Today is the twelfth day (for review, see parts eleven, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two and one) in which I look at Unity08′s 4th Quarter donors, straight down in order from top to bottom of Unity08′s 4th Quarter IRS report. My intention is to provide some context to claims by Unity08 about itself. If you visit http://www.unity08.com/believe, you will find that Unity08, the president-electing corporation, makes this bold assertion:
Unity08 intends to fix this broken system by electing a bipartisan â€œUnity Ticketâ€ to the White House in â€˜08 funded solely by small-dollar donations from everyday Americans. As a result the Unity08 President and Vice President will enter office not with favors owed to lobbyists and special interests but with a clear mandate from the American people to cooperate and provide courageous leadership on the most crucial, complex issues facing our country.
â€œSmall-dollar donationsâ€ from â€œeveryday Americansâ€ and â€œpeople like youâ€? It’s easy to say that. It sounds good on paper. But does reality match the claim? That’s what I’m trying to figure out.
So here’s the next set. Are they “everyday Americans”? Are they “people like you”?
1. Hilda Ochoa-Brillembourg, $5,000 donation. Ochoa-Brillembourg shares a home with Arturo Brillembourg in Easton, Maryland. Their home is not listed in the Zillow database, but its nearest neighbor lives in a mansion of over 10,000 square feet with an estimated value of $4.1 million. Their neighbor on the other side lives in a 3,575 square foot house with an estimated value of $1.3 million. Ochoa-Brillembourg is part of the elite DC social circuit: click here for pictures of Ochoa-Brillembourg at a private dinner thrown by the Brazillian ambassador to the U.S. as well as two charitable gala events. Also on that page is a charming shot of Hilda Ochoa-Brillembourg arm in arm with Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer, who showed up to celebrate Arturo Brillembourg’s birthday. Oh, look: the former President of Bolivia and the Moroccan, Jordanian and Colombian ambassadors were there too. You can catch a shot of Ochoa-Brillembourg’s fancy residence on the shore there as well.
Ochoa-Brillembourg has an additional home in Georgetown, mentioned by Diplomatic Pouch as it reports on a candlelight dinner thrown there for a departing ambassador to Chile.
But enough about the sparkling elite social life of Hilda Ochoa-Brillembourg. There’s more to her than that. You see, she is also on the board of directors of McGraw-Hill, which features this biography of her:
Hilda Ochoa-Brillembourg, age 61, is the founder and has been since 1987 the President and Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Investment Group, a group of affiliated investment management firms, and Managing Director of Emerging Markets Investment Corporation and Emerging Markets Management, LLC. From 1976 to 1987, she was Chief Investment Officer of the Pension Investment Division at the World Bank. Prior to joining the World Bank, she served as an independent consultant in the fields of economics and finance, as a lecturer at the Universidad Catolica Andres Bello in Venezuela and as Treasurer of the C.A. Luz Electrica de Venezuela in Caracas. Ms. Ochoa-Brillembourg is a Director of General Mills, Inc., the World Bank/International Monetary Fund Credit Union and the Harvard Management Company, Inc. Ms. Ochoa-Brillembourg is Founding Chair of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas and a Trustee and Executive Committee member of the Washington National Opera. She is also a Trustee of the Executive Committee of the National Symphony Orchestra and an Advisory Board member of the Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University.
Hilda Ochoa-Brillembourg may be a stellar human being. But she is hardly an “everyday American,” and unless you are fixed in the DC firmament yourself, she is not a “person like you.”
2. Scott Smallwood, $5,000 contribution. Mr. Smallwood lives in a house in Arlington, Virginia with six and a half bathrooms, measuring 5,664 square feet and with a tax-assessed value of $1.9 million. The Unity08 disclosure report fails to disclose an employer and an occupation for Scott Smallwood, but a quick search of the Federal Election Commission database lists Scott Smallwood as Executive Director at Morgan Stanley.
3. William C. Eacho, $5,000 donation. William Eacho is CEO of Carlton Capital Group, Llc., an investment firm for wealthy people. When Eacho joined the board of directors of Tibersoft, the company offered this biography:
Eacho is CEO of Carlton Capital Group, a private equity investment firm in Washington, D.C. In 1998 he was executive vice president of Alliant Foodservice Inc., a $6 billion national food service distributor based in Chicago, with primary responsibility for technology and acquisition strategy.
Eacho joined Alliant in 1997 when he sold the company his business, Atlantic Food Services, a $200 million regional food service distribution company based in Manassas, Va.. In 1989 Atlantic was recognized as the industry’s innovator of the year by ID Magazine, and in 1994 it received ID’s great distributor organization award.
Prior to that Eacho was a founding co-chairman of UniPro Foodservice Inc., the food service distribution industry’s top procurement and marketing cooperative, with combined member sales of over $20 billion. From 1996-1997, he served as chairman of ComSource, a $9 billion cooperative, until helping to negotiate a merger with its leading competitor, EMCO, to create UniPro Foodservice.
Eacho serves on the boards of directors of Capital Transportation Inc., Stanley Martin Companies Inc., Systems 4 Inc. and Bialek Healthcare Environments Inc.
4. James V. Kimsey, $5,000 donation. As is sadly typical, Unity08 does not report an occupation or employer for James V. Kimsey. His typographically-incorrect address, “170 Penna Ave. Mw Suite 900 Washington, DC 20006,” does not result in any listings even in google, even when corrected to Pennsylvania Ave. NW. There is a “170 Pennsylvania Avenue” in Niantic, Connecticut, but as a mapquest query verifies, there is no 170 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC.
Fortunately, a Fundrace search for James V. Kimsey identifies his correct address as 1700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20006 (and identifies him as a contributor to both George W. Bush and Al Sharpton). Now, 1700 Pennsylvania Avenue is not a normal address. It is literally across the street from the White House, and just down the block from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Who is James V. Kimsey to maintain an office at such a high-powered location? The International Crisis Group, where Kimsey serves on the board along with fellow $5,000 donor Joanne Leedom-Ackerman and former Filipino President Fidel Ramos, provides this biography of Kimsey:
Mr. Kimsey is best known for creating the largest company ever started in the Washington, DC area â€“ America Online, Inc. He currently serves as Chairman Emeritus. Mr. Kimsey left AOL to focus his energies on philanthropy, and in 1996, he launched the Kimsey Foundation which provides grants that benefit the Washington, DC community in areas from arts to education.
Over the years, Mr. Kimsey has received numerous entrepreneurship awards. He received Presidential appointments to the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees and the West Point Board of Visitors. In 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell named Mr. Kimsey as Chairman of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), an organization dedicated to identifying hundreds of thousands of missing from conflicts and natural disasters around the world, through DNA research. Mr. Kimsey also serves as Chairman Emeritus of Refugees International, an independent advocacy group which works to protect refugees and end the cause of displacement. He also serves as a member of the board of the International Crisis Group (ICG), an independent, non-profit, multinational organization committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict.
James Kimsey is a member of the board of several companies including the JER Investors Trust, and Thayer Capital. He is on the board of directors of the American Film Institute, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Business Executives for National Security, and the Department of Defense Business Board. He serves on the Executive Committees of the Washington National Opera, and on the National Symphony Orchestra.
Are these “people like you”? If so, I’d love to hear more about your very interesting life. Learn more about the interesting lives of other “everyday Americans” who are funding Unity08 in our next installment, coming soon.