When we last left the San Diego Board of Supervisors’ Nathan Fletcher and his wife, former Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (both Democrats), the watchdog group the Transparency Foundation reported on their questionable stock purchases in 2020 of companies that were pivotal to the COVID pandemic response.
From March through June of 2020, these stock trades were executed. During that period, as part of the San Diego Board of Supervisors’ COVID-19 subcommittee, Fletcher received daily private briefings from county staff on the progression of the pandemic, raising the question on whether Fletcher had access to information that would help inform his stock trading; information that is not available to the general public. While Fletcher and Gonzalez Fletcher played around with these stocks, they also championed and enforced policies to keep the unconstitutional California State of Emergency and its requisite lockdowns and COVID restrictions in place, and insisted on mandating COVID-19 vaccination policies and perpetrating lies about those who chose not to receive the COVID-19 vaccinations.
In the days after the stock sales, as chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Fletcher shifted gears and announced the loosening of lockdowns for San Diego County.
The timing of all this all too convenient.
As RedState reported in Part 1 of this exclusive, after profiting from the sales of stock, in August of 2020, Fletcher and Gonzalez Fletcher bought a $395,000 cabin in the mountain community of Big Bear:
The couple put $79,000 down in the transaction, which closed on August 25, 2020. Mortgage documents reveal that the amount borrowed was $316,000, and public records show the sale price as $395,000.
However, in 2018, Fletcher, fresh off one divorce and newly-married to Lorena Gonzalez, was seeking to reduce his spousal and child support payments to his ex-wife.
Superior court records show that Fletcher, his annual income slashed when he was let go as an executive by Qualcomm, sought in October of last year to reduce spousal and child support payments to ex-wife Mindy Tucker Fletcher, once a high-ranking aide to GOP President George W. Bush.
“On December 7, 2016, Respondent and I entered into a Marital Settlement Agreement that required that I pay each month to Respondent $5,250 in spousal support and $3,000 in child support for a total monthly support obligation of $8,250,” per Fletcher. “I have been paying this amount since January of 2017.”
“At the time that these support obligations were established, I was employed by Qualcomm, Incorporated and University of California, San Diego. I advised Respondent at that time that Qualcomm was planning to eliminate my position, thereby reducing my income substantially. She responded that she expected to obtain paid employment soon. On March 31, 2017, my position with Qualcomm, Inc. was eliminated,”
Per his statement, Fletcher’s current service as a so-called professor of practice at UCSD, which ex-dean of social sciences Jeffrey Elman once considered funding with contributions from billionaire Qualcomm founder and Fletcher political backer Irwin Jacobs, is only modestly compensated.
“I concede that I have the capacity to earn more than my current monthly pay of $2,095.33 from the University of California, San Diego,” the statement says.
That was early in 2018, and Nathan Fletcher was crying that he was too poor to keep up his alimony and child support payments. By November 2018, Fletcher had won his election to Board of Supervisors, and by 2020 was pulling in a hefty salary of $193,470.61 annually. He discarded the modest salary of UCSD professorship for the Board of Supervisors position and greater influence through board of director positions with the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System and the Tobacco Securitization Authority of Southern California. In 2020, Gonzalez Fletcher was still Assemblywoman for District 80 in Chula Vista, and pulled in an annual salary of $109,403.07.
The couple purchased their City Heights home in April of 2019 for $580,000 with zero down, then refinanced that home in December of that year for $7,650 above the price paid in April. So, with little equity built in the primary residence (not to mention mortgaged to the hilt), how does one swing a $79,000 down payment and get cleared for another $315,000 loan with one half of the couple in a new position? Did Fletcher’s political sugar daddy Irwin Jacobs front the money? Or maybe Gonzalez Fletcher received kickbacks in the Assembly from her double agent work as a Labor stooge? For public officials on taxpayer-funded salaries, these two seem to be awash in conveniently-placed cash at just the right moments.
However, some of our commenters on the site see the questionable stock purchases and the overly-convenient vacation home purchase as a nothing burger. Some argue that The Fletchers have every right to trade and make informed investment decisions, even during a pandemic. They also have every right to purchase a vacation home and there is no out-of-place opulence or red flags in any of this.
Those points are noted. However, it is not the purchases in and of themselves that call their ethics into question, but the choices of stock, and the particular timing on the purchase of the Big Bear home.
As the Transparency Foundation reports, Fletcher is blocking the release of his records under the California Public Records Act. Which begs another question: If you have nothing to hide, why block the release of information that the public has every right to access?
