March 28, 2014

USA: Keith Jackson, A Democrat Political Consultant, Community Activist And Former S.F. Education Official, Accused Of Corruption, Murder-For-Hire Scheme And Gun, Drug-Trafficking Conspiracy. NEXT!

A 1997 file photo of former San Francisco school board president Keith Jackson. Photo: Lowell High School. No current photo's available.

San Francisco Gate
written by Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle
Thursday March 27, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO -- Keith Jackson, accused by the FBI on Wednesday of being involved in a murder-for-hire scheme and a gun- and drug-trafficking conspiracy, was San Francisco's top elected educator during the late 1990s.

Jackson, 49, is a former president of the San Francisco Board of Education, having run for the board in 1994 on a pro-family slate.

But his tenure on the board was not trouble-free.

In 1997, The Chronicle revealed that Jackson owed more than $5,000 in child-support payments and that the courts were garnisheeing his wages. In an odd twist, Jackson blamed his child-support troubles on being fired from a job he'd held for just four days - as an investigator tracking down deadbeat dads for the San Francisco district attorney.

One of Jackson's sons, Brandon Jamell Jackson, 28, is also accused in the FBI complaint of conspiracies to commit murder for hire and trafficking in guns and drugs.

As an elected official in the 1990s, Keith Jackson declined to discuss his money problems with The Chronicle. The problems included five federal and state liens totaling $4,369 for tax debts between 1989 and 1994, and a missed payment to the University of Phoenix in San Jose that a court ordered him to pay up with interest.

Jackson called the inquiry a racially motivated attack. Jackson is black.

Today, Jackson runs the Jackson Consultancy business, according to the federal complaint, and he has been helping raise money for state Sen. Leland Yee's election campaigns since 2011. Yee was also arrested in the FBI sweep on Wednesday.

Jackson last made news in 2009 while working as a representative of Lennar Corp., which some in the black community have accused of exposing children to toxic dust during its development of the Hunters Point Shipyard.

Jackson took out a restraining order against one of his harshest critics, a Nation of Islam minister who barred him from leaving a community meeting, Jackson told SF Weekly at the time. He said the minister called him an "Uncle Tom" for representing the developers and asked how he could "kill the babies."

The Lennar job was one of many he'd had as a consultant over the years that hovered on the fringe of city politics.

Jackson resigned from the school board in 1998, but not before drawing national attention for co-authoring a resolution requiring students to read a certain number of books by nonwhite and transgender authors. (The board eliminated the quota and approved an amended resolution to diversify the high school reading list.)

Jackson then took a job with the city, working as a commercial recycling coordinator for the city's solid-waste program.

He has since worked at various jobs, including as a consultant for Sam Singer, the well-known spokesman for public officials in crisis.


San Francisco Examiner
written by Laura Dudnick
Friday March 28, 2014

Shock and disbelief was the collective response Thursday on the day after the arrest of Keith Jackson — a political consultant, community activist and former school board member — on serious felony charges linked to a massive federal investigation into public corruption, firearms trafficking, murder plots and drug dealing.
But for at least one person who once worked with the 49-year-old San Francisco resident, some of the accusations came as no surprise.

Jackson is one of the men at the center of the FBI sweep that resulted in 26 arrests this week, including Democratic state Sen. Leland Yee.

While Jackson remains in custody, he is by many accounts an honest, well-respected and generous member of the community.

Jackson’s tenure in San Francisco affairs includes a stint on the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education, consulting on the redevelopment of the Hunters Point Naval shipyard and Candlestick Point, aiding political campaigns, and volunteering with The City’s disadvantaged seniors and youths.

But that’s not the picture painted of Jackson in a 137-page affidavit unsealed Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The FBI accuses him of being involved in a murder-for-hire scheme and trafficking guns and drugs, among other charges.

Sululagi Palega, a longtime friend of Jackson’s, said he’d be “very surprised” if the allegations against Jackson prove to be true. The two met while volunteering for various community organizations in the Western Addition and Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhoods.

Palega said he’s always known Jackson to be generous, and that for the past five or so years they’ve helped distribute turkeys to senior citizens together over the holidays.

“He always cared about people,” Palega said. “I don’t know where all this other stuff went wrong. He’s always been an advocate for the disadvantaged.”

Jill Wynns, a Board of Education member since 1993, served with both Jackson and Yee in the 1990s. She also expressed surprise at the gun-related charges that both Jackson and Yee face, but said the corruption charges were less astonishing.

“Of course I’m shocked, especially the ones about gun trafficking and murder-for-hire,” Wynns said of the charges. “The pay-to-play and influence peddling sadly and unfortunately are not really a surprise to me.”

While on the board, Jackson reportedly “spent a lot of time working with and for people who [were] seeking contracts with the school district,” Wynns said. She added that Jackson would introduce them to the district superintendent, which Wynns felt was inappropriate.

Jackson began serving on the board in 1995. He was up for re-election in November 1998, but resigned in June of that year to take a job with The City.

In 2008, Jackson reportedly started his own consulting group called Jackson Consultancy and was retained by Lennar Urban, a division of the national homebuilding giant Lennar Corp. that’s involved in the redevelopment of the Hunters Point shipyard and Candlestick Point.

Jackson, one of a number of consultants retained by Lennar Urban, reportedly helped serve as the liaison between the company and the Bayview-Hunters Point community.

Lennar Urban had suspended its interactions with Jackson’s company as of Wednesday.

“Like many people, we were completely shocked to learn of the allegations concerning Mr. Jackson,” the company said in a statement.

According to the criminal complaint, Jackson was introduced to an undercover FBI agent by notorious Chinatown gang leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow for consulting work while Chow was under investigation by the FBI. Chow has also been arrested in connection with the alleged web of money laundering, firearms trafficking, murder-for-hire and drug distribution.

Jackson is due back in federal court Tuesday for a detention hearing. His attorney Randall Knox declined to discuss the case Thursday.

Jackson’s son Brandon, 28, also was taken into custody on Wednesday in Connecticut and faces similar charges.

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