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Stories by Don Bauder

SEC charges Total Wealth Management with fraud

Local firm misled clients, raked in kickbacks, says agency

The Securities and Exchange Commission today (April 15) charged a San Diego investment advisory firm, Total Wealth Management, and its owner, Jacob Cooper, with fraud. The firm's officials engaged in undislosed revenue-sharing agreements through which ...

Might Chargers eye property occupied by opera studio?

Commercial Street area could be developed near stadium site

San Diego Opera — in an internal struggle over dissolving — owns a set-making studio at 3064 Commercial Street. This studio has built more than 50 new productions for San Diego Opera through the years ...

Instant Checkmate defied Fair Credit Reporting Act

FTC spanks local consumer-report provider

San Diego–based Instant Checkmate has agreed to pay $525,000 to the Federal Trade Commission to settle charges that it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The company, using public records, sells information about consumers (addresses, ...

U-T raises street sales price

Jumps from $1.00 to $1.50

The U-T has boosted the price of its street-sales papers to $1.50 from $1.00, confirmed Harry Woldt, circulation director. He does not expect street sales to go down much as a result of the boost, ...

San Diego Opera head says all want to save company

But statement on Campbells' pay still enigmatic

Chairwoman Karen Cohn of the San Diego Opera today (April 10) issued a statement that suggests there has been a complete turnaround in sentiment. But her statement about the pay of Ian and Ann Campbell ...

PriceSmart suspends accounts of Cuban officials

Says it is merely complying with U.S. law

PriceSmart Jamaica, subsidiary of San Diego's PriceSmart, suspended the accounts of residents and staff of the Cuban Embassy and consular offices in Jamaica, according to the publication Gleaner. PriceSmart has warehouse clubs throughout much of ...

Three border officials face charges

Allegedly tried to push Alan Bersin–linked candidates

On Tuesday (April 8), the United States Office of Special Counsel filed complaints against three Customs and Border Protection officials, alleging they unlawfully manipulated the hiring process to put the favored candidates of Alan Bersin ...

Why more people leave than enter San Diego

Chargers blackouts and the opera’s demise are related to San Diego’s great weather.

San Diegans pay a big cost to live in perpetual sunshine. Income is moderately above the nation's, the cost of living is far above.

Former top executive embezzled from synagogue

La Jolla's Beth El lost almost $400,000

Eric Levine yesterday (April 7) admitted embezzling $394,873 from La Jolla's Beth El, of which he was executive director from 2007 to December of last year. He had control over the synagogue's bank and credit ...

Opera: Campbells could get up to $3 million more

Board members not given compensation committee minutes

If the San Diego Opera closes down after this season, as administrative and artistic director Ian Campbell desires, Campbell and his ex-wife Ann could make $2.5 million to $3 million after their work is over, ...

Former SD councilman ruled off ballot in Nevada

Mike Schaefer was disbarred in California, Nevada.

John Michael "Mike" Schaefer, a 1960s San Diego Councilman who tried to establish himself in Los Angeles, Nevada, and elsewhere, is battling election officials in Nevada. Schaefer, who was disbarred by Nevada in 2001 and ...

Edison execs dump $18 million of stock after rate deal

Proof that ratepayers raped, shareholders coddled.

On March 27, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric struck a proposed deal that ratepayers have denounced, because, if the deal is approved by the full California Public Utilities Commission, ratepayers will ...

Media publication says Manchester might sell

Wonders if Lynch looking for a buyer

The publication Nieman Journalism Lab, in a Ken Doctor article published yesterday (April 2), says that Southern California could be the epicenter of big changes in the newspaper industry. One reason, says Doctor, is that ...

Opera board not provided with information requested

$10 million need not be raised by April 29

"We have improperly been denied information," says a key board member of San Diego Opera. On March 28, eight board members of the opera sent a letter to opera director Ian Campbell and Chairwoman Karen ...

Opera board still looking for donors

Meets for four and a half hours today

The board of the San Diego Opera held a four-and-a-half-hour emergency meeting today (March 31). Ian Campbell, head of the opera, brought three lawyers with him. Marc Scorca of Opera America also attended. The plans ...

Bookstore to close — but not why you think

Mall owner needs parking space

All over the country, brick-and-mortar bookstores are closing because the industry is increasingly getting its sales online. But this July, a very successful Barnes & Noble store will close in the Del Mar Highlands Town ...

Letter sent by San Diego Opera board members today (March 28)

I have removed the names of the signers.

