EXCLUSIVE: Gavin Newsom Plans to Donate Armenian Mobster’s Campaign Donations

The $45,100 donated by Edgar and Alina Sargsyan will be given to legal representation nonprofits, a rep for Newsom tells LAMag

Gavin Newsom will donate $45,100 in contributions that his campaign for California governor received from an admitted Armenian crime figure and career conman to nonprofits dedicated to legal representation, a spokesman told LAMag on Wednesday.

“The campaign will be donating the full amount from him and his wife to two legal aid organizations that help those without financial means afford legal representation—Bay Area Legal Aid (NorCal) and Bet Tzedek Justice for All (SoCal), split equally,” said Newsom spokesman Nathan Glick. The donations, he confirmed, came from Edgar Sargsyan and his wife, Alina.

Sargsyan, a central witness in a plethora of criminal cases involving crooked cops and Armenian mob members—which includes that of just-convicted former FBI agent Babak Broumand—was tight with the governor. Newsom’s convoy shut down South Rodeo Drive for the visit when he stopped by the Pillar Law Group—the law firm from which Sargysan ran an identity theft and credit card fraud ring— to have lunch in 2016. At the time, Sargsyan was presenting himself as an attorney to the then-lieutenant governor, but he confessed on the eve of Broumand’s sensational trial that he’d hired a ringer to take the Bar Exam for him using a phony license, and was therefore never a legitimate lawyer.

Defense attorney and former federal prosecutor Steven Gruel said he is “disappointed not defeated” after his client Babak Broumand (left) was convicted on bribery and corruption charges.
Alina Sargsyan, President Donald Trump and Edgar Sargsyan.(Image: Defense exhibit 1001 in U.S. v Babak Broumand)

But Newsom was not the only recipient of Sargsyan’s dark money, as he spread his attention around to both the Democrat and Republican parties and was friends with another former California governor: Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2014, according to Broumand’s attorney, Steven Gruel, Sargsyan sent the Terminator star a $1500 glass of Macallan 25; the former governor then thanked him and “complimented his ring.” Sargsyan “took it off and gave it to him,” Gruel wrote in the filing. A friendship was born.

In return, Schwarzenegger gave Sargsyan a ring with the California seal and “a large metal watch made from the metal of a tank in Austria or Germany,” Gruel wrote in the filing.

Sargsyan’s mover-shaker days, cruising to his Rodeo Drive offices in his Rolls Royce Phantom, partying with Hollywood stars at the Grand Havana Room, ended when he agreed to cooperate with the government in its investigation of a sprawling $1 billion biofuel scam pulled off by members of the Kingston clan, a polygamist cult in Utah. This was in addition to his ripping off of the reputed Armenian Mafia boss Levon Termendzhyan, a Bel Air gas station tycoon who is now imprisoned in Salt Lake City.

Sargsyan was an attorney for a company owned by Termendzhyan—who is better known in L.A. crime circles as The Lion—when he registered a private jet his boss purchased in his own name and even changed the tail number. Sargsyan was with a woman Gruel called his mistress when he received a call in which he learned Termendzhyan had discovered he’d embezzled millions of dollars and stolen the jet. He panicked and called his office, screeching, “I’m a dead man, my life is over.”  Then he “stopped coming to the office and hid in a hotel room,” Gruel wrote in a court filing.

Cash stacked at Edgar Sargsyan’s Rodeo Drive office. (Courtesy: U.S. Attorney’s Office L.A.)

This was a smart move, court testimony shows. At some point, Termendzhyan and his “goons” came to the office trying to find him and were declaring “war,” the filing states.

Today, Sargsyan remains a free man still sitting on top of a fortune that suggests crime does indeed pay—if the government is looking to take down someone close to you. His sentencing date has yet to be set in connection with the crimes he admitted to committing as part of his 2019 plea agreement.

Broumand is just the latest former friend Sargsyan helped send to prison. He testified against Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Felix Cisneros, one of the law enforcement officials on his payroll, and assisted in the investigation against another cop buddy he frequently traveled and partied with Glendale Detective John Balian.

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