Shea Properties, the developer behind the Mercado del Barrio mixed-use project in Barrio Logan, was investigated by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for dozens of unreported gifts over $50 it gave to public officials and city employees over a five-year span.
The developer and main proponent of the now-on-hold Barrio Logan Maintenance Assessment District treated lawmakers to fancy lunches, flowers, and dinners throughout that time.
Two local policy-makers appeared on that list. According to a letter from the Fair Political Practices Commission, representatives from Shea shelled out $345 to then–city council president and current state senator Ben Hueso for appetizers and a press-release lunch in June of 2010.
Hueso wasn't the only person to receive perks from the developer. Executives from Shea also treated Robert Chavez and Xavier Del Valle, both employees of San Diego's Redevelopment Agency, to appetizers and lunch on that same day.
The developer, according to the November 6 closure letter, was not fined for their generosity, as it fell on the public officials to report those expenses.
"On April 30, 2012, the Enforcement Division requested from Shea Properties a spreadsheet of all gifts provided to public officials in jurisdictions where Shea Properties has done or attempted to do business during a certain time period.
"Section 87027, subdivision (a)(1), provides that gifts of $50 or more in value must be reported as income. Review of the spreadsheets provided revealed evidence of gifts valued at over $50 made to public officials, which the majority of the public officials identified had failed to correctly report.
"However, as a result of the information you provided, these public officials were contacted and have now correctly reported the gifts received. We appreciate your cooperation in resolving this matter, which is now closed."
Ben Hueso's office contacted the Reader with a statement on the gifts and the press conference held in conjunction with Shea Properties: "Senator Hueso in his capacity as Council President attended the press conference without consuming any food. Given documentation provided by our office, FPPC closed the case as there was no gift to disclose.”