Sacramento’s Sloat Higgins Jensen & Associates, the lobbying firm fired by San Diego ex-mayor Bob Filner and rehired last year by interim mayor Todd Gloria, continues to face controversy and deserting clients after its agreement to pay a record-breaking $133,500 fine for making illegal campaign contributions to state officials.
Several major corporations, representing a total of $636,000 in lobbying business last year, are the latest clients to jump ship, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Sloat lost contracts with Accenture, the San Francisco 49ers and Verizon, according to the latest filings with the Secretary of State's Office. Verizon was Sloat's most lucrative client last year, paying his firm $352,000 in 2013. Accenture paid the firm $179,000 last year and the 49ers paid it $105,000.
Adding to Sloat's woes, the Voice of O.C. has reported, is a move by some members of the Orange County Transportation Agency's board to fire the firm.
“I personally don’t want to have a relationship with Sloat after these serious violations,” said OCTA Director Jeff Lalloway, who is also an Irvine City Council member.
OCTA Director Todd Spitzer, who is a county supervisor, agreed, calling on his colleagues to cut off the firm at their full board meeting March 10.
“I will not support writing a check to Sloat Higgins for lobbyist services,” Spitzer said in an interview. “Hopefully they’ll be terminated on Monday.”
Other OCTA board members as well as the agency’s staff want to keep Sloat’s firm on until the legislative session ends in August.
The committee ultimately voted 6-1 to start a fast-tracked bidding process for a lobbying firm for the 2015 legislative session, replace Sloat with Topp as the current contract manager and direct staff to continue considering options.
The lobbying outfit, run by Kevin Sloat, onetime aide to Republican San Diego ex-mayor and former governor Pete Wilson, was originally retained by GOP ex-mayor Jerry Sanders to handle the city's lobbying in Sacramento. Upon taking office in January of last year, Democrat Filner fired both Sloat and the city's Washington lobbyists Patton Boggs.
The move drew the ire of U-T San Diego, whose Republican owner Douglas Manchester is the developer of downtown's so-called Navy Broadway complex, a topic of federal lobbying by the Boggs firm under Sanders.
The City of San Diego's lobbyist disclosure report for the final quarter of last year, filed with the California secretary of state's office, shows that Sloat Higgins was paid $59,161 during 2013, with $14,000 coming in the last three months of the year.
Update: In a March 7 email, Faulconer spokesman Matt Awbrey said regarding Sloat's firm status here, "They are still on contract while the City is developing a new lobbyist RFP."