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Stories by Don Bauder

Thanks for the inheritance, old people!

Million-dollar embezzlement nets 21 months in slammer

Brian Lee was sentenced late yesterday (October 17) to 21 months in prison for embezzling more than $1 million from a couple in their 80s. They had hired Lee to do their taxes and create ...

Got a license for that financial transaction?

USD-schooled lawyer charged with money-laundering $12 million

San Diego attorney Richard Medina Jr. and alleged co-conspirator Omar Trevino Caro Del Castillo faced allegations in federal court today (October 17) of laundering almost $12 million through international financial transactions without the proper licensing. ...

Unemployment rate down, so are jobs

Excluding government jobs — that count went up by 4600

Restaurant, bar jobs down 2300 jobs The September unemployment rate in San Diego County dropped to 5.9 percent in September, down from a revised 6.2 percent in August and from 7.3 percent a year ago. ...

No markup, but, yes, fraud

SEC says 350 investors had put $2.3 million into shopping website

On Tuesday (October 14), a jury in federal court on Long Island found Anthony Knight liable for securities fraud and selling unregistered securities. The Securities and Exchange Commission said that more than 350 investors had ...

Cheap grub not so easily come by

San Diego ranks so-so in affordable dining

WalletHub, the statistical aggregating firm that compares quality of life in cities and states, ranked 150 cities in affordability of restaurants as well as diversity, accessibility, and quality of them. San Diego doesn't do well. ...

Curtains for Thomas Jefferson School of Law?

Two magazines question debt-plagued institution's viability

Two publications, City Journal, published by New York's Manhattan Institute, and JDJournal, which specializes in law-related issues, are essentially playing taps for San Diego's debt-plagued Thomas Jefferson School of Law. The school moved into a ...

Finale or interlude?

Ian Campbell headed to altar for third time

Ian Campbell, former chief executive of San Diego Opera, is engaged to opera soprano Susan Neves (pronounced "nevs") and the two will live in New York City, according to sources within San Diego Opera and ...

Corruption charges be damned

Despite feds' inquiry, before Peevey leaves, CPUC may bill ratepayers $3.3 billion

California Public Utilities Commission president Michael Peevey yesterday (October 9) announced — amid great controversy — that he will leave the commission when his term is up December 31. His decision coincides with the revelation ...

Gaseous dismay

City loses fight against insurer — waited too long to file!

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit this month upheld a lower-court decision holding that the City of San Diego had not notified an insurer in reasonable time to collect on an ...

National media pick up DeMaio story

Candidate denies sexual harassment charge by former campaign staffer

National political media such as Politico and The Week have picked up yesterday's (October 8) story in which congressional candidate Carl DeMaio vehemently denied a sexual harassment charge made by a former staffer. As related ...

Zapf's husband zapped by appeals court

Negligence to cost Eric Zapf's real-estate company more than $1 million

The fourth appellate district court of appeal has found Eric Zapf, husband of District 6 councilmember Lorie Zapf, liable for professional negligence in a real-estate deal. Zapf and his associates will pay more than $1 ...

Former SD councilman fleeced in scam

Ed Struiksma taken by Pennsylvanian who ran an up-front loan scam

Michael McManus of Philadelphia was sentenced Tuesday (October 7) to 16 years in prison for running an up-front loan scam that fleeced $26 million from more than 1000 hopeful entrepreneurs who gave him up-front money ...

Could Brown reappoint unpopular Peevey?

Mike Peevey, president of the CPUC, has a reputation for being crude. Worse, he works for utility profits at the expense of ratepayers.

Could ratepayers' day be coming soon?

Feds investigating secret emails between CPUC and PG&E

Things are happening fast and furious over the back-channel communications between Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and officials of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) over the amount PG&E should be assessed for its role ...

He's an actor, alright

San Diego man accused of impersonating Kiowa Gordon, conning young girls

According to publications such as the Des Moines Register and New York Daily News, David Anthony LaVera, 33, of San Diego, will be arraigned this afternoon (October 7) on federal charges related to child pornography. ...

In a heap

Two Oceanside lawyers disciplined

The California State Bar has disciplined two Oceanside attorneys. Danielle Marie Scherrer was disbarred July 26 after she failed to respond to charges that she misappropriated $24,974.43 from a dead person's estate and failed to ...

Appeals court knocks out UCSD student

Undergrad suspended for sending a colleague to the hospital

The Fourth Appellate District late last month upheld a lower court ruling that Daniel Berman, a University of California/San Diego (UCSD) undergrad who punched out a colleague, was appropriately punished when suspended for two quarters. ...

