TORONTO, ON, CN- Why would China be opening police stations on Canadian soil ostensibly to keep watch over Chinese-Canadians? Inquiring minds want to know.
According to the National Post, there are three addresses in Toronto which have been registered as “service stations” which are operated by the Fuzhou Public Security Bureau, a police force active in the Chinese metropolis of Fuzhou.
The Asian human rights group Safeguard Defenders revealed the Chinese presence in a newly published report.
According to Beijing, the stations are in place simply to assist former Chinese citizens for tasks such as renewing driver’s licenses, which seems a bit difficult to believe, given the interest China typically has in conducting surveillance of Western nations.
Conversely, Safeguard Defenders believes the service stations are mainly used for the purposes of China’s “Involuntary Return” program—a program where Chinese nationals are mandated to return home if or when the country’s security service believes they have violated Chinese law.
“These operations eschew official bilateral police and judicial cooperation,” they wrote.
For example, Safeguard Defenders reported that in just the past year, China has claimed some 230,000 of their expats have been “persuaded to return” on various charges.
They further claim that the returns are often obtained by imposing extreme sanctions on the families of those targeted, such as asset seizures and prohibition from seeking government health care or education.
Meanwhile, a reporter for the Globe & Mail stopped by the three Toronto addresses cited as Public Security Bureau stations. One turned out to be a private home, the other a mall primarily occupied with Chinese Canadian businesses, while the third was the office of a registered nonprofit known as the Canada Toronto FuQuing Business Association.
The outlet further noted that the Association was founded with direct oversight by the Chinese Communist government, and outlined the fact the honorary president had previously sung the praises of Beijing’s efforts to expand its administrative state abroad in order to help the expats feel “the warmth” of the motherland.
Canada is not the only place where China is establishing a footprint, with several dozen countries currently housing overseas outposts of Chinese law enforcement assets.
📢 Our newest investigation, out today, comes with 4 major revelations Re: China’s global policing and transnational repression #TNR.
— Safeguard Defenders (保护卫士) (@SafeguardDefend) September 12, 2022
For example, a report published in The Irish Times addressed the opening of a Fuzhou Overseas Police Service Station in central Dublin.
According to China’s Ireland embassy, they claim the station is used as “a place for Fuzhou expats to do routine paperwork.
“During the past two years, the pandemic made international travels not easy and quite a few Chinese nationals found their Chinese ID cards and/or driver licenses expired or about to expire, and yet they could not get the ID renewed back in China in time,” they claimed.
Meanwhile, Chinese dissidents based in Canada have warned Canadian authorities that they are subject to organized harassment from Chinese authorities. In 2019, the New York Times profiled Sheng Xue, a Mississauga-based proponent of the People’s Republic of China, who was subjected to a series of cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns designed to discredit her.
“I thought I’d have a safe, happy life in Canada,” Sheng told the Times outlining her 1989 escape from communist China after the Tiananmen Square massacre.
However the Chinese Communist Party, she said “was already here”
Meanwhile, China has also set up such stations in London, according to reports, among the estimated 54 police service centers opened worldwide.
Safeguard Defenders noted that London is home to two such service stations, with one registered as an estate agency and the second a Chinese restaurant. Both locations deny any affiliation as police service centers. The estate agency told The Telegraph that its office is also home to a legal firm which handles issues concerning Chinese immigration.
Peter Dahlin, director of Safeguard Defenders says:
“In general, these stations have both a good and a bad purpose. They are there to help say Chinese tourists who get into trouble, they can act as a liaison with local police, they can help out, basically. The problem is they are not registered as [agents for the police] in these different countries.”
He also noted that the London-based officers had been operating “under the radar” of the British police while “targeting the Chinese diaspora.”
For more on the threat China poses to the world, we invite you to read our prior report on the matter:
BEIJING- While the Biden administration continues its assault on the constitutional rights of Americans, focusing on so-called “domestic terrorism” committed only by its political enemies, China continues to work its plan to take down the United States, not directly but through the use of technology.
