• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

— Federal court records show that the late mystery witness in the Cheetahs grand jury investigation was a "substance abuser" who led a lucrative life of crime before being paroled about three years ago to San Diego, where he continued a close association with local mobsters and accused scam artists. David Mark Ruzumna, 46, who turned up very dead on August 22 in his Carmel Valley condo after failing to appear for a scheduled grand jury appearance, copped a plea to 15 counts of wire fraud in Phoenix in July 1996. "At times utilizing the names of David Rizzo and David Thomas," according to an indictment dated February 16, 1996, Ruzumna "represented himself to be a salesman at American Coin Exchange, 915 Camelback Road, Phoenix, Arizona, and in his personal capacity an expert in the purchase, sale, and investment in precious coins, such as Egyptian Gold Dinars, Atocha, and Escudo coins." The indictment says Ruzumna would contact investors on the phone and "represent that through European Auctioneers Limited of Switzerland he could then sell investors' coins at substantial profits." The only problem, the feds said, was that the company didn't exist; once Ruzumna got his hands on the coins and purported auction fees, "He converted them to his own use and the use of others such as J. Scott Levitt, Dan Patrovich, and Michael K. Jordan." As a result of the scheme, the feds said, Ruzumna "defrauded John Papadimitrious, Fred Spaulding, and Phillip Tachick of approximately $45,000." After his guilty plea, Ruzumna served 15 months in the federal lockup in the tiny California desert town of Boron (where local money-laundering felon Dick Silberman, once the husband of San Diego mayor Susan Golding, also did time) before being paroled to San Diego County on April 19, 1999, according to a transfer of jurisdiction form filed in Phoenix and accepted by U.S. District Judge Marilyn Huff on May 10, 1999. While on parole, the document says, Ruzumna was required to enroll in "substance-abuse treatment, which may include testing for substance abuse and shall contribute to cost of treatment in an amount to be determined by the probation officer."

Family business Mayor Dick Murphy, who has nominated himself the ethics mayor, has jumped out of and then back into his race for reelection -- maybe because he has a family to support. According to this summer's campaign filings, Murphy's daughter Kelly has received at least $5000 in "fundraising" fees from Murphy's campaign committee. Kelly is listed at an address on Navajo Road that is shared by another vendor to the Murphy campaign, Drew Consulting, owned by local campaign fundraiser C. Ray Drew. He once ran the Family Pride Coalition, which advocates the legal rights of gay, bisexual, and transgendered parents. Gay parent Drew found himself in the midst of a tear-gas attack at the Gay Pride parade in 1999. "This was, quite simply, a terrorist act," he said in a news release after the incident. "I understand that people hate us because we're gay. I understand that people want to harm us because we're gay. But I don't understand how anyone could deliberately hurt our children. Every day, we hear the radical right call us pedophiles and a threat to children. Mentally disturbed people feed off the hate-filled rhetoric of the radical right. It emboldens the violent, disturbed person with a sense of legitimacy." Calls to Drew, whose other clients have included District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, went unreturned. Mayor Murphy says his daughter is employed by Drew and works primarily on fundraising for Murphy's campaign, earning $2500 a month. Murphy adds that he has obtained an opinion from the Fair Political Practices Committee approving the arrangement.

Saints and Sinners Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, running for governor, has debuted yet another San Diego venture. This time it's the Hustler Bar and Grille around the corner on E Street from his porno emporium on Sixth Street, just south of Broadway ... Don't think indicted San Diego city councilman Charles Lewis -- whose trip to see the Blue Man Group in Vegas, allegedly comped by Mike Galardi, has become a centerpiece of the government's grand jury indictment against him -- has been slighting local freebies. In his latest personal-disclosure filing, Lewis reports getting a free meal worth $110 in March from Gaslamp's Lou and Mickey's bar and eatery. Explains Lewis in his July filing, "Received letter from restaurant to try out their new place for dinner." Lewis also picked up close to $3000 in campaign contributions from city-regulated Cox Communications. His fellow Cheetahs defendant, District Eight councilman Ralph Inzunza, filed a late-disclosure amendment reporting he'd accepted "two tows of vehicle" on November 18 and December 1, 2000, from Herbert Sevel of San Ysidro. He also amended his filings to disclose he'd gotten a "restaurant gift certificate" and dinner worth $150 from Sherm Harmer of the local building industry in September 2002. For her part, councilwoman Toni Atkins snagged an Oz DVD set, T-shirt, and mug worth a total of $75 from HBO ... Evonne Schulze, who barely lost a city council race to Larry Stirling in 1977 and later went on to work for Roger Hedgecock and became a member of the community college board, has had successful hip-replacement surgery ... Monsignor "Father" Joe Carroll, the St. Vincent de Paul honcho, is running commercials in Portland, Oregon, for his car-donation venture.

-- Matt Potter

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader

More from the web


Sign in to comment

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!