Political Gifts Raise Questions for Twitter Landlord

By Matt Baume
|  Tuesday, Feb 22, 2011  |  Updated 11:30 AM PDT
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Political Gifts Raise Questions for Twitter Landlord

Twitter co-founder and CEO Evan Williams.

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A connection between political donations, Gavin Newsom, and a plan to offer discounts to Twitter is looking awfully coincidental. Some might even say unbelievably coincidental.

A few weeks ago, it emerged that the city was considering a sweetheart deal to keep Twitter in San Francisco. The company had been looking for office space elsewhere, since it's so expensive to do business in the city.

So San Francisco offered Twitter a deal: stick around, and we'll cut your payroll taxes. The only condition was that Twitter had to move their offices to a peculiar spot: the scary, dirty, nearly-abandoned stretch of Market between Civic Center and Van Ness.

By amazing coincidence, that particular property is owned by a man who made a donation valued at more than $10,000 to Gavin Newsom's campaign for "Lite" Governor, according to the BC.

The city, of course, says there's nothing underhanded about it. Officials offered to improve Muni and police service to further lure the company to the neighborhood. But without the payroll taxes, it's unclear how those services would be paid for.

For now, we're in a holding pattern, with Twitter considering a compromise-deal offered by Mayor Lee. There's no telling when they might make up their mind.

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