The newest staff lobbyist for Southwest Strategies, one of San Diego's busiest downtown influence-peddling boutiques, is a veteran ruckus-raiser on Capitol Hill, says a June 2013 account of an inter-office dustup featured in Roll Call's "Heard on the Hill" column.
The summer high drama involved Oscar Urteaga, a San Diego born and bred GOP politico, and Jeff Leieritz, his Washington roommate and fellow House staffer.
Leieritz also has San Diego ties. He has been a political helpmate to ex-city councilman Carl DeMaio, and this summer was involved in an altogether different controversy over a photo taken in Las Vegas of Lena Lewis, ex-spokeswoman for since fallen mayor Bob Filner, drinking from a penis-shaped straw.
According to Roll Call's Warren Rojas, Urteaga, then a staffer for California congressman Buck McKeon, kicked off his scrimmage against Leiritz, who works for the House Small Business Committee, by sending out a "nasty email" that quickly found wide distribution.
The caustic communication hit Capitol Hill inboxes around 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday. An HOH tipster forwarded the expletive-filled rant, which purportedly stunned Small Business Committee aides before trickling out to less-than-amused K Street contacts.
And it’s that overreach that appears to have earned Urteaga his walking papers.
“Our office has always upheld the highest of standards for personal decorum and professionalism. Introducing personal problems into the realm of one’s professional duties is inexcusable and will not be tolerated,” Urteaga’s supervisor explained after terminating the loose cannon.
The column went on to furnish an extensive array of juicy details of the in-house dispute.
As is often the case between feuding bros, the source of the intrahousehold friction appears to be a woman: a newly minted fiancée, to be exact.
Per Urteaga’s [Not Safe for Work] complaint, Leieritz had become a “backstabbing little b—-” since slipping his lady a ring, a situation that has escalated into a “War of the Roses”-style battle for control of their homestead.
“Most recently, he went behind my back and told my landlord that I was planning on moving out, which is not true.
"We both are on the lease, hes [sic] the one decided to get married and start a new future; therefore, he should take it upon himself to find a new place for them to start their lives together. Common sense…right?” Urteaga preached from a personal email account.
The backbiting only intensified from there, with Urteaga attacking Leieritz’s and his betrothed’s character (“They sure are the religious and godly couple they want you to perceive of them, aren’t they?”) before insulting the very people he is presumably attempting to win over (“No need to respond to this. To be honest, I could care less what you have to say.”).
And there was more.
In case you were wondering, the passive-aggressive signoff is punctuated with an F-bomb (‘natch).
Leieritz did not respond to repeated calls and emails requesting comment about what appears to be a rapidly deteriorating living situation.
Not so for Urteaga, who expressed respect for his former employer and vowed to move past this bit of melodrama.
“I’m aware that I made a mistake and therefore accept all consequences. People who know me know that my integrity and hard work speak for itself and that I will triumph through this situation,” he assured ["Heard on the Hill"], mapping out plans to pursue other opportunities, including his fledgling job search portal.
Urtega's online job site, called "Cream of the Crop San Diego" boasts of finding "Real Jobs for America's Finest City."
As a San Diego native and graduate of Patrick Henry High and San Diego State University, Oscar has established a wide network of connections with people in many industries in San Diego through his work in elected officials offices, various campaigns, non-profits, healthcare professionals, and Capitol Hill in Washington DC.
After spending time on the east coast, Oscar became fond of successful jobs listing websites in cities such as New York, Washington DC, and Boston. Realizing the potential a similar website on the west coast could bring, Oscar started CREAM OF THE CROP SAN DIEGO in March 2012.
The fired congressional aide was profiled by Roll Call in March 2011 shortly after he arrived on Capitol Hill.
Urteaga has also always wanted to work in politics, but first he took a yearlong break to explore his family’s roots. After the 25-year-old graduated from San Diego State University in 2007, he moved to his father’s homeland of Peru to experience the culture, learn the language and get to know family members who still live there.
Although he said it was one of the best experiences of his life, Urteaga returned to California in 2008 and was ready to start his career. His first two gigs were working on the campaigns of April Boling (R) for San Diego City Council and John McCann (R) for California State Assembly.
In 2009, Urteaga served as an aide to then-Republican California assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, currently running for mayor of San Diego as a Democrat.
Reached by phone at his office this morning, Urteaga said the D.C. controversy was "old news.” He added that his online job site is on hiatus due to his new responsibilities.
Southwest Strategies, founded by former San Diego Tribune city hall reporter Al Ziegaus, has had a busy year, serving a raft of high-dollar lobbying clients, including Walmart; Pardee Homes; Medbox, an operator of marijuana vending machines; billboard giant Lamar Outdoor Advertising; the Palomar Card Club; and Fox Sports San Diego.