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Stories by Don Bauder

"Godfather of Camp Pendleton" pleads guilty to bribery

Natividad Lara Cervantes and two contractors charged in kickback scheme

Natividad "Nate" Lara Cervantes, who reportedly referred to himself as the "Godfather of Camp Pendleton," pleaded guilty on January 21 to a kickback scheme in the awarding of construction and service contracts at the Marine ...

Dinesh D'Souza indicted in campaign finance case

Allegedly used straw donors to funnel money to candidate

Conservative author and philosopher Dinesh D'Souza was indicted yesterday (January 23) for violating federal campaign-finance laws by using straw donors to funnel money to a United States Senate candidate. The indictment did not name the ...

Bumble Bee's claims on omega-3 challenged in court

But judge throws out complaint about vitamin A and iron

San Diego–based Bumble Bee Foods, LLC, located near Petco Park, has been sued in federal court in the Northern District of California over claims it makes about its tuna products. The plaintiff argues that Bumble ...

Former Rev. Barry Minkow admits fleecing church

Defrauded SD Community Bible Church of more than $3 million

Barry Minkow (formerly Rev. Barry Minkow) admitted today (January 22) that he defrauded his former San Diego Community Bible Church of more than $3 million. Minkow is currently serving time in the Federal Medical Center ...

Union-Tribune loses suit to carriers

Judge orders payment of $10 million

Superior court judge John S. Meyer has ruled against the Union-Tribune in a class-action suit brought in early 2009 by the newspaper's carriers. The carriers claimed they were misclassified as independent contractors when they actually ...

Will Nicolas Marsch get invited to Jewel Ball?

Patricia and Nicolas Marsch III are society darlings, but judges in San Diego and Florida doubt Nicolas's credibility.

A Florida judge awarded a billion dollars in damages to builder Lennar Corporation in a defamation suit against Nicolas Marsch III and fraudster-turned-pastor Barry Minkow. Marsch filed bankruptcy. Minkow went back to prison.

Former SDPD detective wanted Chief Lansdowne out

Cop took part in scheme to funnel illegal campaign contributions

Ravneet Singh, head of a Washington DC political firm, was arraigned today (January 21) on charges that he conspired to steer illegal foreign money into San Diego political campaigns. Also charged was retired San Diego ...

Jewish center canceled singer's show

Eyal Golan suspected of sex with minor

Jewish media such as the Jerusalem Post and Jewish Telegraphic Agency are reporting that San Diego's Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center canceled a performance by singer Eyal Golan because of member protests about Golan's alleged ...

Defense Department, San Diego win big in appropriations bill

Air Force gets eight more drones than requested

The military is doing cartwheels over passage of the 2014 defense appropriations bill by Congress. More than $99 billion for procurement in the base and war sections has the Penteagon particularly pleased, according to the ...

Charge it: Casias brothers sentenced for sports scam

Fans purchased game packages, got cheated

Twin brothers Anthony Donald Casias and Leo Ronald Casias Jr. on Friday (January 17) were sentenced to prison for defrauding local sports fans. Customers paid their L&T Sports Events Inc. money for travel, lodging, transportation, ...

Palomar Health gets low debt rating and warning

Heavy debt load cited by Fitch

Fitch Ratings has affirmed the BB+ rating on Palomar Health's outstanding debt and revised the rating outlook to negative from stable. Only two years ago the healthcare operator, formerly known as Palomar Pomerado Health System, ...

California Public Utilities commissioner Ferron resigns

Warns that utilities need to be watched "very, very carefully"

Mark Ferron, commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission, resigned yesterday (January 15). In 2012, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Pete Hasapopoulos, organizer for the San Diego Chapter of the ...

Orange County Register laying off newsroom employees

Under new owner, it had surprised industry by hiring

Jim Romenesko, the media columnist at jimromenesko.com, reported today (January 16) that he received multiple communications from Orange County Register newsroom employees who got the axe. Romenesko said that, as of last count, 32 newsroom ...

Indonesian woman says she was enslaved in San Diego area

Local couple among defendants in civil lawsuit

A San Diego area couple, Rim and Tarik Alahmad, are defendants in a lawsuit brought forth by an Indonesian woman who claimed she was enslaved for 13 years in the United States. The suit was ...

Defense contractor Vector admits criminal fraud

Will pay $6.5 million for submitting false claims

San Diego–based Vector Planning & Services yesterday (January 14) admitted that it criminally defrauded the Department of Defense. The company agreed to pay $6.5 million to resolve civil and criminal cases. The company admitted that ...

Judge thumbs down NFL concussion settlement

Concern that retired players may get shortchanged

Philadelphia federal judge Anita B. Brody today (January 14) rejected the National Football League's agreement to pay $765 million to settle claims with players who have suffered concussion damages. Most observers viewed the August 2013 ...

Chlamydia does well in San Diego

Centers for Disease Control report spreads the news

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2012 report. Statistics for some diseases are broken down by metropolitan area. The San Diego metro area (the county) did poorly ...

Defendant bites back, sues IRS

Government said Three Rivers Provider Network founder stashed away money

In March of last year, a curious lawsuit was filed in superior court against the Internal Revenue Service; the plaintiff was "John Doe Company." Now, two healthcare-related publications, Healthcare IT News and Modern Healthcare, have ...

Kaiser hit with sexual harassment suit

Plaintiff says she complained four times and got no action

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, along with employee Emmanuel Iheke, have been hit with a superior-court sexual harassment and battery lawsuit by another employee, Adriana Arias. The suit claims that Iheke, who ...

CareFusion pays fat fine for engaging in kickbacks

Product uses were not approved by the FDA

San Diego-based CareFusion Corp. yesterday, January 9, agreed to pay the government $40.1 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by paying kickbacks and promoting its products for uses not approved ...

