Kevin Johnson Rumors
Johnson, a 49-year-old Democrat, told reporters at a bookstore in the neighborhood where he grew up that he’s accomplished what he wanted to do as mayor by stabilizing city finances and building a $500 million arena for the Sacramento Kings basketball team. “I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Johnson said. “For me, if I think about the trajectory of Sacramento, I think we’re headed in the right direction. I think we have great momentum.”
The decision came as a decades-old claim of sexual abuse re-emerged as a possible liability for Johnson in a reelection bid. Last week, ESPN cited the claim while announcing it was delaying the premiere of a documentary on Johnson’s effort to keep the Kings from leaving for Seattle. The sports network said it needed to re-evaluate the film after a woman identified herself as the teenager who had accused Johnson of touching her inappropriately 20 years ago. Johnson has denied the claim, and the Phoenix Police Department investigated but did not file charges.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson will not seek a third term next year, he announced late Tuesday. Johnson made the announcement first in an email to The Sacramento Bee late Tuesday, writing that “after much thought and soul-searching, (he has) decided not to run for a third term.”
The accusations in this report have followed Johnson for years, coming up in different contexts as he’s made his way in the world, but they’ve never seemed to have any serious effect on his standing or reputation. Part of the reason for this is that his accuser, Mandi Koba, has never publicly talked about the case. Her silence, however, had nothing to do with that pinky promise. “I wasn’t allowed to talk about it,” she tells me. Koba says that she stayed quiet because, not long after the New Times story was published, she took Johnson’s money in exchange for a pledge to never mention Kevin Johnson ever again except to “a priest, a therapist, or a lawyer.” She says that there is only one signed copy of the agreement she made with Johnson, locked away in a safe deposit box in Arizona. The box, she says, “can only be opened when both of our attorneys are present.” She assumes that he’ll come after her for any violation of the pact it holds.
The past comes back for Koba whenever she reads about Johnson being accused of messing with kids. That’s not too rare. A 2008 story in the Los Angeles Times about Johnson’s first run for mayor mentioned that Johnson had overcome allegations that he “molested a 16-year-old girl named Mandy in 1995.” The Times reporter wrote that Fred Hiestand, Johnson’s fixer, said that “his accuser was mentally unstable and had been swayed by a zealous therapist.” That same story also went over accusations that in 2007 Johnson had molested a student at St. HOPE, the charter school he founded in Sacramento. But Hiestand, who had trashed Koba more than a decade earlier in Phoenix, showed up to assert, as the reporter described it, that “the girl’s words had been twisted by the teacher who reported the allegations.”
She’s 36 now, though. She lives in Virginia, far away from Arizona, and has three young children of her own. And she’s done staying quiet about Kevin Johnson. “I’ve chosen to say what I want, fully aware of the consequences,” she tells me. “I just felt like I wasn’t doing anything but protecting him,” Koba says of her years of silence. “Part of the way they got me to go along with the agreement was they told me it would protect me from his attorneys saying mean things about me. Well, I’m a grown-up now. They can say mean things about me if they want.”