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Stories by Don Bauder

Combining convention centers and stadiums doesn’t work

Beware the convadium con

It is comforting to know that the presidential race is not the only wacko thing going on in this country. Voters in McKinney, Texas, have authorized spending $63 million on a new high school football ...

Former U-T owner sees future in oil

Manchester says he's a passive investor in Chilean company

Former Union-Tribune owner Douglas Manchester reported last month that he purchased 16.3 percent of GeoPark Limited, a Santiago, Chile–based oil-and-gas exploration and production company. Manchester's purchase of 9.7 million shares for around $30 million makes ...

Tax-free stadium plan? Beware

San Diegans should cock an eyebrow at claims being made

Two cheers for former San Diego City Council member Carl DeMaio spearheading a plan to build a Chargers stadium without tapping tax money. Such a plan would be welcome, but San Diegans should cock an ...

Surrogacy service provider indicted

Planet Hospital Ponzi scheme alleged

Acharrayya Rupak, founder of Planet Hospital, a medical tourism company that had business addresses in San Diego, Calexico, and Calabasas, was indicted yesterday (June 22) for stealing more than $2 million from infertile clients seeking ...

Roque De La Fuente to run for U.S. Senate in Florida

San Diego–born businessman/car dealer finds popularity back East

San Diego businessman Roque (Rocky) De La Fuente, who failed in his attempt to get the Democratic nomination for president, this week filed to run for the U.S. Senate in Florida. According to saintpetersblog.com, De ...

San Diego doesn't represent the nation closely

Economic/demographic study ranks county 264th of 379 surveyed

San Diego's economic and demographic composition is not similar to that of the United States as a whole. A study by WalletHub, a statistical aggregator, concludes that San Diego County is 264th out of 379 ...

Callaway and TaylorMade swing and miss

Golf’s regulators say skill is more important than the equipment

Local golf industry takes a right hook to the snout.

Florida subsidy orgy over?

Sanford-Burnham Orlando move during Jeb Bush reign not so smooth

What could be called "Jeb Bush's Follies" in Florida is getting worse. Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute is considering leaving Lake Nona, near Orlando. A subsidy orgy began in 2003 when San Diego's Scripps Research ...

U-T pension deficit soars, is considered risk factor

Benefit obligation $235.6 million; plan value $139.4 million

The San Diego Union-Tribune's pension/retirement deficit rose to $96.2 million at year-end 2015, according to the parent Tribune Publishing's 10-K annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The deficit was $85.4 million in May ...

Navy admiral guilty of lying about Fat Leonard relationship

Highest-ranked officer caught in Singapore scandal

United States Navy Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau pleaded guilty in federal court today (June 9) to felony charges that he lied to federal investigators about his lengthy relationship with Leonard Glenn Francis (aka "Fat Leonard"), ...

State bar disciplines seven local lawyers

Car-crashing, drug-selling, fee-related malfeasance, etc.

The State Bar of California has disciplined seven San Diego County attorneys. Jordan David Beal got one year of probation and suspension for 30 days. He had offered to sell a controlled substance to an ...

After deep dive, West Coast homes surface

Fewest underwater since bubble burst four years ago

According to Zillow.com yesterday (June 8), West Coast metro areas have made a stunning comeback since the housing crash. In the first quarter of 2012, when residential underwater rates were at their peaks, 31.4 percent ...

General Atomics and Sempra on welfare

Big companies get the bulk of handouts

Welfare for corporations is one of our most rancid economic problems. Who is to blame? Surprise! Alexander Hamilton, our first secretary of the treasury. He is beloved on Broadway these days, but Appalachian moonshiners may ...

Signature-gatherer falsely claims petition will save Comic-Con

Who the guy was working for remains a mystery

On June 2 in front of Vons in North Park, at 30th Street and Howard, a paid signature-gatherer stood next to a sign. It read: "Please sign the new Comic-Con petition." Reader contributor Dryw Keltz ...

Bat-wielding doctor loses license

Spat at neighbor's guest, made death threat, had stroke soon after

Michael Patrick Smith of Encinitas lost his medical license last month, according to the Medical Board of California. He did not dispute the board's account of his behavior. On July 21 of 2012, Smith's neighbors ...

Insider says longer waits at DMV to come

Temporary employees get termination letters

Assembly Bill 60, which permits undocumented workers to get driver's licenses, went into effect on January 2 of last year. The bill had passed in 2013, allowing the Department of Motor Vehicles time to bulk ...

Chula Vista deemed the worst staycation spot

Mosquitoes in Cleveland, heat in Bakersfield considered in study?