While every American citizen, including politicians, have the right to said purchases, the constituents who elected these politicians have every right to question the ethical implications resident in the manner and means of such purchases, and whether corruption or malfeasance was involved.
Yet the problem remains: there clearly exists either a real or perceived conflict of interest of Nathan Fletcher trading and profiting from Covid-19 stocks while taking more extreme policy positions on Covid-19. The result is a loss of public trust and confidence in Nathan Fletcher regarding his handling of Covid-19 — and public decision makers writ large.
Matt Stockton, Treasurer of the Transparency Foundation, says the findings of the Conflict Watch investigation raise serious conflict of interest concerns that need to be addressed.
“Stock trades like these can undermine public trust and confidence in their elected officials and Supervisor Nathan Fletcher at least has a lot of explaining to do,” said Stockton.
That good ship public trust sailed a while ago. In October of 2021, a civil rights lawsuit was filed against the San Diego County Board of Supervisors over their COVID restrictions and inflated numbers used to keep those restrictions in place. This is a clear indication that if there was any shred left, it has dissipated.
The question still remains whether The Fletchers were simply babes in the woods, or if they intentionally set out to enrich themselves.
Two of the seven stock purchases that directly affected the lives of Californians were the ones with CVS Health and Zoom. These stocks are where Fletcher and Gonzalez Fletcher made their biggest profit.
For the CVS Health purchase, the Transparency Foundation reports,
Fletcher bought this stock on 3/19/2020 at $56.80. Sold on 6/3/2020 at $87.06 for a 53% profit.
According to Open Secrets, in 2020 CVS Healthcare (affiliated with Aetna and CareMark) PAC has contributed over $3 million to federal elections, and Follow the Money shows contributions to statewide elections, including California. CVS CareMark has already contributed $31,000 to Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2022 re-election campaign.
They haven’t appeared to be overly partisan in their leanings; the corporation PAC and its employees have given to Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated parties. CVS also funded lobbyist to the tune of $6.5 million in 2018, and contributed heavily to campaign committees, the people who create the poll-tested and manufactured candidates they want to run, then fund their campaigns.
Let that sink in. As elected officials, if you are going to choose stocks to purchase, then it might be a consideration to steer clear of a stock that isn’t a lightning rod or stuffed full of political baggage. But Fletcher and Gonzalez Fletcher appear to have had no such concerns.
Then there is CVS’ role in the pandemic response. CVS purchased Aetna, a health insurance company in 2014. In 2019, CVS updated its model from pharmacies to “HealthHubs” moving their MinuteClinic format, where customers could pick up their prescriptions and check their blood pressure and heart rate, to actual in-person treatment of minor illnesses or non-emergency concerns. With thousands of these HealthHubs throughout California, whether this was planned or circumstantial, CVS was positioned to be at the forefront of COVID testing in 2020, and in vaccine distribution in 2021.
In the purchase of the stock, Fletcher and Gonzalez Fletcher were perfectly positioned to profit from CVS Health’s expansion.
Fletcher and Gonzalez Fletcher profited most handsomely from the Zoom stock, according to the Transparency Foundation report,
Fletcher bought this stock on 4/6/2020 at $113.63. Sold on 6/3/2020 at $223.87 for a 97% profit.
Zoom doesn’t require great explanation. The entire California Teachers Unions used Zoom to do their “distance learning,” and every politician has used the excuse of COVID to employ Zoom as the gatekeeper between their constituents and themselves. Governor Newsom has used his emergency powers to neuter the Brown Act, so most of the elected class, including Nathan Fletcher, have made up the rules of engagement as they went along, while exempting themselves from those same rules.
Which has been par for the course for the California elected class in general, and these two specifically.
— Fed Up With Fletcher (@FedUpWFletcher) March 8, 2022
Nathan Fletcher and Lorena Gonzalez Photographed Maskless at Garth Brooks Concert https://t.co/pSm6cbim6H
— RM (@WaTxCa) March 10, 2022
Stockton said the Conflict Watch investigation into the Fletcher matter is simply an example of a much larger problem nationally of the public questioning whether politicians and government officials benefited personally from Covid-19 policies.
An even bigger problem that RedState uncovered, is Fletcher’s relationship with the troubled Molina Healthcare Inc. headquartered out of Long Beach. CVS Healthcare must have reached its legal limit of financial contribution to California and its politicians, so Molina Healthcare was next in line.