March 28, 2014 Dear Ian and Karen, We as Board members believe the following information is essential to understanding the current situation of the San Diego Opera and to knowledgeably participate in Board meetings that ...

Eleven opera board members demand information

Held meeting Wednesday; letter goes out today

Eleven irate members of the San Diego Opera board held a private meeting Wednesday. They will be sending out a letter to the other 47 board members this afternoon. "We have to have the information ...

Hacker attacking Israeli group gets 15 months

Had crashed his Mercedes into Pacific Beach duplex.

On Thursday (March 27), a computer hacker who had lived — and was briefly jailed — in San Diego was sentenced to 15 months in prison by a St. Louis federal judge. Jonathan Cowden had ...

Will San Onofre settlement help ratepayers?

Aguirre skeptical

The Office of Ratepayer Advocates, a group within the California Public Utilities Commission that represents ratepayers, has reached an agreement with Southern California Edison and SDG&E, co-owners of the shuttered San Onofre nuclear operation. The ...

Opera president denies ugliest rumors

City wouldn't cut Civic Center rent.

Karen Cohn, chairwoman of San Diego Opera, says if some moneybags comes forward with a fat gift, the opera would love to start business again. I interviewed her because Ian Campbell, general director, said he ...

San Diego water: You will pay

Even if the drought miraculously ends, water will be taking money from your pocketbook.

March was supposed to come in with a deluge. But populated areas got disappointingly little rain. And the rest of the month has been desert-dry. An El Niño may help later, but that’s iffy. Maybe ...

Court to San Diego: hands off Travelocity

Chinese tourists will outnumber nerds

The City of San Diego lost an appeal in the state second appellate district March 5. San Diego and other cities like Anaheim and Santa Monica wanted to slap a transient occupancy tax (hotel tax) ...

The inside story of San Diego Opera's demise

Who is at fault?

On the evening of March 20, San Francisco Opera held its annual meeting. David Gockley, general director, said the announced folding of San Diego Opera is "a tragedy." San Diego was"one of the best-run companies ...

Shocker: San Diego Opera to fold

Board votes 33-1 to close down

According to the U-T, the San Diego Opera will close down at the end of this season after 49 years. The board voted 33 to 1 for the shuttering today (March 19). Ian Campbell, general ...

Scheme to steal $20 million from Navy detailed

Second confession in Glenn Defense Marine Asia scandal

Alex Wisidagama, a former executive of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia, pleaded guilty today (March 18) to participating in a scheme to get the United States to overpay $20 million for supplies and services. The ...

Former SDPD detective pleads guilty

Encinas admits falsifying records to impede crime investigation

Former San Diego police detective Ernesto Encinas pleaded guilty today (March 18) to conspiring to commit campaign finance crimes at the local and federal levels. He admitted that he and his co-conspirators agreed to make ...

California Public Utilities Commission attacked!

Regulator wouldn't allow intervenor fees to be paid to attorney Aguirre

San Diego attorney Mike Aguirre today (March 18) held a press conference to denounce the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for denying him intervenor fees in his recent battle against San Diego Gas & Electric's ...

Mayor Faulconer kills proposal to purge emails

Says open government necessary

Mayor Kevin Faulconer today (March 18) rescinded a proposal to eliminate city emails after one year. People were shocked to find that officials who rely on information trails — such as auditor Eduardo Luna and ...

Lindbergh Field drug smugglers busted

Hand-offs made by baggage handlers in adjoining bathroom stalls

Four baggage handlers at San Diego International Airport (aka Lindbergh Field) were indicted Friday (March 14) on charges of conspiring to smuggle cocaine and methamphetamine onto aircraft by exploiting their ability to pass unchecked through ...

Ted Leitner has on-air meltdown at SDSU game

Calls Las Vegas security personnel "morons"

San Diego State basketball announcer Ted Leitner blew his stack yesterday afternoon as the Aztecs lost a squeaker to New Mexico at the Mountain West Conference title game held in Las Vegas. The meltdown came ...

State police departments using cell-phone trackers

San Diego among users, according to study

Sacramento's News10 has come out with a major study of police-department uses of so-called "stingray" devices to monitor cell-phone conversations. San Diego is among many California law-enforcement agencies using the devices. When a stingray is ...

Report notes DeMaio's "green" hypocrisy

He touts renewable energy but takes money from Koch brothers

It appears that Carl DeMaio, who wants to run for Congress, likes both green energy and green money collected from climate-change deniers. The publication thinkprogress.org notes that on his campaign website, DeMaio, who calls himself ...

