Opinion

Commentary: Kevin Johnson seems to attract controversy

When a federal investigation of Mayor Kevin Johnson and his nonprofit St. HOPE was concluded in April, I wrote the words: "It's over."

Shame on me. It's never over with this guy.

There is seemingly always a skeleton poised to fly out of Johnson's closet. Johnson – or his posse – have been accused of a range of misdeeds, from inappropriate behavior with girls to misuse of hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants.

Now the FBI is looking into obstruction of justice allegations stemming from the earlier investigation into misuse of grant money by St. HOPE Academy. Former bank executive Rick Maya, who replaced Johnson as executive director of St. HOPE Public Schools, made the allegations that triggered the FBI probe.

In a damning eight-page letter he submitted when resigning from the St. HOPE board of directors, Maya alleged that while the organization was under federal subpoena in that earlier investigation, a St. HOPE board member deleted some of Johnson's e-mails.

Maya claimed in the letter that he alerted the St. HOPE board, and that members did nothing except notify St. HOPE legal counsel Kevin Hiestand. Hiestand is also Johnson's longtime friend, business partner and personal attorney. And he was the lawyer embroiled in a scalding controversy from last year's mud-splattered mayoral election:

When Johnson was accused of inappropriately touching a student at Sacramento High, Hiestand questioned the girl before anyone at the school contacted police. The girl recanted, and police – contacted a week later – found no merit to the allegation. But Hiestand's behavior was disturbing.

To read the complete column, visit www.sacbee.com/breton.

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