For-profit college financier Clifford drops out

Rancho Santa Fe education mogul blames federal government

Dr. Michael Clifford of Rancho Santa Fe, the oft-quoted and celebrated financier of for-profit universities, has dropped out of the business. On his website, he lashes out at the "unfair and hostile attacks on financial ...

Bad news for the wheeled and hobbled

San Diego's rank disabled ranking

San Diego ranks a disappointing 98th of 150 metro areas as a good location for those with disabilities, according to WalletHub, an organization that puts together economic and demographic information on states and metro areas. ...

Marinkovic's case goes kerplunk

La Paloma Healthcare Center and XETV 6 faced "fanciful" claims

In a judge's decision filed September 29 in the Western District of Pennsylvania (embracing Pittsburgh and Erie), Oceanside's La Paloma Healthcare Center and XETV 6 were decisive victors. The plaintiff was Mel Marin, also known ...

Nothing stank with Balboa Park Celebration, Inc.

Some contracts awarded sloppily, but audit found little fault

City auditor Eduardo Luna's report of what went wrong at the fizzling of Balboa Park Celebration, Inc., points few fingers According to a report released today, October 1, the committee got $3.08 million in funding, ...

Water worry: avocados

Over 74 gallons of irrigated water required to produce a pound

As if San Diego doesn't have enough drought-related problems, here is another: avocados. According to the magazine Mother Jones, avocados, which don't require nearly as much water as almonds, still need a lot. According to ...

Manufacturing: wages good but jobs down

Computers, aerospace, golf equipment lead the way

Last year, manufacturing jobs in San Diego County paid an average wage of $75,800, up stoutly from the average wage of $53,800 throughout the private sector, according to data compiled by the National University System ...

Million-dollar lawyer

Illinois attorney practicing in San Diego stole big bucks from the elderly

The Illinois Supreme Court this month disbarred Brian P. Lee of Wheaton, Illinois. On February 19 of this year, Lee pleaded guilty in federal court in San Diego to participating in a scheme to embezzle ...

Bribes for the bankers

National City Bank implicated in loan-bidding scam

On Friday (September 26), Israel Hechter, owner of a San Diego mortgage investment firm Ocean 18, admitted that he paid $1 million in bribes to bank insiders at JP Morgan Chase, GMAC Mortgage, and National ...

Angels flip off Snow White

But unlikely to get public money elsewhere in Southland.

The Angeles American League baseball team yesterday (September 26) broke off negotiations with the City of Anaheim over a deal for a renovated stadium. Negotiations had been going on for a year. The team would ...

Hands off the vodka

Suit says "handmade" vodka never touches human hands

Del Mar Law Group, which is making a name for itself suing companies for phony marketing, has filed a putative class action suit in Superior Court, stating that Austin, Texas-based Tito's Handmade Vodka is not ...

Goodbye to romance

CPUC removes PG&E's favored judge

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today (September 25) removed an administrative law judge from the hearing on rates that will be charged by Pacific Gas & Electric. This hearing is linked to the 2010 ...

Thanks to Rick Perry?

Austin and Ft. Worth booming; San Diego growth in middle of the pack

WalletHub, which aggregates statistics for states and metro areas, is out with new rankings: growth of metro areas between 2008 (the bottom of the Great Recession) and last year. Among large metro areas, San Diego ...

Stadium, convention center lies you will hear

Convention center propaganda machine is lubed and ready to spew.

Suppose San Diego spends $2 billion on a stadium and convention center expansion — then goes without adequate water

Moody's newspaper outlook grim

Can new ownership of a nonprofit U-T maintain a positive perspective?

The newspaper outlook is downcast, at least through next year, according to a new report by Moody's Investors Service. Because civic leader Malin Burnham would like to raise investor funds, take over the U-T, and ...

Ritual fund

La Jolla synagogue director gets 18 months for embezzlement

Eric Levine, former executive director of La Jolla's Beth El synagogue, was sentenced yesterday (September 19) to 18 months in prison. As executive director from July 2007 to December of last year, Levine oversaw the ...

County unemployment rate drops to 6.2 percent

But leisure/hospitality, bar and restaurant sectors suffer

The San Diego County unemployment rate dropped to 6.2 percent in August, down from 6.6 percent in July. The county added 3500 nonfarm jobs in the month, with professional and business services leading the way ...

