The J Street Implosion: Soros, Horse Racing and... Connie Esdicul?
So who is Connie Esdicul? She has remarkably little footprint on the Internet for someone able to donate nearly a million dollars to one organization. Others have looked into this with good result, but Pajamas Media's "crack investigation team" has this to offer:
Ms. Esdicul is evidently from a Philippine family from the Manila area. This is the Friendster page (Asian version of Facebook) for the Esdicul clan. This is Connie's (Consolacion's) Flixtsr page. She has fourteen friends to share her movie choices, several of whom seem to be family members. (These would include Bing Esdiscul Santos under the user name cfbbing. If you look at the Esdicul clan on Friendster, you will see their company listed as CFB, Inc.)
Connie is also a member of the Hong Kong Rotary Club where she entered a draw and came in eighth, winning a prize valued at $650 (probably optimistically, given that it is a roller ball pen set):
|Parker IM Series - China 60th Anniversary Frontier and Roller Ball Pen Set||$650||204||Consolacion Esdicul|
You can find the link here. Scroll all the way down, there were a lot of prizes. And that's the point. Unless I am badly mistaken, this is not even remotely the kind or class of person that makes million dollar donations.
She is a cut-out.
This is also, to some degree, corroborated by where she lives. PJM's "crack investigative team" has probably located her apartment building via Google Earth. But we're not going to show it to you, other than to tell you that it has a good view of the track. Ms. Esdicul deserves some privacy. She's not Al Gore and she doesn't, like Al, deserve to be outed for hypocrisy. She may be (relatively) an innocent party in all this -- somebody's girl friend (she has no ring in any photos) or "executive assistant." Fifth business.
I rather doubt that's true of Benter. His own foundation is determinedly and publicly apolitical, showing uncontroversial donations like the Boy Scouts. But the Way Back Machine (2007) tells us a bit more about this guy than that he had a Tibetan Buddhist wedding. He was a supporter of a group called CALME, a Middle East peace organization with peacenik rhetoric similar to J Street's. The list of CALME's supporters is short, but if you scroll it, you will find William Benter and further up S. Daniel Abraham, another of the small number of donors on the J Street 990.
This all happened at virtually the same time Benter's "associate" Connie made her donation. Does this mean Benter laundered 800k of gambling profits through Esdicul to J Street? Of course not. But it certainly sounds suspicious.
And there's more. Benter had a partner named Alan Wood, now deceased. Wood made frequent trips to Manila, apparently. I could go on, but I'd like our crack investigating team to do more research.
But I wonder if it's necessary. J Street may already be toast. And if you detect an undertone of schadenfreude when I write that, you are correct.