According to Slay News, the communist nation has been utilizing technology in an effort to wage not a conventional war against the West but a digital one.
The Chinese have been using drone technology, telecommunications companies such as Huawei, and using Americans’ obsession with the social media platform TikTok to expand its reach and influence far beyond China.
Of course the Chinese have long criticized the United States as being imperialist, accusing Washington of acting in the capacity of world policemen, however Beijing must have liked what it saw and have now decided to form the equivalent of a Digital People’s Liberation Army to go after the United States, using our obsession with technology against us.
In fact, Sun Tzu, famed Chinese military strategist who wrote The Art of War, once wrote that, “It is never beneficial to a nation to have a military operation continue for a long time.” Perhaps he was on to something, as the U.S. saw with our 20-year engagement in Afghanistan.
Chinese leadership appears to have taken heed of Tzu’s comments, with Beijing looking to score a victory over the United States without having to use its ever-increasing military.
Conversely, the Unites States has hundreds of foreign military installations, including a number of naval bases. With that said, China is more concerned about using their advancing technology to defeat their greatest enemy, not warfare.
This is where Chinese tech giants Huawei Telecommunications, DJI drones, and TikTok come in. All three companies are closely tied to the Chinese Communist Party and all show how Beijing integrates civilian, government and military apparatuses for espionage purposes.
How so? Huawei’s CEO, Ren Zhengfei is a member of the Communist Party who once served in the Chinese military. That company “received $75 billion of government support to expand its global operations selling hardware laced with ‘cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities’” that gives Beijing a back door into networks that rely on the company’s equipment.
What’s more, Huawei has been under US sanctions since 2019. Despite that, Huawei has been allowed to engage in 5G development in the U.S.
Recently, when they weren’t busy targeting Biden’s political opponents, the FBI warned the company’s equipment sitting atop cellphone towers in the Midwest possessed the capability of intercepting and disrupting U.S. nuclear arsenal communications, which was reported on by Law Enforcement Today.
Concerns have been raised about China buying up land in areas adjacent to US military assets. But don’t worry…the old Scranton Kid has it all under control.
How about DJI, the largest civilian drone manufacturer in the world? Beijing is a direct investor in the company, with the Department of Defense claiming the company’s drones present a national security threat. While efforts have been made to restrict use of these drones by government agencies, those efforts have met with varying levels of success.
No fear though. Brendan Carr, FCC Commissioner has warned the company collects “high-resolution images of critical infrastructure,” as well as facial recognition information and troves of data from smartphones.
Despite all of that, DJI drones are used by hundreds of state and local police departments, as well as the federal government, all because the equipment is cheap. Apparently there is a price for national security and that lies in the cost of cheap Chinese drones.
As Slay News reports, “Beijing’s trojan horse with wings is mapping the United States and collecting biometric data while China expands little effort.”
But those Trump voters!!!
Despite warnings that the platform is being used by the CCP to retrieve troves of user data, including browsing history, geolocation data, keystroke information, financial data, social contacts, draft messages, and much more, the obsessed youth of today obsessed with such intelligent TikTok content as the “skullbreaker challenge” do not seem to mind being spied on by the Chinese communists.
The information can be aggregated using artifical intelligence technologies to develop sophisticated user profiles esxposing individuals to blackmail and coercion.
This is but an example of how Beijing is using Americans’ obsession with social media as a stealth weapon against us.
Retired Brigadier General Robert Spalding warned in “War Without Rules” that the “unrestricted warfare” being waged on the United States by China “involves a fusion of military and non-military tactics designed to attack our economic, social and political systems,” Slay News wrote.
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger noted years ago that the Chinese approach centers around a “mindset of encirclement” inspired by the ancient game called Go.
This involves the Chinese encircling enemies and then lashing out if threatened with the same.
