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— With all the stress of being president of the San Diego City Council, Scott Peters of La Jolla apparently needs a country place for quick out-of-town getaways to relax with the wife and kids. So earlier this year, he and his spouse, multimillionaire Lynn Gorguze, bought an 11.92-acre estate in a glen near East County's Pine Valley. According to a deed recorded in early February, the couple laid out $519,000 in cash for the tidy spread on a rustic dirt road south of I-8. But not long after making a round of improvements to the place, the lawyer and his wife found themselves caught up in some legal soup. On September 27, Patrick Callahan of Escondido's Poolsafe, Inc., filed a mechanic's lien against the couple for what Callahan claimed was $2805 owed to him since August 1 for installation of a "safety pool cover" at the site.

The saga began, Callahan says, after he finished the job and two checks given to him by the project's general contractor bounced. "Thirty or 45 days went by" after he filed the lien against the city councilman, he recounts, and still no payment was forthcoming. Then, according to Callahan, his attorney Jim Lund, president of the North County Bar Association, happened to bump into Peters at a business function. "He introduced himself and said, 'Are you aware of this?' or something like that, and right after that the contractor walked in with the cash, so it was all taken care of a few weeks ago." Peters spokeswoman Pam Hardy confirmed the lien had been paid, but said Peters was in a city council meeting and unavailable for comment. ... In other real estate dealings of note, Padres owner John Moores recently mortgaged eight condos he still owns in the high-rise Omni hotel he built adjacent to the ballpark, along with his place on the 21st floor of the high-rent Meridian condo complex, in order to secure a loan of $46.5 million from Wells Fargo, which represented a refinancing of a prior $40 million note. And ex-city schools head and just-named airport authority member Alan Bersin, recently returned from Sacramento, where he spent a year as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's education secretary, has purchased a $2.1 million house in Point Loma's pricey "Wooded Area" neighborhood, not far up the hill from where he and his wife, superior court judge Lisa Foster, had been renting since selling another nearby Point Loma manse in 2004.

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