WalletHub, which compiles statistics on cities, metro areas, and states, is out with a study measuring the best and worst cities for staycations, or periods in which the family stays home, sleeping in their own ...

Troubled Bridgepoint runs into GI Bill problems

Add it to ongoing investigations of school and big first-quarter losses

On May 26, San Diego–based Bridgepoint Education reported more problems: Iowa's Department of Education said the state, beginning June 30, would no longer approve applications for G.I. Bill benefits. Ashford University, the online operation that ...

SDPD overreacted at 7-year-old's birthday party

Toy gun did not justify search and detainment

On Saturday, October 2, 2010, the Sialoi family held a barbecue in front of their apartment to celebrate the seventh birthday of a family member. (The lawsuit does not indicate in which San Diego neighborhood ...

Widow of Peregrine CEO can't collect on claims

Prison personnel didn't violate law, says court

Dorothy F. Gardner, widow of Stephen P. Gardner, former chief executive of Peregrine Systems, can't collect on wrongful death charges. Peregrine was San Diego's biggest corporate fraud. In 2008, Gardner was sentenced to 97 months ...

Prime Healthcare charged for alleged false claims

Whistleblower worked at Alvarado

The federal government today (May 25) charged Prime Healthcare Services with fraud for billing for medically unnecessary in-patient short-stay admissions that should have been classified on an outpatient/observation status. The suit was filed in federal ...

John Sarkisian, big in business circles

But he lost the lawsuit and hasn’t paid his victim

John Sarkisian is an establishment darling. He is one of the purported economic experts interviewed regularly for the Union-Tribune’s “EconoMeter” feature. He is founder and vice chairman of Carlsbad’s Pro Performance Sports (doing business as ...

NFL tried to frustrate concussion study

It stymied, rather than helped, brain research

Democratic members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce yesterday (May 23) released a report charging that the National Football League (NFL) tried to frustrate rather than aid a study on concussions. In 2012, ...

Another basketball scandal hits USD

Dominique Conners had gambling addiction

Former University of San Diego women's basketball star Dominique Conners was sentenced today (May 23) to 90 days' house arrest and three years of probation for thefts she committed at Camp Pendleton to feed her ...

County unemployment rate keeps falling

Thanks mostly to hospitality jobs related to tourism

The San Diego County unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent in April from a revised 4.7 percent in March and 5.0 percent a year ago, according to data from the California Employment Development Department. Jobs ...

California State Bar shakes loose John Douglass Jennings

Attorney ensnared by "fraudulent and/or felonious intent," disbarment to follow

As of May 29, John Douglass Jennings will be officially disbarred. He has been ineligible to practice law since October 10 as a result of an action by the California State Bar Court, but the ...

Real estate fraudsters stole more than $30 million

Coronado, check...La Jolla, check...Del Mar, check...

Coronado businessman Courtland Gettel and Arizona lawyer Jeffrey Greenberg pleaded guilty this week to pulling off a real estate scam that took in $30 million. They took out big loans against expensive homes in La ...

Phil Mickelson faces gambling-related charges

Did pro golfer profit from inside information?

Top pro golfer Phil Mickelson was charged with insider trading today (May 19) in a Securities and Exchange Commission complaint that will be tried in federal court in the Southern District of New York. The ...

Thank Dave (Stutz) for disorganizing local crime

Worked on task force that took down Mr. San Diego, C. Arnholt Smith

Andre David (Dave) Stutz, who was instrumental in bringing down banker/conglomerateur C. Arnholt Smith (once named "Mr. San Diego of the century" by a San Diego Union reporter), died last month. In 1966, a Los ...

Opioid-addicted doctor gets five years of probation

She initially took hydrocodone following an operation

The Medical Board of California has put Kathryn Papier Hirst, M.D., on five years of probation. Following surgery, she became addicted to hydrocodone, and at one point was taking 30 to 40 tablets a day. ...

Bad things alleged about Shaun White

Snowboard champ accused of harassment by his band's drummer

Snowboarding/skateboarding pro Shaun White is being sued for sexual harassment by Lena Zawaideh, the drummer in his band named Bad Things, according to more than one rock-music publication. White and Zawaideh, friends since their youth ...

San Diego, diversity city

We rank sixth highest among large cities, 11th overall

San Diego is one of the most diverse cities in the United States, according to a new study by WalletHub, a firm that keeps statistics on cities, metro areas, and states. The city is 11th ...

Alleged father-son fleecers in trouble again

Galanis family charged in case involving investors in Native American bonds

Oceanside's John Galanis and his son Jason of Los Angeles have been charged both civilly and criminally with defrauding investors in phony Native American tribal bonds. Both suits were filed against the pair and five ...

