DA to Examine George Shirakawa City Council Campaign Forms

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.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. Would more violations result in additional charges and potentially more jail time? 

    Josh is it possible that the bankruptcy court could recind his protection since he obviously had obtained illegal assets while falsifying his paperwork to protect himself from legitimate creditors?  Why should Shirakawa continue to be eligible for protection from creditors when he embezzled & stole money from the public & his campaign?  There should be some sort of law to intervene and put him on the hook to lose his house to pay his debts rather than shield him from creditors (which include the taxpaying public)  Its apparent that Shirakawa will never “do the right thing” unless he’s forced to so he’d never sell the house and assets to pay his debts before going to jail which is what he should do if he were truly sorry for his actions.

  2. Maybe I’m alone in this, but I honestly don’t understand how anyone can feel we’ve been victimized by George Jr. After all, he did not elect himself into high office. We did. And we did it without a single factual reason to believe he was qualified for the job.

    Junior is just the latest in a long line of boobs that have been elected to the city council and board of sups. When SJ Hispanics were first feeling their political oats, they almost single-handedly elected Al Garza to the council, despite his having a résumé  as dismal as Mr. Shirakawa’s. Al ended his career as expected: he wasn’t bright enough to steal as effectively as some of his paler-skinned peers, and he went down for bribery.

    After Al, things only got worse. We voters only got dumber.

    As I’ve posted before, I don’t want to see Junior go to jail. He suffers enough just being his pathetic self. I would like to see a statute of him erected as a reminder to San Joseans of what they’ve done to themselves. I see a big round bronze likeness of him sitting atop Quetzacotl, with his pockets turned out and his extended palm turned up. No need for a name, just “Our Idiot,” with a engraving to serve as a warning that voters always get what they deserve. They sure did this time.

    • Shirakawa was appointed to the SJ City Council based on the goodwill his father had cultivated.  He was in no way qualified and the existing city council at the time gave away the shop and betrayed the public by doing so.  It would be interesting to go back and name the council members who did that because they completely overlooked that Shirakawa Jr was unqualified for the position.  Local politics being what they are in Santa Clara County it is almost unheard of to unseat an incumbent (look at the long list of flaky appointees who manage to stay on based on their “experience” gained by the gift of appointment.  Nora Campos, Eddie Garcia, George Shirakawa are just a few of those incompetents inflicted on the public via appointment who never go away) 

      It doesn’t excuse the voting public of those districts from doing a better job of vetting the candidates on their ballots which is why I think its so important for San Jose to smarten up.  Shirakawa is surely an idiot and deserving of all the smearing he’s getting now.  He’s shameless and have never, not once, done the right thing.  He still doesn’t really accept responsibility because accepting responsibility does not mean you plead guilty after you’ve been caught and laid out but you do that before in an attempt to regain any sense of honor.  But he has zero integrity, he didnt step down when it mattered at the beginning of the investigation (Sept) knowing full well his guilt and the pain he’d cause those close to him and his community.  Not to mention the money it would cost to investigate what he knew as going to be the end result anyways.  He denied, denied, denied and in fact accused others of racism, discrimination and other shady motives.  His excuses of addiction are pathetic.  He is a sad excuse for a leader and a sad excuse for a man.  All those fools who stand by him and say he’s a good guy who made a few mistakes are idiots too because he had no regard for the public he’s fleeced for decades.

      The claim that Shirakawa has done so much good for the community, well I challenge you to list it.  Make a list of the things that George himself is responsible for.  Not the work of agencies or others but George.  No including “scholarships” or grants he gave away with stolen tax payer money either.  Go ahead, list his accomplishments for the public to weigh against his long list of shameful & criminal acts. 

      Finfan, while it might be a huge punishment for him just to be his pathetic self, the slimy politicos who line up behind him need to see him go to jail so they realized BEFORE they try to dip their hands in the public cookie jar that they risk the shame AND jail time if they do.

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