Dist. Atty. Brooke Jenkins gets a crash course in San Francisco politics when he starts working with his estranged political mentor, state Sen. Leland Yee, about the housing development project that will bring millions of dollars in tax revenue to the city’s richest neighborhood. When Yee starts to get too involved with his new hire’s plans, Jenkins wants out. But as he heads to court, Yee convinces him to keep working alongside him, and ultimately, the city and its politicians, until the project is completed.
There’s enough money to go around, though, and in this case, money is power. When developer Bill Zevnik learns that he’ll receive a sizable slice of the city’s $45 million tax incentives because of his company’s business on a luxury high-rise in the city’s tech-rich Mission District, he and his wife want more than just their fair share. And they’re not afraid to use the power of the purse to have their way.
When Zevnik’s partner, lawyer Dan Karp, discovers he’s not getting a piece of the action himself, he decides to take a more direct path out of the deal, leading the city Council to force the developer to give up a slice of his share and to pay a $1,000 fine. When Karp finds himself caught in a web of corruption and greed, he teams up with his ex-boss, former San Francisco mayor Art Agnos, to take the high-rise project down the road to bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, a new tech entrepreneur, a Silicon Valley millionaire named Sam Zell, also wants to get a slice of the action, and he’s willing to go to any extreme to get his hands on the money. When he’s introduced to Jenkins, the developer who was once Sam and Yee’s mentor, he knows that this time he’ll get his way.
After a series of events at stake for the developer and councilman, and in addition to being on the verge of bankruptcy to do with the high-rise project as he pleases, San Francisco’s political culture changes, with the result that Jenkins, who’s been fighting city hall since he left San Francisco, and