Republican gubernatorial candidate Jesse Sullivan on Monday rebuffed characterizations of him as a West Coast venture capitalist – insisting that he and the company he founded are based in the small town of Petersburg, in central Illinois.
Although voting records show Sullivan lived – and voted – in Menard County for at least the past five years, the primary location of his business is darker.
Social media accounts and the company’s website indicate that Alter Global is headquartered in San Francisco or Silicon Valley.
But Sullivan and a spokesperson for his campaign said it was primarily for “marketing. [and] for branding purposes.
Documents released by Sullivan’s campaign on Monday included a birth certificate, showing he was born in a Springfield hospital in 1984, as well as proof of his ownership and taxes paid on the Petersburg house from 2016 to 2020 .
A review of Sullivan’s voting history shows that he voted in the central Illinois city of about 2,200 people in the last three elections of November – 2020, 2018 and 2016. He also voted in last year’s Republican primary, according to records from the Menard County Clerk and Recorder.
Previously, he had also voted in the 2008, 2010 and 2012 general elections and the 2003 consolidated elections in the lower state city.
Sullivan’s entry into the Republican gubernatorial race last week a day after reporting more than $ 10 million in campaign contributions from seven donors from California, Texas and Colorado drew immediate criticism from from his GOP rivals, who dismissed him as an outsider backed by the “big checkbooks” of the “Silicon Valley elites”.
On Monday, Sullivan sought to clear up questions about his own roots and those of his company.
He founded two entities under the name Alter Global, according to his campaign, a nonprofit and a limited liability company.
A document filed with the California Secretary of State’s office shows that the nonprofit was incorporated in California in 2015. A campaign spokesperson said Sullivan founded Alter Global, the organization in nonprofit, in 2015 after graduating from Stanford Business School. He registered this entity in Illinois in 2017.
The Illinois document shows that the lower-state native has a main office in Petersburg, which is also listed as the nonprofit’s main office in the state. The secretary and director of the association both list California addresses on this document.
The campaign also provided materials on the formation of the company, Alter Global LLC, one from Delaware and one from Illinois. Both date from December 2020.
A spokesperson for Sullivan’s campaign said he created the entity to “invest seed money in early stage start-ups in the developing world” to “attract additional capital to support for the poverty reduction mission “.
Many of the Sullivan’s social media profiles indicate that San Francisco is its primary location.
Over the past few days, the company’s website has undergone a number of changes, from listing San Francisco as its primary base to its recent update to designate Petersburg as its primary location. Monday afternoon it showed no city at all.
But sections of the company’s website still listed it as “based in Silicon Valley” on Monday afternoon.
Public records show that in addition to an address in Petersburg, Ill., The company is connected to at least one California location. Crunchbase, which has a searchable business database, lists the head office in San Francisco.
In a brief call Monday with a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, Sullivan said the company’s main office is his home in Illinois.
He said that where the “confusion comes in is that we have a distributed team” ie the employees of the company, who are “distributed everywhere”, including in India and on the east and west coasts.
Sullivan said one of the California addresses is where he lived after graduating from Stanford Business School. This address is also listed on Alter Global’s California registration document.
Asked to explain the updates to the company’s website, Sullivan again singled out the company team, which includes someone working in the Bay Area.
“I didn’t think it would ever be a question or a success because I have the documents to show that we are just registered here in Illinois and not registered in California,” Sullivan said, adding that including the west coast town on the site was more “for marketing [and] for branding purposes for our entrepreneurs’ which could go to the website.
Sullivan spokesman said in a statement that the Petersburg native had “always maintained a deep connection to Illinois” regardless of where he traveled, and “Petersburg has always been his home. Jesse has filed income taxes with the IRS and the Illinois Department of Revenue since 2016. ”
The spokesperson did not directly respond to whether Sullivan and Alter Global were misleading the public by claiming to be based in Silicon Valley or San Francisco if they are not, but he said that Alter had developed its distributed workforce. before the pandemic, including San Francisco employees.
“As governor, Jesse Sullivan will work to make Illinois an equally sought-after hub of business expertise,” the spokesperson said.
Over the weekend, Sullivan’s campaign released a video seeking to clarify where the Republican candidate for governor came from.
In the 45-second clip, Sullivan explains six years ago that he started an organization at Stanford Business School “to help the best entrepreneurs in the world create jobs” and that he runs that organization from Illinois. since five years.
In the soy context, someone is raising two of Sullivan’s children who he says are “from our home in Illinois – just like me.” And the candidate for governor shows the belly of his pregnant wife, saying that another is “almost ready for the harvest”.