This was seen in the Korean War where CCP forces crossed the Yalu River to ambush U.S. forces, and in the western Himalaya border dispute with India in June 2020, when PLA troops killed 20 Indian soldiers.
China has realized that they do not need to engage in an actual war of attrition with the United States using conventional means when they can use technology to replace us as the world’s pre-eminent superpower. In fact, technology has likely accelerated China’s move toward world dominance.
In the case of China, they are using their alliance with companies such as Huawei (ears), DJI (eyes) and TikTok (human data” to gather intelligence about our strengths and more importantly, our weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
China could very well win this war without firing a single shot, and use our own ignorance as a key weapon to do so.
Why is China buying up all that farmland? Read below to find out why:
GRAND FORKS, ND- While the Biden administration focuses on its progressive agenda, they have taken their eyes off the ball, that being the substantial investments communist China has made in American real estate, in particular farmland.
For example, a bio-fermentation company based in China, Fufeng Group, recently purchased some 300 acres of land in North Dakota for $2.6 million. Plans are for the company to build a milling plant in the area.
Three hundred acres of land doesn’t seem substantial, but when added to the 191,000 acres of land China already owned in the United States, it raises the question of what exactly the communist nation is up to.
Last week, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin asking the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to immediately investigate the purchase.
Notably, both Yellen and Austin have been laser-focused on matters such as global warming and proper use of pronouns.
“We ask that this review process be completed with the utmost urgency to aid Grand Forks officials in their decision-making process and provide clarity on whether this land purchase has national security implications,” Burgum wrote.
Law Enforcement Today recently reported on a disturbing revelation that China has been actively pursuing land purchases in the vicinity of U.S. missile silos and military installations. That story is referenced below.
According to Fufeng’s Chief Operating Officer Eric Chutorash, the company is not tied to the Chinese government, and assured that workers at the facility would be Americans. He added that the human resources director, commercial director sales team, and engineer were not going to be transferred to the U.S. from China.
“I know we’re not going to be asked to be collecting any intelligence on Grand Forks Air Force Base,” Chutorash told the Grand Forks Herald during a March forum. “I can’t stress it any more than that. (But) personally, I wouldn’t provide it. I don’t believe the team being built here would provide it.”
However in an op-ed written by Chuck Devore of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, he warns China’s purchase of $6.1 billion in real estate last year poses a significant threat to our national security.
He noted a CNN piece which outlined the Chinese government’s over ten-year effort to establish massive electronic intelligence and jamming capability in areas adjacent not only to U.S. military installations, but also Washington, DC.
He notes that “such a system could deliver a crippling electronic Pearl Harbor against American nuclear weapons systems and strategic communications” which he said are “vital to deterring and defeating a surprise military attack.”
DeVore further outlines that an FBI counterintelligence investigation into the threat posed by China was so secretive that “senior policymakers in the White House and Congress weren’t told until 2019.”
It was soon after that Congress banned small telecom companies from using certain kinds of Chinese manufactured equipment.
Yet despite that ban, none of the equipment has yet been removed, despite an appropriation of $1.9 billion to do so. Carriers say the government is short about $3 billion to accomplish the removal.
How invested in American real estate is China? And where are they investing, aside from farmland near military assets?
Well, in 2017, China offered to pay $100 million to build the National China Garden in Washington, D.C. at the U.S. National Arboretum, the entire cost. It was only after concerns were expressed by American counterintelligence officials that the project was rejected.
How close did the U.S. come to allowing China an important strategic location?
The proposed Pagoda was to be located on one of the highest points in Washington, D.C. and moreover would be built with materials shipped to the United States in diplomatic pouches, DeVore wrote, which means they would not be subject to import inspections.
As DeVore notes, one of the reasons the pagoda project drew so much attention was because it was being built on federal land in our nation’s capital. However purchases of land from private landowners doesn’t typically gain as much attention until later on in the process.
