Pro-Development Activist Arrested On Suspicion Of Voter Fraud

Pro-Development Activist Arrested On Suspicion Of Voter Fraud
Photos:  Donald Dewsnup/Twitter (left) and Brian Tobin/Flickr
By Geri Koeppel - Published on April 06, 2016.

Donald Dewsnup, a pro-development activist and SFBARF member who was involved in a recent flap concerning the local Sierra Club leadership, has been arrested for allegedly committing voter fraud.

According to a press release from the office of District Attorney George Gascón, Dewsnup was arraigned on charges of registering to vote using a false address. The fraudulent voter registration enabled him to vote in a supervisorial district in which he did not reside—specifically, District 3.

The press release states:

To ensure the integrity of the electoral process, California law requires voters to put their true residential addresses on their voter registration forms. Dewsnup, a licensed realtor, is also accused of providing a false address to the California Bureau of Real Estate. He is charged with three felony counts of filing a false document with a government agency, two felony counts of perjury, and two felony counts of false voter registration.  According to court documents, Dewsnup used these false addresses in order to infiltrate a neighborhood association on Telegraph Hill, where he did not reside, with the purpose of advancing his personal political agenda.

Dewsnup was arrested by San Francisco District Attorney Investigators on Tuesday, and arraigned on the felony charges today. He was released on his own recognizance, and will appear in court again on April 19th for a pre-hearing conference.

Hoodline previously reported that Dewsnup was one of a slate of SFBARF and pro-development members who ran to lead the Sierra Club's San Francisco group in order to support more high-density housing. Their bid was quashed.

During Dewsnup's run, preservation advocate Jon Golinger, a longtime Sierra Club and Telegraph Hill Dwellers member, told us Dewsnup provided false San Francisco addresses to the Department of Elections, California Bureau of Real Estate and Telegraph Hill Dwellers, in order to discredit his attempt to run for the San Francisco group. 

At the time, we looked into Golinger’s claims and found that Dewsnup did indeed provide false information, giving at least three addresses on Telegraph Hill that we confirmed were not his residence. We asked Dewsnup directly in a text message if he lived on Telegraph Hill and he replied, "Yes." We asked, "At 230 Filbert St.?" which was the address he used to register to vote, and he replied no, 228 Filbert. We confirmed with the owner of that property that he didn't live there. He also told us he lived at 238 Filbert, which is an address that doesn't exist.

Incidentally, Dewsnup was also an avid supporter of Julie Christensen in her bid to retain the District 3 supervisor seat, even marching with her contingent in the Italian Heritage Parade in October. SFBARF founder Sonia Trauss told the Examiner that Dewsnup is homeless, and is being harassed.