The District Attorney’s investigation into George Shirakawa Jr. has some new paperwork to add to the pile, as discrepancies may have been found Monday in forms the former county supervisor filed during and after his time as a member of the San Jose City Council in the late 90s and early 2000s.
The City Clerk’s Office began making copies of forms for the DA when San Jose Inside’s inspection of “Friends for George Shirakawa Jr.” campaign forms found inconsistent signatures from previous campaign treasurers Shirakawa employed for his 1998 council re-election campaign and officeholder account.
Shirakawa resigned from his supervisor seat March 1 and announced he will plead guilty to five felonies and seven misdemeanors related to perjury, misappropriation of campaign and public funds and failure to file campaign disclosure forms, which was first reported by Metro and San Jose Inside. One of the perjury counts relates to signatures Shirakawa’s former school board campaign treasurer—Paz Rocha, father of San Jose councilman Don Rocha—said were not his over the course of six years.
Gary Clark handled council campaign treasurer duties for Shirakawa from 1998 through June 30, 2001. On the semi-annual disclosure form Shirakawa filed for the first half of 2001—dated July 31 of that year—Clark’s address was changed from an apartment on McGlaughlin Avenue to Shirakawa’s home address on Apollo Drive. Clark’s final signature also appears to be different in this form from those he signed in January 2001 and July 2000.
Clark was then replaced as Shirakawa’s campaign treasurer by Kenley Shirakawa, who was also listed at the Apollo address in the semi-annual disclosure form for the last half of 2001. This filing reported Shirakawa’s council campaign had an ending cash balance of $8,311.89. The form was turned in more than a year after the reporting period ended—Aug. 27, 2002—to the clerk’s office.
Throughout the time Kenley Shirakawa was listed as treasurer in his council campaign forms, the signature appears to have changed multiple times, such as this form in 2003 to forms that cover the first half of 2004 and July 2004.
The cash balance for Shirakawa’s council campaign increased to $11,705.66 between Jan. 1, 2002 and June 30, 2002, according to filings that weren’t received by the clerk’s office until Aug. 4, 2004.
Shirakawa, who termed out of the council in 2002, used leftover money in the officeholder account to donate scholarships to George Shirakawa Elementary School ($100 in 2003), which is named after his father; as well as give money to labor groups, such as a $1,500 fundraiser for the Santa Clara San Benito Counties Building and Construction Trades Council; and organizations like the L.C.C. Latino Caucus Event ($1,085.04 in last half of 2003) and California League of Cities-Latino Caucus ($1,000 in July 2004).
No one named in this report could be reached for comment, as numbers listed in campaign forms were either disconnected, continued to ring without answer or go to an answering machine. The City Clerk’s office is checking what city ordinances were on the books at the time of these filings to see if forms were in compliance, as well as rules dictated by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).
Shirakawa closed out his council campaign account with a $0 balance July 30, 2004.