This takes us back to the Fufeng Group’s land purchase in North Dakota. The land purchased for the project las only 16 miles from the U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command base.
Don’t think for a minute that this land was sought by accident. It is located in a strategic location where China can keep an eye on things.
As to the plant hiring “only Americans,” that is disingenuous. Every Chinese company, DeVore wrote, with 50 or more employees is required to have a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official embedded in it.
That official…functioning as a political officer…functions as “a looming presence in any firm hailing from a nation with no rule of law other than what CCP officials say it is,” Devore continued.
In essence, despite Fufeng Group perhaps having a legitimate business purpose in investing in Grand Forks real estate, so too does the Chinese Communist Party have a very strong strategic military interest in the Grand Forks location to serve its nefarious purposes.
To highlight this, DeVore spoke of a memo written by U.S. Air Force Major Jeremy Fox, who spoke of concerns that the Grand Forks location “was well sited to intercept military communication between ‘unmanned air systems’ and ‘space-based assets.’”
For unknown reasons, a spokesman for the Air Force attempted to downplay Fox’s concerns, dismissing them as his own “personal assessment of potential vulnerabilities.”
Yet another purchase of land, this time a 130,000 acre ranch on the Texas-Mexico borer and located near Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio is the site of a wind turbine project which is tied to the Lone Star State’s electric grid.
That location could be used to launch an attack on that system, rendering at least a portion of Texas’s electric grid useless. Moreover, the land contains a large airstrip, which DeVore notes “could be used to coordinate activities with transnational drug cartels” across the Mexican border.
Fentanyl overdoses have already reached near epidemic proportions in the United States, with China suspected of being behind much of it. Making it easier for cartels to get their product into the U.S. could be devastating.
DeVore writes that in the cases of both Texas and North Dakota, the CCP would have the capability of placing equipment for other than legitimate purposes.
And more foreboding, “Chinese nationals and companies must obey the CCP” and “if they don’t cooperate, they risk losing everything up to and including their freedom and their lives.”
According to FBI Director Christopher Wray, he told CNN that the agency opens a new China counterintelligence investigation every 12 hours, and says there are currently about 2,000 “active investigations.” He highlighted the fact those investigations do not include cyber theft, which is a criminal matter.
DeVore noted that a retired U.S. Navy captain, James “Kimo” Fanell, former chief of intelligence for the Pacific Fleet, said such large parcels of land could be used to “host signals intelligence or electronic warfare equipment such as jammers.”
“While our Customs inspectors are hardworking people, they’re overloaded, especially today with the Biden administration’s de facto open border policies. The idea that a strategic adversary could buy land near U.S. military bases does not pass the commonsense test.”
Continuing, he said, “We’ve got to do better as a nation to defend our citizens from these kinds of obvious threats.”
DeVore warns that the United States government doesn’t appear to be taking the Chinese threat seriously, out of concern he says of “being accused of racism” or by listening to “economic arguments made by well-funded lobbyists for Chinese interests or U.S. multinationals.”
He further warned of pointed out the possibility of attacks on the homeland should China indeed decide to invade Taiwan.
Had we an administration that is focused on true threats to our country instead of made-up threats, we might be better prepared. Lest anyone think we are, it certainly does not appear that way. The Chinese land grab is a crystal clear example of that.
For more on Chinese companies setting up to spy on the United States from within, we invite you to:
WASHINGTON, DC- The Daily Caller and several other news outlets are reporting the Commerce Department is investigating a Chinese telecom firm which has previously been blacklisted over concerns they may be spying on U.S. missile silos.
U.S. officials launched the probe into Huawei for possible surveillance capabilities at cellphone towers located adjacent or near U.S. military bases and missile silos, the DC said citing a Reuters report.
Authorities are concerned the communist nation could exploit the Chinese tech giant’s communications equipment in our country to gather sensitive data on military procedures and personnel, Reuters said on Thursday. The investigation was reportedly opened by Commerce in 2021.