Former Lerach colleague recommended for discipline

Misdeeds were committed in Washington DC

The State Bar Court of California has recommended that G. Paul Howes get a three-year suspension for misconduct he committed in Washington DC in the 1980s. Reportedly, Howes had run afoul of law enforcement while ...

U-T San Diego for sale again?

Rumor: Burnham raising money to buy the paper — no real estate in the deal

A rumor is going around among San Diego business executives that real-estate mogul and city leader Malin Burnham is trying to raise money to buy U-T San Diego from real-estate mogul Douglas Manchester. The sale ...

Not the best of times yet

Last year, San Diego's poverty rate rose to 15.8 %; El Cajon, 19.7%

Poverty statistics are going the opposite way in the city of San Diego and the United States. Today (September 18) San Diego's Center on Policy Initiatives reported that the San Diego poverty rate rose to ...

Busted for insult and financial injury

Two men guilty of using stolen IDs to fraudulently purchase cars

Edmund Seshie and Abdul Rezak Shaib pleaded guilty yesterday (September 17) to being part of a West African-based combination car theft/identity theft ring. They purchased stolen credit cards and counterfeit driver's licenses in bulk from ...

Chastened yet, Public Utilities Commission?

Consumers oppose SDG&E plan that would thwart solar

At a packed public hearing at Al Bahr Shrine Center in Kearny Mesa this afternoon (Sept. 16), utility ratepayers showed up to slam or support San Diego Gas & Electric's (SDG&E's) plan to raise rates ...

Calpers to dump hedge funds

Move to reduce risk

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (Calpers), the largest United States pension fund, is getting rid of hedge funds over the next year, saying they are too complicated and expensive. Hedge funds are pooled investment ...

San Diego #21 in the smarts department

Not exactly an intellectual hub and not quite Beaumont

Of 150 metro areas, San Diego is 21st as an intellectual hub, according to WalletHub, which gathers statistics on metro areas and states. The key criteria for each metro area are highest percentage of high ...

Chief of staff at CPUC resigns

And Peevey bows out of San Bruno decision

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced today, September 15, that it had taken several measures to deal with what it called "inappropriate email exchanges" between the commission and the utilities. Those emails, unearthed in ...

Tampa blows SD out of the water(front)

Gulf Coast home costs 733% more than an inland abode; here, they're 247% more

Across the U.S., people pay twice as much for waterfront homes as they do for inland residences. San Diego can top that. According to Zillow.com, the median value of a non-waterfront home in San Diego ...

Trillion troubles

Arthur Grigorian stole identities, filed phony tax returns, raked in $1.5 million

Arthur Grigorian admitted in federal court today (September 11) that he took in $1.5 million from phony tax returns, filing them in the names of hundreds of victims. Commonly, Grigorian and his conspirators claimed that ...

Texas is business-friendly — to Texans

San Diego's Allen Group has found out that Texas is friendly to business — particularly Texas-based businesses.

Hispanic entrepreneurship low in SD

California coastal cities not so hot, either

In a ranking of the best and worst cities for Hispanic entrepreneurship, San Diego comes in a lowly 107 of 150 metro areas, according to a study by the statistical aggregator Wallethub.com. Among the Hispanic-related ...

Middle-finger bird deemed free

Digit-wielding Chiefs fan at Chargers game punched security guard

A San Diego Chargers security guard can't be held liable for restraining an opposing team's fan who flipped the middle digit at Chargers fans, a federal judge has ruled, according to Courthouse News Service. In ...

Five Bartell Hotels hit by data breach

Up to 55,000 guests may have had credit-card info stolen

Bartell Hotels today (September 8) said it is notifying customers of five of its seven San Diego hotels that there was a data breach earlier this year. The compromised information includes credit-card numbers of 43,000 ...

Cost of Chargers game about average

For a family of four: $478.19

Team Marketing Report has released its annual calculation of what it costs to go to a National Football League (NFL) game. The price for a family of four to attend a game includes prices of ...

Central Admixture cited for bad practices

FDA inspectors find violations at pharmaceutical company

In early August, inspectors from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) visited Central Admixture Pharmacy Services in Miramar and found multiple potential violations of new drug-making safety regulations. In November of last year, the Drug ...

Victory! San Onofre settlement deemed unfair

CPUC admits proposed formula "favors utilities" and not ratepayers

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today (September 5) said that the proposal that would bill ratepayers $3.3 billion for the closing of the San Onofre nuclear plant must be revised. "The proposed formula favors ...

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