NYT, LAT background check on Hillary donor turns up new and exciting shadiness; Update: How much did Hsu’s “associates” contribute?

posted at 10:58 am on August 31, 2007 by Allahpundit

Credit where credit is due: this is a Democrats-only scandal thus far and between them they’ve got fully 11 reporters staffed to it. Count the bylines. It’s not just Hillary who’s got a headache here either, although she seems to have benefited most from Hsu’s largesse. Bob Kerrey, the once and maybe future senator from Nebraska and current head of the New School, made him a school trustee notwithstanding the almost comical degree of deception the two Times papers managed to discover in only two or three days of digging. Between that, the fundraising for Hillary, and Hsu’s donations to various other Dems down to the municipal level, how could no one have known?

Answer: Maybe they did. The LAT:

Hsu’s history includes more unsavory episodes and associations. In 1990, he allegedly was kidnapped by Chinese gang members in San Francisco as part of an apparent effort to collect a debt. A year and a half later, he pleaded no contest to a charge of fleecing investors in what authorities called a Ponzi scheme of fraud. Along the way, he left a bankruptcy filing and bitter investors who accused him of making off with their savings…

An ex-girlfriend — who is identified in court records but who asked not to be named in news accounts for fear of reprisal — said Hsu had conned her out of nearly $100,000. “He took advantage of me,” she said…

[Hsu's attorney, E. Lawrence] Barcella said Hsu returned to California in 1996 and made a series of successful investments in Silicon Valley — which accounts for Hsu’s ability to contribute so heavily to Democratic causes in recent years, Barcella said. Hsu also continued to be involved in the apparel business, Barcella said.

But details about Hsu’s activities since 1996 are elusive. Unlike in the 1980s, when Hsu’s name appeared in a flurry of business and court records, there is scant evidence that he was actively launching businesses or making contributions to politicians…

Hsu was affiliated with two businesses — Components Ltd. and Coopgors Ltd. — that have listed addresses on Fifth Avenue. But the building actually houses luxury apartments, not commercial offices, according to a doorman, who has worked there for the last 15 years. The doorman said Hsu lived in the building for a few years but moved out about four years ago.

A few blocks away on Broadway Avenue, office mates on the 10th floor of a building listed as the address for five of Hsu’s businesses said they had last seen him this week, when he picked up his mail.

He moved into the office about two years ago but never unpacked his boxes, said Ken Mulligan, 31, a sales executive for J.P. Doumak, a fabric supplier. He said Hsu would not visit the office space for months, then would show up for a few hours, say “hello,” check his mail, make a few phone calls and leave.

The NYT piles on:

There were no offices in buildings in New York’s garment district whose addresses were given for businesses with names like Components Ltd., Cool Planets, Next Components, Coopgors Ltd., NBT and Because Men’s clothing — all listed by Mr. Hsu in federal filings at different times.

At a new loft-style residential condominium in SoHo that was also listed as an address for one of his companies, an employee there said that he had never seen or heard of Mr. Hsu. Another company was listed at a condo that Mr. Hsu had sublet in an elegant residential tower in Midtown Manhattan just off Fifth Avenue, but an employee there said Mr. Hsu moved out two years ago, after having lived there for five years. The employee, who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about residents, said he recalled that Mr. Hsu had received a lot of mail from the Democratic Party.

Remember, Hsu’s fundraising is significant enough to the Clinton campaign to have qualified him for, ahem, “HillRaiser” status. Her response yesterday when asked why they didn’t think to check out this very important contributor? “Obviously, we will increase our vigilance.”

Painfully obvious exit question: Where’s he getting his money?

Update: Just an ordinary fundraiser, one of thousands. How could she be expected to check him out? Quote: “Many ‘HillRaisers’ — people who rustle up at least $100,000 for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign — are dwarfed beside Mr. Hsu (pronounced ‘Shu’). Several people involved in Democratic presidential fund-raising say Mr. Hsu, an apparel executive, has raised well over $1 million for the New York senator’s presidential campaign, making him one of the top 20 Democratic fund-raisers in the country.”

Update: He’s turned himself in on the outstanding warrant. $2 million bail.

Update: Remember, the first story about Hsu this week in the Journal all but accused him of laundering campaign contributions through the Paw family and others so that he could donate more than the legal limit. (Hsu denies it, of course.) Suitably Flip’s running the numbers on just how much cash Hsu’s “associates” have dumped into Democratic coffers. He’s already into seven digits.


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