Brendan Carr, senior Republican on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) told Reuters that the company’s equipment located near military bases, including Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, would allow the Chicoms to conduct surveillance on troop movements and other electronic activities, which would possibly signal any future missile strike on China, he said.
That’s ok. Our military is worried about serving vegan protein substitutes, teaching proper pronouns and hosting drag queen shows at our military bases. Not to worry, America.
In April 2021, the Commerce Department issued a subpoena to Huawei for disclosures on the company’s data collection and sharing policies, as outlined in a 10-page document seen by Reuters. It’s alleged that Huawei could access information related to cellphone usage, including message contents and geolocation data.
According to Fox Business, Huawei, one of the largest computer manufacturers in the world, is registered under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Fox reports the White House is investigating cellphone tower hardware produced by the company and its capabilities concerning the logging of information of those who use the company’s infrastructure.
A trove of Huawei company files, some allegedly marked confidential, were leaked in a Washington Post report last December.
Meanwhile newly uncovered documents confirm that Huawei has been more involved with Chinese Communist Party surveillance operations than it has previously admitted, the Post reports.
According to Fox, US officials have previously strongly suggested government agencies ditch Huawei smartphones and laptops due to security concerns.
In December, the National Security Council announced the White House was taking a cautious approach toward the company after it was linked to mass surveillance campaigns by the CCP.
“Protecting U.S. persons’ safety and security against malign information collection is vital to protecting our economy and national security,” a spokesperson for the Commerce Department told Reuters. The spokesperson, however, could not “confirm or deny ongoing investigations.”
The company has been under scrutiny for some time due to its vast telecommunications infrastructure and close ties to the CCP. Former President Trump blacklisted the company in May 2019 on national security grounds.
It was the Trump administration that gave the Commerce Department investigative authority in 2019.
According to a 2019 Trump executive order, one of few which Biden has left in place, Commerce could completely ban U.S. companies from dealing with Huawei if it is determined the conglomerate poses a significant threat to U.S. national security. That same executive order also demands U.S. carriers replace Huawei equipment in that case, Reuters said.
Politico reported that somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 smaller wireless carriers are seeking to remove gear from Huawei and other Chinese companies, however do not have sufficient funds to do so.
While Congress allocated $1.9 billion to assist companies in moving away from Chinese equipment in the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019, the FCC said last week that the program requires an additional $3.1 billion in funding, Reuters reported.
The Chinese, however, don’t seem to be buying the public comments coming from the U.S. government, according to the Global Times, a Chinese state-run media outlet.
“The US has to provide evidence to prove its so-called ‘national security’ concerns, and how the data can be transferred to China,” Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance told the Global Times Friday.
“Smearing Chinese firms, including Huawei and creating barriers for their development, is the true intention behind the investigation,” Xiang continued.
The Daily Caller reached out to the Department of Commerce Office of International Affairs, which declined to comment. Likewise, the Department of Commerce, Huawei, the Chinese Embassy to the U.S. and the Chinese Foreign Ministry didn’t respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.
For our previous report on California investing state employee pension funds into Chinese companies, including those which are blacklisted, we invite you to:
SACRAMENTO, CA- In just under two weeks, voters in the State of California will have the opportunity to launch their incompetent governor, Gavin Newsom, into an early retirement.
They might also want to consider getting rid of their state treasurer, Fiona Ma, daughter of Chinese immigrants.
Why? Well for one thing, the state’s pension system is heavily invested, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in Chinese-state owned enterprises linked to the People’s Liberation Army, according to documents reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon.
According to the outlet, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) invested over $3 billion…that’s billion with a B…in Chinese companies, including 14 state-controlled enterprises that were blacklisted by former President Trump’s administration in June 2020. That amount is currently some $490 million.
