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Name: Brackpool, Keith
Current Position: Former chairman

A native of Great Britain, Keith Brackpool was appointed to the Horse Racing Board by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in September 2009 and elected chairman in January 2010. He resigned as chairman of the board in January 2013 to direct the West Coast operations of the Stronach Group of racetracks and horse-related activities. He also took an equity position in the group.

Brackpool served as director and chief executive officer of North American Operations for the British food distributor Albert Fisher Group, in the 1980s. In 1983 he pleaded guilty to criminal charges in London, including dealing in securities without a license, and paid a $3,200 fine. He co-founded Cadiz Inc., a Southern California-based land and water resource development company, in 1983 and is president and chief executive officer. Brackpool has owned the Manhattan Country Club in Manhattan Beach, Calif., since 1988, doing business as 1334 Partners L.P., a commercial real estate company. Governor Gray Davis appointed Brackpool to co-chair the Agriculture and Water Transition Task Force in 1998 and the Commission on Building for the 21st Century in 1999. In 2002, Brackpool promoted a controversial project to pump water from under the Mojave Desert to Southern California.

Brackpool has wide-ranging political connections, and his past dealings in the state have not been controversy-free. He donated generously to Governor Davis’ gubernatorial campaigns, and became an advisor on water policy while heading Cadiz, a water resource development company. “Frankly, there's been a lot of suspicion about Keith because he's a private [businessman] and yet he's become a confidant of the governor,” Mark Watton, a member of the San Diego County Water Authority, told the Los Angeles Times in 2000.

A change of administration did not stem Brackpool’s efforts. He paid Susan Kennedy, who became Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's new chief of staff, $120,000 in 2005 in consulting fees while she was serving on the state Public Utilities Commission. The PUC doesn't directly regulate Cadiz, but it has a considerable voice in water policy.

L.A. Times Profile
Brackpool was the subject of a scathing profile in the Los Angeles Times in June 2009 that castigated him for his proposal to pump water from beneath 35,000 acres his Cadiz Inc. owned in the Mojave Desert to Southern California. Although Governor Schwarzenegger lauded it as “a path-breaking, new, sustainable groundwater conservation and storage project,” the reporter characterized its proponent as “a man with political juice making a deal with four unidentified public water agencies to revive a $200-million project that was already shelved once.” The story said Cadiz Inc. had not had a profitable year since at least 1999 and was being kept on life-support by investors.

Political Connections
Brackpool has long cultivated political connections. Democrat Tony Coelho, a former California congressman, served on the Cadiz board from 1999 to 2003. Former Arizona Governor and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, a Democrat, joined the board to work on international deals. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed on as a consultant for two years before becoming mayor and former state Assemblyman Richard Katz, a Democrat, was another consultant.

Brackpool has been a major contributor to Democratic Party political campaigns. Cadiz Inc. contributed at least $380,000 to Democrats in 2000-2003. $128,605 of that money was directed at Governor Gray Davis. Others have put those campaign contributions to Davis as high as $235,000.

Since 2000, Brackpool personally has contributed $28,117 to political campaigns at the state or local level, with $11,500 in support of ballot measures and the remainder in support of Democratic candidates. All but $2,400, which went to a candidate in New York, was spent in California. In 2007, he contributed $4,600 to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, $2,300 of which was refunded.


Davis Adviser's Influence Shows Water and Money Can Mix (by Don Thompson, Associated Press)

Desert Water Entrepreneur Closely Tied to Governor (by Frank Clifford and Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times)

Water Firm Awash in Political Influence (by Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times)

Gov.'s Top Aide Was Paid by Developer (by Robert Salladay, Los Angeles Times)

Cadiz Water Deal Was All Wet the Last Time (by Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times)

Compound Returns (by Andrew Myers, Angeleno Magazine) (pdf)

Campaign Finance Database (California Secretary of State)

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