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Former Supervisor Sued over Alleged Violations of Lobbyist Ordinance

Scott Lucas | December 4, 2013 | Story Politics

City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed suit today against former Supervisor Michael Yaki, alleging that he violated the city's lobbyist ordinance when he unsuccessfully advocated for the extension of a city policy that would have benefited his client, Rescue Air Systems, which makes a firefighter safety system. At the heart of the suit is whether Yaki failed to register as a lobbyist, to disclose payments for lobbying, and to report with whom he had been in contact. Yaki faces over 70 charges, each of which carry a minimum $5,000 fine. The full text of the complaint is avaliable here.

In a statement, Herrera said that "the evidence is overwhelming that Mr. Yaki brazenly flouted a law with which he had no excuse to be unfamiliar." Yaki had voted in favor of the city's lobbyist ordinance when he served on the Board of Supervisors in 2000.

"There is an exception within the ordinance allowing attorney representation," said Yaki. "And as an attorney I worked within the parameters." According to Yaki, who is not a registered lobbyist, Rescue Air Systems had retained several separate lobbying firms on the matter.

The case stems from an unsuccessful attempt by Rescue Air Systems to persuade the city officials to continue to require buildings over 75 feet to install a firefighter air replenishment system that was only manufactured by the San Carlos-based company. According to the City Attorney, Yaki "lobbied fire commissioners, S.F. Fire Department officials, staff in the Mayor's Office, and members of the Board of Supervisors and legislative aides to extend the legal requirement."

"I look forward to positively resolving this matter with the City Attorney," said Yaki.

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