San Francisco

Bay Area real estate mogul hosts high-dollar Trump-Pence fundraiser in Nob Hill

Donald Trump Jr. and former Fox News anchor Kimberly Guilfoyle were the guests of honor at a fundraiser for the Trump-Pence campaign last night in Nob Hill.

Carole McNeil, a longtime real estate investor, hosted the event at her luxurious California Street residence. The building is advertised as the “Crown Jewel of Nob Hill,” and another unit similar to McNeil's has been on the market since last November, with a list price of $10.9 million. 

Other hosts included former Fine Arts Museums president Dede Wilsey; Debby Magowan, part-owner of the San Francisco Giants; and Elizabeth and Clarke Swanson, of Swanson frozen food fame.

“It was terrific, it was very interesting,” attendee Greg Mendez said. “They said great things about our country and great things about our President.”

Tickets for the event started at $1,000, but couples who contributed $15,000  to the campaign got a photo opportunity with Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle. Couples who contributed more than $35,000 qualified for “Team 100 Membership.”

A staff member at the event told reporters that there were 52 attendees in all, with a likely fundraising total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The event invitation, obtained exclusively by the San Francisco Examiner.

On Tuesday, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Convention (RNC) reported raising $105 million in the second quarter of 2019. This puts the Trump campaign ahead of both its 2016 fundraising totals and the Obama campaign’s fundraising pace for the comparable quarter in 2011.

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told the New York Times that she is optimistic about the total.

"The RNC's record-breaking fundraising has allowed us to identify troves of new supporters online and continue investing in our unprecedented field program," she said. "Our grassroots army is already hard at work — putting us in prime position to re-elect President Trump and Republicans across the country."

Far from observing a grassroots army in the Bay Area, attendees told a Hoodline reporter that they've experienced social consequences for their support of the President.

“I have to watch everything I say,” said Michele Larsen of Marin County, who cites tax cuts and immigration policy as her primary reasons for supporting Trump. “You get attacked all the time.”

The nonprofit Tax Foundation cites the President's 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) as the most significant overhaul of American tax law in recent history. Though the White House touted the act as beneficial to the middle class, a recent report  from the Congressional Research Service found that the TCJA primarily resulted in substantial tax breaks for corporations, with little impact on individual income earners.

Deportations have increased under President Trump, and the administration has been harshly criticized for its family separation policy.

Photo: Sotheby's International Realty

Wednesday’s fundraiser drew a number of San Francisco’s major political donors, many of whom have also contributed to local Democrats.

Attendee Dede Wilsey was the biggest donor in 2016's local Democratic County Central Committee elections, supporting a slate of moderate Democrats backed by then-Mayor Ed Lee.

According to the San Francisco Ethics Commission, the event's host, Carole McNeil, has maxed out donations since 2014 to reelect Mark Farrell, Scott Wiener, and London Breed as city Supervisors. McNeil also supported Lee and Breed's mayoral campaigns.

McNeil and her late husband, Robert McNeil, are also major donors to the Hoover Institute, Stanford University’s conservative economic think tank.

Out-of-town guests, including 25-year-old Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, also made the rounds at the fundraiser. 

“[San Francisco] is a beautiful city with a lot of problems,” Kirk told Hoodline. His advice? “Stop electing Democrats.”


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