The morally fluid and corrupted pair Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, former Democrat Assemblywoman and current California Labor Federation leader-in-training, and San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher (also a Democrat, but a former Republican) are under more intense scrutiny, and it’s long overdue.
Conflict Watch, a watchdog arm of The Transparency Foundation, followed up on a complaint from a San Diego County resident, and whaddaya know? They actually hit pay dirt.
In 2021, Conflict Watch received a complaint from a resident of San Diego County that alleged that the chairman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, Nathan Fletcher, had potentially profited personally from his policies related to Covid-19.
The Transparency Foundation’s Conflict Watch initiated an investigation in late 2021 to examine the allegations against Fletcher, which included filing a demand for records from Fletcher’s county supervisorial office in November 2021. Unfortunately, Fletcher has steadfastly refused to comply with our records request under the California Public Records Act (CPRA) and we have retained legal counsel to litigate the matter.
Notwithstanding Fletcher’s illegal refusal to cooperate with the investigation, we have been able to utilize records already in the public domain to determine one potential conflict of interest by Nathan Fletcher on this matter.
Based on a simple review of news coverage, Board meeting minutes, and press materials distributed by Fletcher’s office, we determined that Nathan Fletcher backed some of the most extreme views and policies on Covid-19 lockdowns in the country.
That’s putting it mildly. Next to Governor Gavin Newsom, Fletcher put the “Idiot” in CoVIdiot. Since mid-2020, when San Diegans and other Californians began to push back on the lockdowns and closure of small businesses, both Fletcher and Gonzalez Fletcher doubled down on their insistence that lockdowns were necessary.
After the first major protest, Fletcher complained on Twitter that San Diego police allowed hundreds of protesters to violate the prohibition against public gatherings, since the sheriffs had issued citations to protesters who remained in their cars. His complaint was echoed by his wife, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, who on April 23 tweeted, “The push to ignore stay-at-home orders are a minority. And a death wish.” On May 3 she complained about supervisor Kristin Gaspar going on “a right wing radio station” and “calling [her husband] a dictator.”
COVID-19 dis-information is a public health crisis.
— Nathan Fletcher (@nathanfletcher) August 30, 2021
Fletcher advocated for substantial limitations on personal freedoms, sweeping lockdowns of wide swaths of the economy, and aggressive condemnations of violators of his county Covid restrictions. Fletcher also used San Diego County policy decisions to promote a national narrative favoring more restrictive Covid-19 policies.
Despite Newsom’s shift on the indoor mask mandates in California, and increased easing of restrictions across the state, the people of San Diego are looking to rid themselves of Nathan Fletcher, and The Transparency Foundation findings may well help that along.
The 'Fed Up With Fletcher' PAC is beginning their campaign to defeat Supervisor @NathanFletcher in the 2022 election.
A lot of Democrats attended the meeting, many even voted for Fletcher in 2018, but are outraged with his COVID-19 leadership
More info: https://t.co/2fe44Y4QIN pic.twitter.com/2BGRKtHhUl
— KUSI News (@KUSINews) November 18, 2021
Under California law, every year elected officials and public employees who make or influence government decisions must submit a Form 700 Statement of Economic Interest detailing, among other things, their personal finances, income, real estate, and stock holdings, etc.
The Transparency Foundation obtained a copy of Fletcher’s Form 700 from 2020, which details Fletcher’s investment in multiple stocks in March and April 2020 — at the beginning of the pandemic.
Our investigation has uncovered evidence that Fletcher seems to have engaged in suspicious stock trades during the early period of the pandemic in companies that would benefit from Covid-19 lockdowns — and then aggressively supported such lockdowns as a matter of public policy.
Fletcher is a good soldier for the Newsom and Biden administrations, massaging the lie of “Pandemic of the unvaccinated,” and pushing vaccines and masking of children as righteously as he pushed the lockdowns.
In San Diego, 99% of COVID cases/hospitalizations/deaths are now from the unvaccinated.
The solution is simple—trust your doctor—get a vaccine. https://t.co/pe9Vw8nD8Y
— Nathan Fletcher (@nathanfletcher) July 23, 2021
Aside from being a True Believer in endless pandemic restrictions, we have a window into another Why. The Fletchers profited handsomely from their stock investments during the COVID lockdowns. As The Transparency Project reports, in early 2020, the beginning days of the pandemic, Fletcher and Gonzalez Fletcher invested between $32,000 and $160,000 in companies whose stock might benefit because of the pandemic: Zoom, CVS Health, Chemed, Apple, Cisco, Ball Corporation, Hormel, and LHC Group, Inc. They cashed out on all of the investments except for LHC Group just a few months later.
