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.
Kevin Johnson Rumors
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.”
On Tuesday night at The Phoenician, the Phoenix Suns released a new WeArePHX marketing campaign along with a new uniform. The new jersey is an all-black look deemed the Suns “Civil Pride” jersey, which represents the team’s pride in its home city, while honoring the popular Suns teams of the past, including the Kevin Johnson and Charles Barkley era teams who were the first to wear a black Suns uniform.
Kevin Johnson has ambitions of becoming something much more than just mayor of his hometown of Sacramento, Calif. So far, the former NBA star hasn’t found a way to realize them—but his desire to expand and promote his brand has meant that Sacramento city staffers have had lots of extra work to do that hasn’t had anything much to do with running the city. Thus was Johnson’s taxpayer-subsidized mayoral team put to work on his behalf last year as he tried to play kingmaker when the National Basketball Players Association was searching for a new executive director.
Alas, all the Sacramentans’ money and Johnson’s time and effort went for naught. The union’s executive committee grew tired of his cock-of-the-walk attitude, and when Johnson saw a lack of kowtowing on their part, he left the headhunting expedition in a huff while the search was still ongoing. “He wanted to run the thing with an iron fist,” says one observer, “and when he saw he couldn’t get everything his way, he took his ball and went home.”