Molina Healthcare has two whistleblower complaints against them for Medicare fraud. In 2021, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed a lawsuit originally filed in 2017 by Thomas Prose under the False Claims Act to move forward. Prose founded GenMed, a former contractor with Molina, and alleges that Molina billed for Medicare when no actual services were provided.
According to the lawsuit, the contract called for Molina to provide care for nursing facility residents by medical professionals who specialize in caring for such residents. Such care is known as skilled nursing facility, or SNF, care, and the people who provide it are known as SNFists under Illinois law.
Prose alleged that, from 2014 until early 2015, Molina contracted with GenMed to provide SNF care to the highest-tier patients, since it could not do so itself. However, after terminating its contract with GenMed, Molina continued to collect payments from Medicaid at the highest rate for nursing home patients, even though it was no longer providing SNF care.
Prose alleged that Molina fraudulently induced the government to renew its contract with the company in 2016 and 2017 by misrepresenting that it would provide the SNF services.
Another lawsuit filed in 2018, and unsealed in 2020 alleges that Molina fraudulently charged for children’s health services.
So it is of interest that Fletcher’s Form 803 Behested Payment Report mentions Molina Healthcare Inc. along with political consultant firm Forbes Tate Partners, receiving an $111,000 behested payment for sponsorship and execution of a PSA campaign.
There used to be reasonable videography and production services, many of them in San Diego County. Thanks to Gonzalez Fletcher’s AB5 law, that pretty much decimated this industry. But even with that in mind, this is still California, and Hollywood is a mere 117 miles away from San Diego: in what universe does a PSA cost this amount of money? How much was Forbes Tate Partners consulting fee in putting all this together? Doesn’t Fletcher have staff in San Diego County who can do the same thing?
Further, what does this say about Nathan Fletcher’s priorities for the people of San Diego County whom he claims to serve? Certainly not to save their lives, their money, or defend their individual rights and liberties. If this were the case, the group “Fed Up With Fletcher” would not exist to challenge Fletcher’s record and ensure he is not re-elected.
Right wing, anti vax activists have launched a PAC to defeat me.
— Nathan Fletcher (@nathanfletcher) September 24, 2021
Mrs. Nathan Fletcher, Lorena Gonzalez herself, fails to understand the purpose of that part of the first amendment where citizens can petition the government for a redress of grievances. Since Nathan Fletcher as a representative of California’s government has done all he can to restrict the peaceable assembly part, citizens have every right to monitor his public social media accounts and compare his public stances with his private behavior:
Nathan Fletcher wants to win a second term as the District 4 Board Supervisor. He hopes to then parlay that experience into a run for the Democrat Central Committee in 2024. Should he succeed in both, he would have more money, and more power to choose candidates and set political policies and agendas.
So, for Nathan Fletcher, political offices are merely a means to an end, rather than any real attempt to serve and do good. His challenger for the Board of Supervisor seat, Amy Reichert, points to this:
As a state-licensed investigator, I began to watch every single San Diego County Press Conference and San Diego County Board of Supervisor meeting. It was clear that the one person responsible for weaponizing the San Diego Sheriff’s department to arrest business owners was none other than San Diego Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.
We watched as Nathan Fletcher ignored parents and small business people calling into the Board of Supervisors begging for help. Instead, he just played with his cell phone and tweeted foul language demonizing parents and his own constituents.
People Nathan Fletcher did not agree with were called Nazis by him. As someone who was raised Jewish, I found Nathan Fletcher’s flippant use of the word Nazi appalling.
The Board of Supervisors locked the people out from facing their elected officials for 13 months. I led and organized a “Let Us In” rally so elected officials could hear the cries and see the tears of the people who were hurting from prolonged lockdowns.
We deserve someone who will truly represent the people of San Diego.
If you follow Fletcher’s and Gonzalez Fletcher’s social media feeds, any opposition to the agendas Fletcher champions is painted as either anti-vaxxer, right-wing, Nazi, or white supremacist. This is what masquerades as reasonable dialogue with this purported man of the people.
Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher has already made the move to skirt accountability for her benighted public record by exiting the California Assembly and returning to her Labor stronghold. It is clear that Fletcher does not want to be accountable to the people of San Diego County, but he’ll do all he can to try and convince you this is not the case.
Originally Posted on: https://redstate.com/jenniferoo/2022/03/18/exclusive-san-diego-county-board-of-supervisors-nathan-fletcher-continues-to-skirt-ethics-and-credulity-with-questionable-behested-payments-n535596