A number of those companies are funding the so-called “Belt and Road Initiative,” a massive infrastructure undertaking underway by China in order to “expand its geopolitical and military influence.”
Newsom actually recently praised a pro-Beijing newspaper which was required to register as a foreign agent of China due to its influence activities in the United States.
The paper, Sing Tao was praised for its “journalistic integrity” and for its provision of “balanced news stories to its readers. Newsom said the paper, published daily in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City has assisted Chinese Americans in acclimating to California.
The paper’s owners are members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a government advisory group controlled by—the Chinese Communist Party.
The paper has also been praised by the official bartender of Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and she used the paper to advertise in April 2021 in the amount of $728 for ads pushing the jab, and $2,755 in June 2020, according to FEC filings.
The Democratic National Committee has also used the outlet to advertise, placing ads in May to raise awareness about hate crimes against the AAPI community. Not to be left out, the Republican National Committee also paid $2,855 to the paper in November 2020.
Fellow recall candidate San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has also sung the praises of Sing Tao, speaking at their gala. Boudin received an endorsement from Sing Tao during his George Soros-funded campaign in 2019.
In addressing the CalPERS investments, Newsom has remained silent. This is an interesting take by Newsom because he has been more than outspoken on CalPERS investments, calling for the nation’s largest public pension system to divest from tobacco companies as well as companies linked to the Turkish government.
CalPERS’s investments in the 14 Chinese companies defied Trump’s listing of the companies on the so-called blacklist due to their ties to the Chinese military.
CalPERS declined the Free Beacon’s requests for comment on their investments in the Chinese companies. In addition to those companies on the blacklist, CalPERS is invested to the tune of $490 million in seven Chinese state-owned companies which while not appearing on the list are funding the Belt and Road Initiative, according to its 2020 investment report. The pension fund has been investing in some of the Chinese companies at least since 2016, according to records.
The Beacon reported that two companies in the fund’s portfolio—China Merchants Port and CITIC—control ports in Sri Lanka and Myanmar which have been utilized by the People’s Liberation Army for military exercises. Those investments included $3.7 million in China Merchants Port and $110 million in CITIC as of June 2020.
CalPERS is also invested $5 million in China State Construction Co., which has built infrastructure such as roads and bridges in Asia, Africa and the United States as part of the Belt and Road initiative. That company is one of the firms put on Trump’s blacklist.
CalPERS, which boasts some $400 billion in assets, has $6 million invested in China Communications Construction Company, owned by the Chinese government and which the U.S. says is building military installations in the South China Sea. That undertaking is in violation of agreements China has signed with its neighbors. According to former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, that company is one of the “weapons” Beijing uses to impose it’s “expansionist agenda.”
Belt and Road seems to be the primary beneficiary of California’s pension dollars, with $185 million invested in China Construction Bank, which has invested $405 billion into 176 Belt and Road project. Two other lenders, China Merchants Bank and Bank of China, also contained in the CalPERS portfolio are also heavily invested in Belt and Road projects.
The investments in China have drawn strict scrutiny not only from California lawmakers but also national ones. Critics of the investments complain that the investments not only aid the Chinese Communist Party but create a financial risk due to lax transparency into the operations of Chinese firms.
“CalPERS would do well on its own to reconsider some of its billions of dollars of investments in China just for the fact that immediate international turmoil produced large uncertainties for California retirees,” said Lance Christensen, chief operating officer at the California Policy Center, a conservative think tank.
Some of this may be changing however as some investment managers are beginning to think twice about investments in China due to the Chinese government’s crackdown on tech companies as well as other for-profit companies.
The Wall Street Journal reported that in July, Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges lost $400 billion in value due to a series of regulatory crackdowns orchestrated by the Chinese communist government.
Aside from the China connection to the state treasurer, there is also a connection to the former head of CalPERS, Ben Meng, an American citizen of Chinese origin. Prior to his work at CalPERS, he worked in China as the deputy chief investment officer of China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange, where he oversaw $3 trillion of foreign exchange reserves.
