Butt says he was scammed, wink, wink

Richmond Councilman Tom Butt says he inadvertently blasted a forged letter singing the praises of Measure T, purportedly from the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. The chamber has been adamantly opposed to Measure T, which would levy a tax on the value of materials used in manufacturing.

In an updated email to his vast network of email subscribers, he says he was scammed. But he doesn’t sound too terribly sorry about it. It’s unlikely, after all, that Butt really believed the chamber had changed its position when he sent out the fake.

But here’s what Butt wrote:

“When I received a copy of a letter from a long-time member of the Chamber of Commerce appearing to support Measure, imagine my excitement! I wanted to share it with E-FORUM readers.

Well, it turns out that the letter was a fake. Apparently the original letter was emailed to Chamber members as an editable WORD file, and the Chamber member who sent it to me was disgruntled about the Chamber’s position on Measure T, which appeared to have been written by Chevron. “The devil made me do it, ” he said. “I just couldn’t bear to see my Chamber dues used to promote a political position I didn’t agree with.”

The scammer went on to say, “It’s okay if the Chamber’s political action committee, RichPAC, wants to campaign against Measure T; that’s not my money. But when they send out campaign literature on the Chamber’s letterhead, signed by the Chamber president, that’s going too far.”

“Anyway,” the scammer said, “It’s almost Halloween, and this was sort of a trick or treat visit to the Chamber Office. They declined the treat, and they got the trick.”

It reminded me of the Chamber’s last campaign against the 2006 Measure T, where the City Council subsequently directed the City to withdraw it’s $10,000 premium membership in the Chamber.

At any rate, the E-FORUM has completed its investigation and found the letter to be bogus. We apologize for this error and for any inconvenience it may have caused the Chamber of Commerce. Please delete the subject email and its attachment.

In the end, it seems the Chamber of Commerce was not the Chamber we wish we had but instead the Chevron-controlled Chamber we’ve got.”

Lisa Vorderbrueggen