence, Wilkes used the Poway Sports Council in part as a way to boost Harman's candidate credibility and to give Harman an endorsement from an official-sounding local group. Just as he used the Wilkes Foundation to stage the "Tribute for Heroes" gala fĂȘting Duke Cunningham, Wilkes used the PSC to boost the candidacy of Harman.

So why Harman?

Emergency Services
And one more time back to the SmartVoter guide. Harman's #3 priority after "Maintaining quality of life in Poway" and "Insure best quality education for our children"? "Supporting and improving our emergency personnel and services".

One of the angles Wilkes pushed with local and state officials was a technology which provided detailed schematics of buildings for . . . emergency services. In the wake of several school shootings, Wilkes's idea was to draw up detailed plans of schools and possibly other buildings, including exits and entrances and such, and sell it to local and state emergency services agencies. According to sources, Wilkes pushed this technology with several local and state officials, including at least one member of the California Assembly and at least one mayoral candidate in Southern California.

And apparently one candidate for the Poway City Council as well.

Upshot
Scott Harman did not win election to the Poway City Council, but his relationship with Brent Wilkes is another in a long series of examples of Wilkes' efforts to get the right guy into office so that the public dollars would flow his way. Normally Wilkes used campaign cash, as he did with Reps. Cunningham, Doolittle, and Duncan Hunter and Senator Larry Craig. In this case, Wilkes used what appears to be a front group to shore up the credentials of his favored candidate and to provide him with free hosting for his website.

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