At the time Meng served at CalPERS, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) criticized his membership in China’s Thousand Talents Program, which the nation uses for espionage. Banks wrote Newsom recommending Meng’s firing.
“Governor Newsom, if it were up to me, I would fire Mr. Meng immediately,” Banks wrote in February 2020.
Banks’ issue came specifically to companies such as Hikvision, which is used by China to further its detention of Muslim Uyghurs in concentration camps.
CalPERS blew off Banks’ letter, calling it a “politically opportunistic attempt to force us to divest, undermining our ability to perform our fiduciary duty to provide retirement security to California’s public employees.”
Newsom may not directly control CalPERS, but he has in the past used his position of governor to steer the agency’s decisions, for example forcing the pension manager to invest pension funds in green energy companies in order to fight “climate change.”
In an absolutely ironic twist of irony, in 2018 as a governor’s candidate, Newsom demanded CalPERS divest from Turkish companies because of the Turkish regime’s refusal to recognize the mass murder of Armenians in 1915. So in other words, 100-year-old Armenian genocide is bad, but 2018 genocide of Christians and Muslim Uyghurs in China is ok. Odd.
“Gov. Gavin Newsom is quick to leverage his position on issues like climate change by outlawing gas-powered cars or other similar mandates, but slow to speak out on government investments in China, where their environmental and labor record is abysmal,” said Christensen of the California Policy Center.
The Free Beacon said the governor’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment.
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For more reasons why Newsom needs to be recalled and replaced, we invite you to read our prior report on Newsom playing fast and loose with COVID relief money.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA- Just remember—two sets of rules. In an explosive report from ABC-7 in San Francisco, it has come forth that at least eight companies owned or partially owned by California Gov. Gavin Newsom received millions of dollars between them from the Paycheck Protection Program, according to an analysis by the station.
Data released by the Small Business Administration earlier this summer indicated the PlumpJack Group had received $350,000 worth of PPP loans.
However, newly released data showed that a group of PlumpJack businesses under that umbrella had received more than eight times that amount, or around $3 million combined. Those businesses include wineries, bars and restaurants.
Two years ago, Newsom put his ownership interests in the PlumpJack group into a blind trust. That allegedly means that he wouldn’t have knowledge of or a role in the company’s business decisions made during his time in office, the outlet reported.
According to the Daily Wire, ABC7’s 9’s investigative unit, the I-Team said that it “discovered discrepancies” which “appear to raise questions” about how much money had found its way into Newsom’s business interests. PlumpJack Group was founded by Newsom in 1992.
Despite the blind trust, Newsom’s sister, Hillary currently serves as the group’s president.
The I-Team reported:
“While data released by the Small Business Administration earlier this year showed the PlumpJack Group received up to $350,000 worth of PPP loans, newly-released data by the SBA indicated PlumpJack businesses—including wineries, bars and restaurants—received more than eight times that amount at nearly $3 million altogether…ABC7’s analysis found at least nine companies affiliated with the PlumpJack Group received PPP loans.
One of the companies on the lists is Villa Encinal Partners Limited Partnership. State records indicate the name is traced back to the PlumpJack winery in Napa. San Francisco billionaire Gordon Getty is an investor.
According to SBA data, the company received a loan for $918,720 on April 14, 2020.”
According to data uncovered by ABC7, Villa Encinal Partners LP retained 14 employees with those funds. Upon crunching the numbers, the outlet found:
“Hypothetically, if divided equally, each of them would’ve received around $40,000 to cover their payroll over a period of three months—that would amount to an annual salary of around $160,000 per employee.”
According to the requirements of the PPP program, recipients of PPP loans are able to receive forgiveness if at least 60% of the funding is used to keep workers on the payroll.
ABC7 noted that if the PlumpJack Group decides to pursue loan forgiveness, they would have between two to five years to apply. Short of that, the group would be required to repay the loan at a fixed 1% annual percentage rate.
