Don Novey placed a multimillion-dollar bet on Meg Whitman to become California's next governor and lost. Problem was, he played the game with other people's money. A lot of it.
Now one of the state employee unions that the labor legend advised to oppose Gov.-elect Jerry Brown must negotiate a new contract with the incoming administration.
And the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the union Novey is credited with building into a political powerhouse before he retired eight years ago, is going after its former leader over a contract dispute.
The 63-year-old former Army intelligence officer and amateur boxer dismisses any notion that he's suffered a mortal political wound. His bank account backs him up.
Law enforcement groups paid him at least $560,000 in fees in the past two years to dispense political advice, state records show. None has dumped him, Novey says.
Still, Whitman's loss dealt more than a glancing blow, Novey recently admitted.
"I'm like 'Casey at the Bat,' " he said, referencing the Ernest Thayer baseball poem. "I struck out."
Perhaps no union was more affected by Novey's whiff at the plate than the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association, which spent $1.6 million on independent ads supporting Whitman and opposing Brown in the final weeks of the race.
By then, polls showed Brown pulling away despite $144 million that the former eBay chief would eventually spend on her own campaign.
It was a huge gamble for the CSLEA, since its 7,400 members – a broad swath of state public safety employees, ranging from game wardens to cheese inspectors – haven't had a contract since July 2008.
To read the complete article, visit www.sacbee.com.