Critics of San Jose Vice Mayor Hire Private Eye to Investigate Carpetbagging Claim

Magdalena Carrasco’s critics contend that San Jose’s vice mayor lives outside her own district, and one went so far as to hire a private eye to try to prove it.

Carrasco denies the charges, which came up in an ethics complaint filed by Steve Haug—who supports her re-election challenger Jennifer Imhoff-Dousharm—and ultimately rejected by the commission tasked with reviewing it because it was not in the scope of its review.

Haug says he asked an investigator about six weeks ago to look into the rumor that’s been swirling around District 5 for more than a year now. What the P.I. found, Haug says, is that only Carrasco’s mobile telephone bill was being delivered to her East Side address. Her utility bills, however, were being sent to an address somewhere in the realm of Councilman Johnny Khamis’ jurisdiction—not to the Toyon Avenue apartment Carrasco listed with the City Clerk’s Office.

Fly tried reaching the investigator at Cooke & Associates in Gilroy, but the woman who answered the phone, Delia Salazar, said he parted ways with the firm after its recent buyout by a company that focuses exclusively on private security.

But Haug says the hired detective stopped short of surveilling the councilwoman, and found additional evidence that Carrasco flouted local law by getting dropped from the voter rolls. In his ethics claim, Haug cites a City Charter requirement for council members to be registered in their district and says Carrasco “lost her elector status” after the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters (ROV) scrubbed her name because of an “invalid mailing address.”

ROV spokesman Eric Kurhi says Carrasco filed for a change of address last June 27 but that her registration was “erroneously canceled” on Sept. 19 because of returned mail. The statewide voter registration system, VoteCal, bumps a voter’s status to “inactive” if election materials return as undeliverable, he explains.

But Carrasco eventually called to verify the address, and her status was switched back to “active” on Feb. 1. “Inactive” voters are still registered to vote in the county, Kurhi adds.

Through her district chief of staff, Frances Herbert, Carrasco firmly rejected Haug’s claims of carpetbaggery.

“I have lived in District 5 the entire time of my term as councilwoman,” she said, via forwarded text. “I did live at Toyon [Avenue] with my family and moved to my current residence on Clayton [Avenue] in April 2017, [where] I am a resident full time.

“This is a false accusation.”

Article has been updated with additional information.

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  1. The reason why it took nine months to process Carrasco’s outrageous school board fine, two years ago, was due to repeated attempts of the Registrar to mail her the details to non-existent addresses.

  2. Unfortunately, this sort of deception is more common than many people realize, but I doubt it will go anywhere. The Council itself is the ultimate enforcer of this rule, and even if the Vice Mayor wears no clothing they are not going to take her to task for it. With her allies in labor, her statewide connections to her ex-husband Kevin De Leon, and her stranglehold on the Mayor, she may be the most protected member of the Council.

    The fact that Carrasco appears to still not be living in D5 after representing it for over three years is pretty unbelievable, but I believe it because I have heard loose-lipped staffers of hers explicitly say that she does not live in the district. The irony is that she’s one of the best representatives D5 has had in some time.

    • She is the only member of the City Council who has had to at least two thousand dollars in fines to the FPPC.

      • She definitely benefits from the low bar set by her predecessor. The FPPC thing was complicated, and your comment encouraged me to revisit it. For anyone unfamiliar with it, here’s an older SJI article:

        What I believed at the time, and which I still suspect may be the case, was that this was a calculated move by Yellow Taxi Cab, in coordination with the Chamber of Commerce, against Carrasco. Maybe that’s hard to believe, and I can’t say I’m 100% sure it’s true. But I have heard stories of the Chamber doing things to Councilmembers as a way of testing them, such as taking them out to dinner and offering to pick up the tab, especially with new Councilmembers. In this case I think they may have knowingly entrapped Carrasco. It’s completely odd and unexplained why Yellow Taxi Cab money was used to pay for the trip, but if they knew they had Carrasco on their hook then it was a perfect opportunity to pick an issue coming before the council (Uber at the airport) and take a vote out of the equation. If I’m right, Matt Mahood and Derrick Seaver were some smart guys, and Jerry Strangis delivered enormously for his client.

        I don’t think this totally excuses Carrasco, because as Koehn notes in the linked article, accepting the trip just before she was sworn in was skirting the spirit of the law. She was accepting a gift from someone who would have business before the Council, whether or not there were larger machinations for the offering of the gift.

        • Ok, you raised valuable points. Well, Yellow Cab may be dirty, but Carrasco took the trip. The bait may have been placed but Carrasco enjoys a free meal. Look at her mentor, deleon. Carrasco and Deleon have a history of sticking their snouts in any free trough. Can you deny that Carrasco benefited from an independent committee that took thousands from Indian Casinos? Legal, but not very ethical. Yes, you are right, Shirakawa and Campos were not at all Boy Scouts. But does that mean Carrasco has a right to be even worse? Her school board file is littered with bad addresses and her major backs in the Legislature are bigger members of the Groper Caucus than any other caucus. Why is it ok to put up with a phony who may hand out lollipops. She is still a liar and a phony.