Qualcomm and Jack in the Box struggle to boost stock prices

San Diego giants sell well below their highs

Stocks of two of San Diego’s most-admired companies have dropped sharply from their all-time highs around $100. One, Qualcomm, dropped around 90 percent before recovering, but the plunge took place long ago, in the early ...

Drug counselor indicted for smuggling drugs

Prisoners and their friends helped sneak the stash in Calipatria

A supervisory drug counselor at Calipatria State Prison in Imperial County, Angela Carr, was indicted today (May 10) for smuggling methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana into the facility. Carr routinely met with inmates attending the prison's ...

Manchester: "No affiliation with anybody in Panama"

But plenty of "Manchester" names in offshore data release

On Monday (May 9) the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published a database of almost 214,000 offshore entities created in tax and secrecy havens by a Panama law firm, Mossack Fonseca. The data were leaked ...

Public Utilities Commission reopens San Onofre case

Admits they "undermined public confidence in the agency"

In a surprise move, the California Public Utilities Commission today (May 9) reopened the 2014 agreement by which ratepayers got stuck with $3.3 billion of costs related to the sudden closing of the San Onofre ...

A big "NO" to pro basketball in Seattle

Majority-female council votes against helping bring back former Supersonics

In January, Seattle seated a city council with a 5-4 majority of women. Last week, in a 5-4 decision strictly along gender lines, the council nixed a corporate-welfare scheme that might have helped the city ...

Bank bailout fallout continues

SD plaintiffs will go to U.S. Supreme Court

If there is one thing that is generally accepted about the 2008 bailout of the banking system, it's that the big banks put up fraudulent mortgages as collateral for the federal government's bailout money. Two ...

Aguirre sues governor over records

Corruption rife between Brown, attorney general, utilities commission?

San Diego lawyer Michael Aguirre yesterday (May 5) sued governor Edmund G. Brown for not turning over critical public records regarding alleged corruption at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The suit was filed in ...

Government's secret slaughter of animals exposed

Lawsuit against Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security

Millions of wild animals are secretly slaughtered annually by the United States government in a program to help corporate agriculture, says a group called Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK). The group, based in Chicago, ...

Prison was good for him, says ex-Chargers QB Ryan Leaf

"The power, the prestige, and the money" became his demons

Ryan Leaf, a former San Diego Chargers quarterback for whom the team had high hopes in the late '90s, said on the syndicated Dan Patrick Show yesterday (May 4) that his prison sentence was good ...

Three San Diego lawyers disbarred

Failure to respond is a familiar theme

According to the Cal Bar Journal, three San Diego lawyers have been disbarred. Tina Marie Sobotta, who had been convicted in 2012 of disturbing the peace and trespassing, failed to respond to a notice of ...

Junior Seau's doctor-buddy could lose license

Medical board files accusations against David Chao (again)

Former Chargers physician and close friend of the late Junior Seau, David Jee Wei Chao, M.D., is in trouble with the Medical Board of California once again. An accusation was filed against him April 27. ...

Sempra Energy CEO and boardmembers sued over Aliso methane leak

Gross mismanagement, abuse of control, and unjust enrichment among allegations

In federal court April 25, a Sempra Energy shareholder sued the company's chief executive, Debra Reed, along with officers and boardmembers, for breach of fiduciary duty over the Aliso Canyon methane leak, which the suit ...

Navy commander gets 78 months in prison

Misiewicz gets longest term in ongoing scam

U.S. Navy commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz of San Diego was sentenced to six and a half years in prison today (April 29) for giving classified ship schedules to a foreign contractor in exchange for ...

Hispanic entrepreneurs do best in Texas

San Diego ranked 108 out of 150; Oceanside and Chula Vista also do poorly

A study by WalletHub, which prepares statistics on cities, metro areas, and states, indicates that San Diego and its nearby cities are not particularly good places for Hispanic entrepreneurs. Cities were ranked on two metrics: ...

SEC charges local lawyer with role in stock scam

Luke Zouvas said to help set up pump 'n' dump

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday (April 25) charged in federal court that San Diego lawyer Luke Zouvas did the paperwork on a pump 'n' dump stock scam along with a group of ...

Convention centers lose bundles of money

Losses are subsidy for hotels, restaurants

Convadium con is a variation on the convention center sham.

Stadium shuffle continues within NFL

Will the Raiders be able to move to Vegas without objection?

It looks like Mark Davis, son of Oakland Raiders founder Al Davis, will move the team to Las Vegas. One potential stumbling block, say some in the media, is John Mara, chief executive and co-owner ...

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