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De Leon’s Double Standard: Fighting wage theft everywhere but Tom Steyer’s hedge fund

By on May 5, 2015
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Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León recently accused the media of holding Latino politicians to a “double standard.”

“There is a double standard in the media,” De Leon told La Opinion. “If a white politician has an event at Walt Disney Concert Hall its fine, nobody says anything, but if a Latino politician has an event there, then it is very bad, you have to do in the Barrio.”

Of course, senators in glass houses shouldn’t cast stones. De Leon has his own double standard: he campaigns against wage theft but ignores wage theft at the firm of Democratic super-donor Tom Steyer.

De Leon crusades against wage theft…

This year, de Leon has made wage theft one of his priority issues. He’s introduced legislation, according to the L.A. Times, that “would require companies to post a $150,000 bond toward employees’ back wages if the firms fail to pay what the state orders. Companies that don’t post the bond could face a stop-work order or a lien from the Labor Commissioner’s office that would attach to property owned by the employer.”

“Wage theft has reached epidemic proportions in California and it is literally robbing a shot at the American Dream from the very people who build the prosperity of our state,” Senator De León said in a recent press release.  “California must target the bad actors to level the playing field for honest businesses and help workers collect the pay they’ve earned.”

De Leon doesn’t have to look far to find the “bad actors” stealing wages from working class Californians. He need only look beside him at the next legislative committee hearing or Democratic fundraiser.

… Just Not at Tom Steyer’s Farallon Capital Management

Farallon Capital Management, the multi-billion dollar hedge fund founded by Tom Steyer, has allegedly failed to pay an employee overtime during Steyer’s tenure as head of the company. That’s according to a lawsuit filed last November by a former employee of Farallon Capital.

Tom Steyer

Tom Steyer

According to court documents reviewed by, (which are posted below), Elizabeth Wallace alleges that Farallon improperly classified her as a salaried exempt employee, failed to pay her overtime compensation, and engaged in unfair competition.

Farallon denies the allegations, but notified the court that the parties are attempting to settle.

Steyer isn’t explicitly named in the complaint, but Wallace’s allegations span from April 2007 to March 2014. Steyer stepped down as managing partner of Farallon in 2012.

Since Steyer’s retirement from the hedge fund world, he’s orchestrated a multi-million dollar campaign to elect Democrats and has tried to advance progressive causes to punish oil companies. That’s led him to Sacramento where he’s testified in support of de Leon’s green energy legislation.

Green energy mandates “robbing the hood”

Then again, the very green energy mandates pushed by Steyer and De Leon disproportionately hurt the poor. Last month, Steyer was at De Leon’s side to testify in support of Senate Bill 350, which would require California to obtain half of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.

As has covered in detail, low-income residents throughout the state are already watching their energy rates rise from the previous mandate, included in Assembly 327, which required that a third of the state’s energy come from renewable energy sources by 2020. 

“It’s called robbing the hood,” one Democratic state Senator said of the previous RPS mandate of 33% by 2020.

Farallon Wage Theft Lawsuit

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About John Hrabe

John Hrabe spends his time traveling the world as a freelance journalist. When he isn’t on an international flight, John writes about state and national politics for,, Huffington Post and the editorial pages of the Orange County Register. John’s most recent high-profile investigation uncovered the questionable labor practices of Goodwill Industries, the nonprofit organization famous for its secondhand clothing stores.

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