Zoom: a teleconferencing service that benefited from increased remote working conditions.
Fletcher bought this stock on 4/6/2020 at $113.63. Sold on 6/3/2020 at $223.87 for a 97% profit.
CVS health: a health products retailer and Covid test provider that benefited from increased health product purchases.
Fletcher bought this stock on 3/19/2020 at $56.80. Sold on 6/3/2020 at $87.06 for a 53% profit.
LHC Group, Inc: a hospice and home healthcare company that benefited from an increased need for at-home healthcare solutions.
Fletcher bought this stock on 3/19/2020 at $113.91. Not sold as of 2020 report, valued today at $136.17 for a potential 20% profit.
Chemed: a health center that benefited from increased reliance on health solutions and providers.
Fletcher bought this stock on 3/19/2020 at $360.50. Sold on 8/27/2020 at $510.77 for a 42% profit.
Apple: a technology and computer company that benefited from an increased need for reliable at-home personal computers.
Fletcher bought this stock on 4/6/2020 at $62.72. Sold on 6/3/2020 at $81.28 for a 30% profit.
Hormel: a packaged food company that benefited from increased purchases of nonperishables.
Fletcher bought this stock at 4/6/2020 $48.68. Sold on 6/3/2020 at $47.67 for a 2% loss.
Cisco: a telecommunications and networking technology company that benefited from increased online and digital reliance.
Fletcher bought this stock on 4/6/2020 at $40.46. Sold on 6/3/2020 at $46.94 for a 16% profit.
Ball Corp: an aerospace company specializing in packaging and storage solutions that benefited from increased time-spend at home and reliance on packaged foods.
Stock bought on 4/6/2020 at $64.10. Sold on 6/3/2020 at $73.95 for a 15% profit.
In 2020, Fletcher was a member of a Board subcommittee on COVID-19, where he received daily, private briefings from San Diego County staff about the progression of the pandemic, including what corporations were involved in the pandemic response. Which begs the question:
What Did Nathan Fletcher know and when did he know it? Did Fletcher have access to certain information that helped to inform his stock trading?
Based on the numbers provided by The Transparency Foundation and the Fletchers’ Form 700 information, it appears that the couple made between $10,000 and $50,000 in profit from their short-term investment.
However, as public officials, where would they get that type of cash to invest in the first place? Fletcher’s District 4 Board of Supervisors salary in 2020 was $205,471. Gonzalez Fletcher, who was the District 80 Assemblywoman at the time, earned $114,237.11 in 2020, plus $18,907.80 in benefits.
In January 2022, Gonzalez Fletcher resigned her Assembly seat in order to be next in line for the position of Executive Secretary-Treasurer for the California Labor Federation, making her essentially the leader of the most powerful labor organization in the state. This same organization partnered with Gonzalez Fletcher to ensure AB5 was made law, so the relationship is more than a partnership, it’s downright incestuous.
POLITICO wrote a piece in November of 2021 exposing that Gonzalez Fletcher was negotiating her move into this position while she still held her Assembly seat. The California Labor Federation officials had made a non-binding vote to endorse Gonzalez Fletcher as their next leader. This, despite the fact that then-Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski had not even reached the end of his term or given any indication that he was officially stepping down.
Gonzalez Fletcher pretended to be shocked—shocked that POLITICO could report such a thing, and promptly took to her Twitter account, where she does her best gaslighting:
Stop texting me. No one has offered me a job. I read it in Politico, too.
— Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (@LorenaSGonzalez) November 24, 2021
Soon after the POLITICO article broke, RedState reported that Reform California filed an ethics complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) about Gonzalez Fletcher’s questionable negotiations with the California Labor Federation.
All of these companies directly benefited from Fletcher’s lockdown policies. Moreover, days after selling his stock positions in many of these companies, Fletcher announced the loosening of lockdowns for San Diego County. Did Fletcher’s personal financial positions influence his decision making regarding lockdowns?
RedState launched off The Transparency Foundation’s investigation and uncovered that soon after the sale of these stocks, Fletcher and Gonzalez Fletcher made a major purchase — a vacation home in Big Bear, a mountain community in Southern California.
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. (Editor’s Note: We are not revealing the address of the cabin for privacy purposes.)
Both Fletchers routinely post photos from weekends and holidays getaways at the cabin, a mere 2.5-hour drive from Gonzalez Fletcher’s poverty-stricken Assembly district on Instagram. Assembly District 80, near Chula Vista, is the second-poorest in the state.
So where, pray tell, did that money come from?
In the next part of this exclusive, we’ll delve deeper into the potential sources.