Anti-Arena Petition Scandal Continues as More Withdraw Signatures

SACRAMENTO–

Wednesday, FOX40 made another attempt to find the folks behind GOCO Consulting –  the company listed in state filings as having received Chris Hansen’s money for efforts to stop a new Kings arena in Sacramento.

At first there was no answer, but then owner Julie Griffiths came walking up J Street toward her home office.

She didn’t want to speak on camera about how $80,000 from a Seattle investor who tried to steal the Kings flowed through her company to paid signature gatherers.

The mission of those gatherers is aligned with an anti-arena ballot measure being pushed by S.T.O.P. – or Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork.

Off-camera, Griffiths said one of her four partners in GOCO, Paul Olson, handled this signature effort.

She likened her business to the general contractor on a construction site and Paul’s Olson & Associates to a sub-contractor.

The lawsuit filed by California’s Fair Political Practices Commission over missed election disclosures suggests Olson and GOCO are one and the same.

Olson didn’t return calls Wednesday.

The FPPC suit forced the revelation of Hansen as the money man behind paid petition efforts against an arena partially-funded by the city of Sacramento.

More state filings list GOCO as the agent for Hansen’s political action committee.

Those forms also indicate GOCO paid Momentum Political Services to circulate the petition that S.T.O.P. says supports them, but has nothing to do with them.

The twists in what some see as the story of a sore Seattle-loser trying to wreck plans for the winner of the Kings will mean a lot of work for the registrar of voters in Sacramento County.

“We’ve never had this many withdrawals on a petition,” said registrar Jill LaVine.

In the past, her office has dealt with a max of 80 withdrawals on a petition. But so far LaVine’s aware of  three thousand withdrawals by folks who no longer want to be signed on to an effort they see as tainted by Hansen.

What will happen to the signatures his money sponsored is still anyone’s guess.

The billionaire hasn’t responded to requests by pro-arena groups to forgo turning the names over to S.T.O.P. and S.T.O.P. won’t say if they already have them.

Once whatever set of names make it to Jill LaVine for final review, they will all be considered.

“Once we have the signatures,  I don’t care what the political problems were, we’re going to go through them and verify that,” she said.