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— Friese said he would "file whatever is necessary" if he determines he should do so.

My guess is that these lawyers and consultants will soon be told they must file, but from the tone of their responses to me, they will give the City a tough fight. These are some of the most prominent lawyers in San Diego. They won't want their assets a matter of public record.

According to Fulhorst, each department has its own "tailored" conflict-of-interest code. Departments have been told for a long time that consultants and lawyers they hired had to file or be given an exemption in writing. "What we think happened is that the departments weren't realizing that every time they hired a consultant, they had to make the determination whether the person had to file and communicate with the city clerk's office."

Now the city attorney's office is studying how to set up uniform filing rules for the departments. "We're inclined to rule that they [lawyers] have to file," said city attorney Mike Aguirre, although the delayed decision won't come for several more weeks. Some attorneys with limited engagements may not have to file, but those raking in big bucks for long engagements probably will.

Typically, the mayor's office refused to comment.

The money-sucking Kroll consultants and the lawyers charging fat fees to represent councilmembers and bureaucrats "slipped through the cracks, but with hundreds of others. They didn't slip through alone," said Fulhorst.

That shouldn't be much solace to San Diego taxpayers.

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