    • Regarding Maggie Carrasco, the comment that she’s one of the best representatives in D5 . Lets be clear on this to let the reader, this can be attributed to the email Newsletters that were not provided for past D5 council members. Or you can bet it will show that past District 5 City Council members were just as committed and involved in their community.

  3. > —not to the Toyon Avenue apartment Carrasco listed with the City Clerk’s Office.

    > my current residence on Clayton [Avenue] in April 2017, [where] I am a resident full time.

    Maybe Magdalena should straighten things out with the City Clerk’s Office.

    There. Problem solved.

    • That still does not solve the problem that she broke the law, and lied under oath. Should we sit on our hands and let the corruption continue unchecked?

          • Also, a reader pointed out earlier that it might be worth tuning into today’s Rules Committee to hear more public comment about the claim.

            Thanks for weighing in, you guys!

  4. To be clear, the committee rejected the claim because they are not authorized to investigate it, not because it was baseless.

  5. KEVIN DELEON has been investigated for his residency problems. As we speak, the shoe is about to drop on DeLeon’s involvement in a culture of harassment. Oh, Deleon also admitted Carrasco’s residency issues several years before

  6. Hmmm, what does the assessor say? I know. She lived at multiple addresses, or at least owned ones.

  7. The political career of Carrasco is one of arrangement. Look at her backers, the friends and allies of boyfriend, Kevin Deleon. Interesting that of all the legislators who backed Carrasco, 90% of the ones in California and Nevada are facing charges of groping staffers and lobbyists. Another deleon backer of Carrasco is Mercury Public Affairs, now keep deep in federal investigations concerning Trump. Others include Indian Casinos and political consultants such as John Stallman. So, Carrasco is not a representative of the people, just a tool of corrupt legislators and political hacks.

    What does the false residency issue show?

    Viewpark Circle.

    They show that Carrasco has never had to worry about rent, mortgages, or getting a job.

    The first two addresses are again, arrangements.

    Fppc, utilities, the County use the Viewpark Circle address. It took two years, one small claims lawsuit, and thousands of dollars to convince Carrasco to file paperwork.

    Well, yes, the matters may show that when it comes to paperwork, Carrasco is a bit of a ding a ling. That is the kind assumption. The actual assumption is that Carrasco is a spoiled brat who has a big sugar dad in Sacramento.

    A) she wants to a council member. Daddy DeLeon arranges it
    B) She wanted a job. Daddy DeLeon got it.
    C) Carrasco wants an apartment. Kevin arranged it.
    D) She wanted her coffee break buddy on the council, she even declared DeLeon will find
    Sylvia 40 thousand to run. Sylvia did little except let Kevin arrange it.

    So, for those who struggle every day, Carrasco is a symbol of a corrupt phony that skirts the law. Because she has Daddy DeLeon is there. No doubt US Senator DeLeon will get Carrasco a congressional seat when Lofgren retires.

  8. Just curious Jennifer, are there any elected officials in the city or county governments that are scandal free? It’s really tough in a one party system, all that backstabbing and skulduggery going on.

  9. It’s not a big deal since the previous councilmember and her degenerate brother never lived in the district either.

  10. The implication that D5 is being represented by someone who has been handed “everything” by her “boyfriend” is ludicrous and reeks of sexism. I don’t always agree with our council woman, however her leadership has been instrumental in the improvement of our district’s quality of life. While many challenges lay ahead, I do support her re-election. I want to live in a district where our leaders work to find solutions, listen to our concerns and can serve the needs of ALL residents not just those of “Plata Arroyo” or to represent the “libertarian principles”. I am not influenced by chisme and innuendo, rather but my interaction and experience living in D5 every day. My support is for the re election of Vice Mayor Magadalena Carrasco, the other 2 candidates simply do not bring anything but noise to the table, they do not appeal to me.

  11. Results are important. Does the end justify the means? No. I think NOT. I want the standards to be raised based on integrity. Is this too much to ask and expect? Just because its politics does it always have to associate with corruption? If so, then why can keep lowering the bar and expect nothing but abuse of power and funds. If not, what are we going to do about the status quo? Do we just keep voting for the least corrupt? Is this the best we can do? I believe that if this is the best, we are doomed. I chose to ask questions that need answers and not excuses. For example…where was the incumbent when the opportunity to address voters of the District 5 Council race? The cancellation 30 minutes before the event. Really? I am left to interpret if there is not an explanation given. I will wait…

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