Abbe Wolfsheimer-Stutz dies

"She had integrity; didn't deal in nonsense."

Abbe Wolfsheimer-Stutz, who served for eight years on the San Diego City Council, died of lung cancer yesterday afternoon (March 13). She had been diagnosed last July. She wanted no memorial services, but it is ...

New rules could hurt for-profit schools

Bridgepoint stock has plunged this week

The Obama administration is moving forward with a regulatory proposal that should, if it goes into effect, curb the abuses of for-profit colleges. Students at these schools represent 13% of higher-education enrollment but account for ...

Manchester rumored to drop Austin hotel

Experts say market saturated, move would be wise

The rumor is hot that Doug Manchester is not going ahead with his 1035-room, $350-million hotel in Austin, Texas. I could not get confirmation from Manchester or the owner of the property. The groundbreaking has ...

Who told the feds about Azano? Bob Brewer, that’s who.

Bob Brewer gleefully shouts how Bonnie Dumanis is cozy with Mexican moneybags Azano. But it was Brewer who initially put the Feds on Azano's tail.

Embezzling, forging one's way into Rancho Santa Fe

Bean-counter admits to stealing $2.5 million

Alfonso Fierro Jr. wanted to live the high life. He did. He was controller of WSA Distributing from 2008 through 2012. In 2012, he was named chief financial officer. On the last day of February, ...

Auditor, ethics director back plan to purge emails

Luna, Fulhorst a surprise…Goldsmith not

The administrative regulation that city emails will be saved for only one year is an abomination that — supposedly — Mayor Faulconer will cock an eyebrow at. (There is some skepticism about whether he will ...

County unemployment rate jumps in January

SD loses 16,400 jobs

The San Diego County unemployment rate leapt to 7% in January from 6.5% in December, as nonfarm jobs declined by 16,400. However, much of that was seasonal. Retail jobs dropped 8700. Educational and health services ...

CPUC shows its inbred corruption

It guards company profits, fleeces consumers

Over a period of several years, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) cozied up to its buddies at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which cares about utility profits, but not about ratepayer fairness. SDG&E ...

Almost 40% of households can't afford San Diego

Cost of living too high, incomes too low

A new study released this morning (March 6), reveals that 38% of San Diego County's working-age households can't afford a no-frills lifestyle without public or private assistance. Even in households with someone working full-time, 23.5% ...

Detroit Red Wings deal a cautionary tale

How billionaire Ilitch clan fleeced bankrupt city

The sports publication deadspin.com this week excerpted a story on the Detroit Red Wings scam from Next City, a magazine for urban leaders. The story unearths some new, horripilating facts. A week after Detroit declared ...

Montana judge won't dismiss SDG&E wind-farm case

Utility rebuffed in dispute in which it is doing the right thing

A Montana judge yesterday (March 4) kept a temporary injunction in place against San Diego Gas & Electric. The local utility wanted the judge to dismiss a case and permit it to withdraw its planned ...

Two SD County lawyers disbarred

One stole client money, other charged with felonies

Two San Diego County lawyers have been disbarred, according to the Calbar Journal. John Edward Engel of Carlsbad was disbarred for misappropriating $57,808.70 of a client's money. James Wade Stephens of San Diego was disbarred ...

U-T pressroom employees get raises

All under $16 an hour to get boost

Cory Fish, director of human resources for U-T San Diego, today (March 3) notified the Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters that the company has decided to give merit-based increases to certain ...

Winter homeless shelters to stay open until June 30

Activists want them open permanently

The San Diego City Council voted today (March 3) to keep temporary winter homeless shelters open until June 30 at a cost of $1 million. They were scheduled to close March 31, evicting 350 homeless, ...

San Diego considered floating stadium 50 years ago

But Mission Bay structure was too expensive

"The Strike Zone," a feature of Sports Illustrated, pointed out on February 28 that half a century ago, San Diego considered a floating sports stadium. It would float on Mission Bay, attached to Fiesta Island. ...

The Donald trumped in federal court here

His Trump University claims attacked by ex-students

Federal Court judge Gonzalo Curiel has issued rulings in two cases against Donald Trump and his so-called Trump University, which are real-estate seminars of varying degrees of complexity. Former students of the alleged school, who ...

Hackers break into mortgage-broker accounts

Charged with stealing $100,000 from Tijuana

Two men were charged in indictments unsealed this week with hacking into computer servers of a major U.S. mortgage broker to steal personal information and siphon $100,000 in funds from the accounts. They used the ...