Claremont Insider: Fruit Falling Far From the Tree

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fruit Falling Far From the Tree

CUSD Board Member
Jeff Stark
That photo of Jeff Stark at the Labor Day campaign kickoff for Russ Warner, the Democratic candidate running against incumbent Republican David Dreier for California's 26th congressional district seat, reminded us of some Stark's own family history and how it's linked to Dreier.

Dreier, for those of you who don't know, got his undergraduate degree in political science from Claremont Men's College (now Claremont McKenna College) in 1975. Dreier later earned a masters degree in government from Claremont Graduate School (now CGU). He also worked as a director of corporate relations at CMC. In 1980, our district elected Dreier to Congress, where he has been ensconced ever since.

At CMC Dreier (photo, right) no doubt crossed paths with Jeff Stark's father, Jack Stark, who was CMC's president from 1970 to 1999. Dreier would have also met Jeff's mother, Jil Stark, who was the director of the Marion Miner Cook Athenaeum. It turns out that the Starks kept in contact with Dreier after he became a congressman.

We checked and saw that both of Jeff's parents donated to Dreier's campaign war chest. The Huffington Post's FundRace listed two donations for Jil, one in 2009 for $1,000 and one in 2007 for $1,150. Notice that the latter contribution Jil's trustee position with the now-defunct PFF Bank & Trust, a 116-year-old local institution that survived the Great Depression but couldn't survive our Great Recession.

You'll recall that Jil Stark made a small fortune off PFF stock options right before the stock price plummeted. She may have used some of that windfall to help out a friend:

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Jack Stark, too, got into the act, throwing a $600 bone Dreier's way in 2009:

We noticed that the Starks' son Jeff is a registered Republican, so one would presume he's a Dreier supporter as well. That's why we were so surprised to see him caught at the Russ Warner event. We hear Jeff didn't stick around very long. Maybe word got out to Dreier's office. Or to Jeff's folks.

Next time, Jeff ought to send Ken Corhan in his place. Ken's much more slick when it comes to this kind of sneaking around.