On May 23 of 2012, Dave Maass, then with CityBeat, wrote a story titled "New Dumanis Super PAC backed by Mexican businessman" ( and subtitled "San Diegans for Bonnie Dumanis keeping its plans under wraps").
The story explained how a political action committee supporting Dumanis's run for mayor that year raised money from a company registered to José Susomo Azano Matsura, a wealthy Mexican businessman widely believed to be the source of laundered money in the 2012 mayoral election and the 2013 special mayoral election.
Remember that date: May 23 of 2012, months before the 2012 election. Dumanis told the U-T a few days ago that she knew nothing about the money. Did she not read Maass's CityBeat story?
Says Maass, "I don't think her claim is particularly credible." He notes that every day during a campaign, staffers check campaign filings. "It's highly unlikely her campaign didn't know what was going on. It is not credible for her to say she didn't know. The whole investigation was going on under her nose." Her public integrity unit should have known of the investigation, says Maass.
Maass points out that the U.S. attorney's complaint notes that some candidates approached by the alleged donors of illegal funds inquired about the source of the money. But there was no such note in the goverment's discussion that reporters believe concerned Dumanis.
In Maass's article, a Republican strategist named Kevin Spillane was quoted saying Azano had a green card. The United States government complaint said that was in error; the suspect has no green card. Maass says he didn't know how to check whether someone has a green card, so he just went with Spillane's quote. I can't fault him on that. I could not reach Spillane.
"The whole thing has been shady from the get-go," says Maass, who spoke as a former CityBeat reporter and not as a representative of his current employer, Electronic Frontier Foundation.