• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

According to a Hellman & Friedman news release, the firm "has raised and managed more than $4.2 billion of committed capital which it has invested in 38 companies. Limited partners in Hellman & Friedman funds include many of the nation's leading government, corporate, and nonprofit institutions."

Clearly Hellman, his wife, and their family, including daughter Frances, are wealthy and influential people. By virtue of his position as UCSD Chancellor, Dynes also has acquired considerable power and influence. In order to avoid possible conflicts of interest, University of California officials, including the chancellors at each of the system's nine campuses, are required each year to disclose their financial holdings, along with those of their spouses. But when Dynes filed his most recent annual disclosure statement on March 29, 1999, he failed to list any of his wife's substantial assets, as required by law.

In response to repeated questioning by a reporter in November of last year about Dynes's apparent failure to completely disclose his family finances, Winifred Cox, the university's chief spokeswoman, said that Dynes planned to amend his statement at a future date she would not specify. Two months later, after further questions about the matter were posed to the University of California's conflict-of-interest office in Oakland, Dynes finally filed an amended disclosure. The new filing included what the disclosure says is his wife's interest in two Hellman & Friedman "investment partnerships," valued at greater than $100,000, the maximum disclosure category under the law. One is called "Hellman & Friedman Management III," the other, "Locust Street Group III, L.P."

Dynes's amended disclosure, dated January 13, 2000, also lists a host of other investments he says belong to his wife, all valued by him at over $100,000. They include holdings in BankAmerica Corp.; Echostar Communications; Convergys Corp.; Forest Laboratories, Inc.; GATX Corp.; IT Group, Inc.; Calpine Corp.; Associates First Capital Corp.; A.C. Nielsen Corp.; Avon Products, Inc.; Coltech Industries, Inc.; and Mexican construction giant Cemex, S.A.

In an interview last week, Dynes told a reporter he had amended the statement "after your questions and after asking several people in the Office of the [University of California] President, I amended it to include my wife's holdings. I didn't at the time know -- I had just recently gotten married -- and so originally it just had my own on there, and after questions it was made clear to me that I had to include my wife's, which I didn't realize." His delay in filing the amended return, Dynes said, was because "it just took time. I asked some people to work through it all, to work out the forms, and it just took the time to do that. No other reason than just bureaucracy."

Under state law, Dynes is prohibited from using his office to influence any university actions or decisions that might affect the fate of his or his wife's holdings. Dynes's failure to disclose and his delayed reporting becomes especially interesting in light of a special relationship he, his wife, and the Hellman family have developed during their time on the UCSD campus. Both Robert Dynes and Frances Hellman, according to news accounts, are baseball fans who count among their close friends Padres owner John J. Moores. And their financial relationship runs even deeper.

Dynes has voiced support for a new baseball stadium and in 1997 served on the 17-member "Mayor's Task Force on Padres Planning." San Diego Mayor Susan Golding commissioned the group in December 1996 to "develop and help implement a strategic plan that enables the San Diego Padres Baseball Club to operate on a sound business basis and as a contributing corporate citizen of San Diego for the foreseeable future."

On August 25, 1997, as the task force deliberated, Dynes was quoted by the Union-Tribune as saying, "I worry that Major League Baseball cannot be economically viable in San Diego. That's a serious problem for the community. I really don't want to see the Padres leave. There's lots of pros and cons to a new stadium. I don't have an opinion about it. That's a job for the next committee."

But in its final report, filed September 19, 1997, which bore Dynes's name along with those of his 16 fellow members, the task-force concluded that "the Padres cannot generate the revenue necessary to become economically viable and remain competitive in Qualcomm Stadium." The report went on to say that "in a new, baseball-oriented ballpark...the Padres can potentially become a stable, competitive, healthy franchise in San Diego for years to come." The task-force report, and Dynes's endorsement, was subsequently used by Padres owner Moores to justify moving forward with the proposed downtown stadium.

In an interview last week, Dynes said he had agreed with the report and signed off on its conclusions.

The bond between Dynes and Moores has since become so close that the men trade public compliments with each other. "I think he has about as high a personal energy level as anybody I've ever met," Moores was quoted by the Union-Tribune as saying of Dynes in November 1998. "I would not expect a physicist to have the interpersonal skills and the energy level that this guy does."

And in March of last year when Democratic governor Gray Davis appointed Moores to the Board of Regents of the University of California, the Union-Tribune quoted Dynes as saying, "I'm really looking forward to working with him. John has such a commitment to young people and to education. Since he's moved to San Diego it's clear he believes in the advantage of education.... I'm so pleased, I can't stand it."

During an interview last week, Dynes said about Moores: "We're colleagues. I mean, we know each other, not all that well. I've known him for three years, maybe." Dynes described the circumstances of their meeting by saying, "I think at one point I thought it would be of value for the university to know someone who is an influential person in the community, like many other people we know very well in the community."

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader

More from the web

Comments

Sign in to comment