Until now the founding members of Moms for Seattle, a new political action committee who've hired some shady consultants, have refused to reveal their identities on public disclosure forms because of "all the hate that's out there," as a "Moms" donor, Laura McMahon, told Nathalie on Tuesday.
Normally, PACs list the people who run them. That's partially how we know, for instance, that former interim Mayor Tim Burgess directs the People for Seattle PAC. This practice is good and right and true, because people should know who is working to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to influence their vote.
But Moms for Seattle have not been so transparent. The only contact info on their disclosure forms for is Kevin Topping, the PAC's treasurer and a spokesman for Speak Out Seattle.
On Thursday, The Stranger got ahold of an electronic invitation to the Moms for Seattle launch party in June at the Seattle Tennis Club in Madison Park, featuring special guest speaker Scott Lindsay. We also got another for a meeting in July with another "special guest speaker."
(You'd be forgiven for not following Lindsay's career too closely, but, assuming you haven't, you should know his role at the launch party is telling. With the help of the Downtown Seattle Association, Lindsay authored the "System Failure" report, which was heavily featured in KOMO's schlocky and dehumanizing Seattle Is Dying special, and which was heavily critiqued by Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes. Read more about the dubious claims contained within the report over at The C is for Crank.)
Anyhow, the hosts of the $6,600 launch party in June are listed in the invite as Betsy Losh, Laura McMahon, Celeste Ramberg, and Jeannine Christofilis. These women appear to be the Moms behind the PAC. I've written to McMahon and Christofilis and I will update this post when I hear back. In the meantime, let's learn a little about them.
Betsy Losh, aka Betsy Q. Terry, "is the most successful broker in the greater Seattle luxury market and lists and sells the highest quality residences, mansions and estates," according to her bio at Ewing and Clark, where she's a principal residential broker. Losh, who's married to Brian Losh, Chairman/Designated Broker at Ewing and Clark and a Republican donor, gave $5,000 to the PAC and lives in an ivy-covered manse.
A little more from Losh's bio:
Betsy has sold more homes in Seattle over $2,000,000 than any of her competitors and her achievements include the highest residential sale in Washington State. A direct descendant of William Nathaniel Bell, one of Seattle’s first white settlers in 1852, Betsy attended Seattle University, joined Ewing & Clark in 1977.
McMahon is the senior director at Point B consulting, where she leads "process- and technology-related projects in many industries, including government financials, supply chain, healthcare, insurance, and academic research centers," according to her bio.
McMahon, who donated $5,000 to "Moms," lives in a mansion on Capitol Hill and wouldn't say much to Nathalie when she showed up on her doorstep, saying she'd "been advised not to say anything." Who advised her? Probably some of these big business and developer lobbyists that her PAC hired as consultants.
In contracts between "Moms" and their consultants, Ramberg is listed as the PAC's steering committee chair. She also shelled out $5,000 for the PAC.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Ramberg worked as a marketing manager at Microsoft in the late 1990s. She also runs a blog called Napadaisical, though it appears to be defunct. She's also a pretty decent tennis player, according to USTA.com.
Ramberg is married to a guy named Sterling Ramberg, who made headlines last year when he sold his union gear shop, The Gear Works, to a nonunion gear company without telling his employees ahead of time.
Jeannine (Navone) Christofilis
Christofilis gave "Moms" over $8,100. C is for Crank reports that Jeannine is married to Dino Christofilis, head of Archon Capital Management, which is a hedge fund.
Jeannine once donated $1,000 to Maria Cantwell in 2006, and this year she's given to District 2 candidate Ari Hoffman, District 3 candidate Pat Murakami, and District 1 candidate Phil Tavel. Her husband, Dino, has donated money to Democrats Barack Obama and John Kerry, but he also gave Republican Dino Rossi $1,000 in his 2010 senate campaign against Patty Murray. Both donated $1,000 in opposition to the Washington income tax initiative.