Miryam Barajas, SBA Region 9 Communications Director said however in order for a company to seek loan forgiveness, “they have to certify when they apply that they retained their employees.”
“That’s going to include payroll records, documentation filings, there’s a lot of proof that these businesses have to show proving they paid their employees.”
The station presented their findings to Seth Moulton, who is a senior policy analyst with the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), and organization that tracks PPP loans.
“It’s unexpected for a 14-employee organization to get nearly $1 million,” Moulton told ABC7. “The purpose behind this program was to save entry-level jobs, people going in and working on that paycheck. That was what we put this out there for, to stop unemployment.”
ABC7 further reported:
“The average small business loan for California companies retaining 14 employees was roughly $128,000. Yet the PlumpJack entity Villa Encinal Partners LP—that according to SBA data also retained 14 employees—received more than seven times that amount at $981,720.
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ABC7’s analysis found the only other California winery that received close to the same loan amount as Villa Encinal Partners LP is Oak Knoll Farming Corp, which retained 79 employees—more than five times as many as Villa. The average number of employees retained for every California winery that received ore than $900,000 worth of PPP funding is 148.”
ABC7 cited the Millbrae Pancake House, which received a $431,400 loan, while retaining 53 employees. They noted for comparison purposes, that’s less than half the amount of money PlumpJack received while retaining nearly four times the number of employees.
The owner of the restaurant told ABC7:
“That seems unfair because there are small family businesses like ours that need that money,” said Erin Burke.
She was forced to close the business on Nov. 29 after 60 years of operation.
“We’re just trying to do the best that we can and survive,” she said. “That money wasn’t enough.”
This situation becomes even more disturbing when you see that a number of small businesses desperate for financial support had a difficult time obtaining the PPP loans, with some being unable to do so. According to the Los Angeles Times, the program ceased accepting applications in August after some $68.6 billion had been directed to 623,000 California companies.
The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce said that a majority of small businesses that were unable to get the PPP loans said the loan size wasn’t enough, or the owner misunderstood the application process.
“I think it’s heartbreaking,” said Jay Cheng, the organization’s public policy director.
“We see huge discrepancies between small business and the kind of loans they go and their ability to get loans and larger companies that are well-resourced and well-staffed and had strong relationships with their banks.”
Yet another company affiliated with Newsom’s business interest is Balboa Café Partners LP, which received a $506,799 loan on April 29, 2020. It was estimated in June that the company employed seven individuals, however SBA filings from the loan application stated they retained 55 employees.
The outlet said they reached out to PlumpJack for clarification on how the funds were spent. They issued the following statement:
“Like many other companies facing extreme financial duress during the pandemic, we used loan monies to protect our workers and keep them employed Our staff members and their loved ones depended on these programs for their livelihoods. Gavin Newsom is not affiliated with the operation of the companies in any way. Any suggestion otherwise is unequivocally false,” said Jeff Nead, spokesperson for the PlumpJack Management Group.
Newsom’s 2019 Statement of Economic Interest said, however that Newsom has an ownership interest in eight companies that are affiliated with PlumpJack which received PPP funding.
According to CalMatters, Newsom’s 2018 tax returns showed he and his wife made $1.2 million from wages and investments—a majority of which came from the wine and hospitality ventures. The outlet reached out a second time to PlumpJack in an effort to obtain payroll record to determine how each of 14 employees of Villa Encinal Partners was paid.
They received the following statement:
“Plumpjack Management Group is operating within the federal guidelines created for COVID-19 SBA loan recipients. These funds have been critical in keeping our staff employed and continuing our operations. Any implication that we have done anything outside of the guidelines (or that we have filed for forgiveness on the loan) is irresponsible,” said Nead once again.
ABC 7 said they reached out to Newsom for comment but did not hear back.
Color us shocked.
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