Insiders say it isn't surprising that the San Diego Taxpayers Association has endorsed the city's latest ballpark-financing scheme, even though it's heavily subsidized by city taxpayers. Association president Mary Ball, whose name appears below the endorsement, is a top honcho at Cox Communications, which has a multimillion-dollar deal to cablecast Padres games and related programming. The Taxpayers Association backed the Chargers' ticket guarantee ... Employees of ADCS, which stands for Auto Document Conversion Systems, have poured $2500 into the campaign of Steve Danon, chief assistant and campaign aide to county supervisor Ron Roberts. Associates of ADCS, run by Brent Wilkes of Poway, funneled at least $10,000 in contributions from family, clients, and employees of Wilkes's into the Roberts mayoral campaign last year. Other big Danon contributors include developer attorney Brian Seltzer; Seltzer's colleague James Dawe; El Cortez developer and new member of the port commission Peter Janopaul; downtown restaurateurs Lesley and David Cohn; Roberts's intimate John Davies and wife Ann; downtown developer and Roberts's son-in-law Kent Trimble; and Padres lobbyist Michel Anderson. Border-area developer Roque de la Fuente II, who won that $94.5 million inverse-condemnation verdict against the city in January, is also down for $250, as is his wife Katayoun.
Boiler room A La Jolla resident has been arrested and charged with stock fraud in connection with New York, New Jersey, and Chicago stock brokerages allegedly run in part by two known associates of the Gambino Mafia family. Robert Mangiarano and five others were accused of acquiring "secret control over large blocks of stock and stock warrants" by paying kickbacks, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney in Manhattan. "The defendants then artificially and illegally inflated the stocks' prices." They also "made false and fraudulent representations to retail customers; used high pressure and deceptive sales tactics; paid and accepted excessive, undisclosed commissions and sales credits; made unauthorized trades in retail customer accounts; and authorized unregistered brokers and cold callers routinely to misrepresent to customers that they were registered brokers." This January, Mangiarano, now associated with Stockton Equities, a downtown San Diego brokerage house, was sued in Superior Court here by a man who alleged he had been "approached in a threatening manner" and "threatened...with physical harm" at a company party at McGregor's Grill in Mission Valley. The plaintiff also claimed he had been hit in the head by a thrown glass. Rex Rodda, compliance officer for Stockton Equities, denies that the alleged incident took place during a company party. "It was after a baseball game. A few guys went to a bar and got in a fight. It has nothing to do with Stockton Equities."
Moola, moola Local TV stations raked in the big money during last year's elections, says a campaign-spending watchdog group from Washington, D.C. According to a report released by the Alliance for Better Campaigns, San Diego TV broadcasters took in a total of $22,491,289 and ran 32,763 spots. Noted Paul Taylor, the group's president: "Television broadcasters are driving up the cost of politics for their own profit. Worse, they're doing it with a valuable public resource to them, free of charge, on the condition that they serve the public interest." ... Gabrielle Reece, 31, the statuesque pro-volleyball player from La Jolla, is splitting from Laird Hamilton, her pro-surfer husband of three years. In 1996, he was voted one of People magazine's "most beautiful people" ... Princess Ubolratana "Julie" Mahidol, the eldest daughter of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej and ex-wife of Peter Jensen, onetime associate of convicted felon Dick Silberman, has been in Colorado, picking up tips on how to create a community-college system for her homeland. The Rocky Mountain News reports that the princess, who lives in Del Mar, was "inspired largely by her son, Khun Poomi, who has autism and is about to graduate from high school." In 1983, Silberman, then a partner with Jensen in a gold-mining venture that later went bust, borrowed $1.9 million from the Siam Commercial Bank of Thailand. During their bitter divorce battle two years ago, the princess accused Jensen of using their children "as a bargaining chip."