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A December 10, 2008 letter to the port from Palermo indicates that the partnership began leasing to Ellison last September and is charging him $97,000 a month, “less nominal credits if applicable.” The current term of the lease lasts through May 30.

Though the terms of the state grant are supposed to limit the marina to transient boating uses, Oracle has set up a sizable semipermanent base of operations for its large crew, including large trailers and a big white plastic tent set up in the Fifth Avenue Landing parking lot.

“Oracle intends to remove the boat from the water and relocate it in a temporary tent structure in order to modify the boat,” wrote Palermo. “The primary work to be done on the boat will be the removal of the two outer hulls (floats) and installation of new floats and other elements that are being fabricated off site. This will involve cutting and grinding to fit the new floats and then bonding and painting.

“The tent will be completely closed when any of the above described work is being done with fans used to create negative pressure inside the containment tent to eliminate the possibility of any grinding residue or fugitive dust escaping from the tent.

“Filters will be placed over the exhaust ports from the tent to trap any dust or airborne epoxy or paint operations that would require a San Diego County Air Pollution Control District permit, and the work will be done under their permit.”

According to a September 29, 2008 letter from Chris Hargett, the port’s senior asset manager, to Carpenter, the Fifth Avenue Landing partnership currently pays a minimum annual rent of $469,400.

But the docks may not be around for long.

In addition to the monthly payments from Ellison, the Fifth Avenue partnership is also receiving a $1 million option payment from the San Diego Convention Center Corporation, a subsidiary of the City of San Diego, while the City studies whether it wants to expand the convention center on the land. Currently, Fifth Avenue Landing has the right to build a hotel on the site, but it hasn’t been able to put a deal together.

The convention center option expires in a year, after which the City could pay the partners $13.5 million to buy out the Fifth Avenue Landing lease or walk away from the deal. Palermo says that should the City take over the property for the convention center, Fifth Avenue Landing would continue to operate the docks as an independent operation.

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Fred Williams March 12, 2009 @ 6:13 a.m.

San Diego has become a kleptocracy run by reverse-Robin Hoods, stealing from the poor to give to the rich.


expdx March 12, 2009 @ 8:23 a.m.

Oops, meant El Coral Hotel and Marina. And we're talking maybe $45,000,000 per year in avoided taxes.


JulieParrots March 12, 2009 @ 1:18 a.m.

If this Fifth Avenue Landing is financed by taxpayers, why is it still "off-limits" to the general public then? Arent they part of the group of people funding this "MegaPlayground"?


expdx March 12, 2009 @ 8:07 a.m.

Tip of the iceberg: The "90 day yacht club" allows California boat buyers to buy a yacht "Offshore" and take it to Ensenada for 90 days. See the Coral Casino Hotel and Marina for where the boats usually go. Upon return to California the yacht buyer pays NO STATE TAXES! Juan Vargas tried to get this subsidy to the rich closed, but I don't think it passed. Another example of Kleptocracy at work...meanwhile a mile away young and mostly poor Americans train at MCRD to fight our Empire's Wars. Ah Rome, you can smell the flames.


SpliffAdamz_ March 12, 2009 @ 9:42 a.m.

Wow!! We can only blame ourselves for letting crap like this happen. San Diego has always been a kleptocracy this is nothing new. Yet and still people vote and then get played by the people put in positions of power by the vote. Americans wake the hell up!!!


sdguy1 March 12, 2009 @ 10:01 a.m.

IMHO these mega yachts should be welcomed here. After all, there money does more to directly stimulate SD's economy than any bill congress will pass in the next decade.


qqqqqjim March 13, 2009 @ 8:22 a.m.

And people get incensed over city workers' pay and pensions. While we're at it, let's build the Chargers a new stadium in LaJolla at taxpayer expense.


SurfPuppy619 March 13, 2009 @ 8:29 a.m.

And people get incensed over city workers' pay and pensions. While we're at it, let's build the Chargers a new stadium in LaJolla at taxpayer expense.

By qqqqqjim

LOL..... I wonder why we DON'T hear that suggested???

Oh, because the wealthy want to pawn their expenses off onto the poor.


monaghan March 15, 2009 @ 9:44 p.m.

"Short fingers" or " long fingers?" Give me long fingers, anytime. I just love this story. Thank you, Matt Potter, Chronicler of the Kleptocracy that is our home town.


RobBronson March 17, 2009 @ 5:17 p.m.

Hmmm, let's see. Someone with some capability invests a chunk of money in partnership with the local government to take what is essentially useless shoreside land and builds a facility that generates revenue. Said revenue is subject to taxes (both federal and state) which should (assuming the Sacramento contingent doesn't withhold it) filter back to San Diego.

Great piece of journalistic investigation there. I notice that Mr. Potter seemed to neglect the figures that an estimated 10% of a superyacht's total cost is spent in maintenance, or the economic impact from the trickle down effect. That Oracle site has a lot of workers that are staying in San Diego, and they use a lot of local suppliers (like the company that setup the tent).

Then again, I suppose if it was a "public" dock, you'd all prefer to have city funds paying for the maintenance and upkeep of the dock, instead of the parties who built it.

When are people going to apply a little critical thinking to the news media and come to the realization that journalism is dead-now it's all about sensationalism and trying to manipulate the passions of the readers for the "news" own agenda.


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