North Park gang members indicted for sex trafficking

Murder, kidnapping, involved, says U.S. attorney

An indictment was unsealed today, January 8, charging 24 North Park gang members and their associates wth running a racketeering conspiracy involving cross-country sex trafficking of underage girls and women as well as murder, kidnapping, ...

U-T's moves raise employees’ fears of layoffs

More head-chopping could come this week, according to rumors

U-T San Diego’s recent spending slashes have employees worried about possible layoffs — perhaps as early as this week. Three management moves have generated the rumors: (1) The company told employees that it is ending ...

Chhatrala Group hotels in trouble for back taxes

Woes in Grand Rapids and Victorville

San Diego–based Chhatrala Group, which owns hotels around the country, is in trouble for back taxes in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Victorville. The company has a limited-liability company named Chhatrala Grand Rapids, LLC. The Grand ...

Blackout looming for Chargers' NFL playoff game?

Slow ticket sales in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Green Bay

Bloomberg News reported earlier today, January 2, that three National Football League playoff games this weekend could be blacked out in home markets because of lagging ticket sales. Thousands of tickets are still available in ...

Chicago Transit Authority wants $1.2 million from Cubic

Ventra system initially flopped, resulting in free rides

San Diego–based Cubic Corp's Transportation Systems, which specializes in fare-collection systems, installed the "Ventra" payment system in Chicago during 2013. But there were slipups and hiccups from the outset. The Chicago Transit Authority calculates that ...

Moores's horse goes for European record $8.1 million

Former Peregrine buddy Charles Noell his partner in stables

John Moores, former majority owner of the Padres and longtime crony Charles Noell have pulled another financial coup: Merriebelle Stables, which they own jointly, sold a broodmare for $8.1 million, the highest price ever paid ...

San Diego’s 2014 economy looking so-so

Sorta Happy New Year

San Diego economy this year will be weak, very much like last year.

SEC whacks NY firm for helping San Diego adviser

Instinet to pay $800,000 for helping J.S. Oliver fleece clients

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on December 26 sanctioned New York-based Instinet for ignoring signs that San Diego's J.S. Oliver Capital Management was ripping off its clients. Instinet agreed to pay $800,000 to settle ...

Citizens for Odor Nuisance Abatement sues city

Fence encourages sea lion and bird pooping

A group calling itself Citizens for Odor Nuisance Abatement has filed a Superior Court suit against the City of San Diego and interim mayor Todd Gloria, according to Courthouse News Service. The suit demands that ...

Jumpin' jatropha! Are our energy worries over?

San Diego's SGB startup domesticates oil-producing plant

The New York Times this morning, December 25, features a long, positive story on a San Diego startup company, SGB (seeds, genetics, biofuels), which is growing a plant named jatropha. The seeds of the Jatropha ...

SDG&E in legal tangle with Montana wind farms

Company allegedly stopped promised investments

NaturEner, which operates three wind farms in Montana, has filed a suit in Montana District Court against San Diego Gas & Electric, according to the publications North American Windpower and Power Engineering. Those three wind ...

Mexican judge says Sempra LNG land belongs to rancher

The utility has warned that losing the plant could hurt business

The Agrarian Tribunal of Baja California has ruled that the government wrongly issued the title to land on which Sempra Energy's liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant sits. The land in Baja California belongs to a ...

Argyll Equities fleeced top executives, others

Contrary to promises, the stock was sold to finance the loans

Jeffrey Spanier was convicted by a federal jury on Friday, December 20, for his role in a scam that took $100 million from people, including top executives. Spanier, Douglas McClain, and James Miceli ran an ...

SeaWorld fights killer whale controversy with ads

More music act cancellations due to documentary

SeaWorld Entertainment, beset by the documentary Blackfish, which blasts the company's treatment of orcas, on December 20 placed ads in several newspapers, including the U-T. SeaWorld has a park here. The ads attempt to exonerate ...

Qualcomm reportedly frightened of Apple innovation

New microprocessor may have long-term consequences for chip-maker

According to an article on the Hubspot website, Apple's iPhone5 has a 64-bit A7 microprocessor that has competitors quaking. Qualcomm provides microprocessors for Android phones that compete against Apple. Hubspot quotes an alleged Qualcomm insider ...

Drones are humanitarian, misnamed, says General Atomics

But why did the company give them the name "Predator"?

The United Kingdom is holding a select committee inquiry into remote-controlled warfare. San Diego's General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, the big drone-maker, submitted a paper, complaining that the word "drone" has pejorative connotations. Indeed, that word ...

Home of La Costa co-founder Allard Roen for sale

He was partner of notorious hood Moe Dalitz

A home near the third tee of La Costa Country Club, at 2050 Caleta Court in Carlsbad, is up for sale for $2.2 million. It was the home of Allard Roen, one of four controversial ...

Navy scandal expands

Another pleads guilty to supplying information for high living, prostitutes

The scandal surrounding Singapore-based Glenn David Marine Asia, and the gifts the company provided to Navy personnel in exchange for luxury living and prostitutes, expanded yesterday, December 17. Supervisory special agent John Bertrand Beliveau pleaded ...

Hitchcock star wins $1.5 million for San Diego accident

Birds blamed for bringing on Tippi Hedren's headaches

Actress Tippi Hedren, whose most famous role was in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds in 1963, has won a $1.5 million case over a gallon of water that hit her on the head at San Diego's ...

Two cozeners get prison time

Stock market, mortgage swindlers to the slammer

John G. Rizzo was sentenced yesterday, December 16, to 30 months in prison for fraudulently hiring offshore boiler rooms to sell penny stock in software firm iTracker. Investors were not told that only 20 percent ...

Girard Securities brokerage disciplined

Mistakenly permitted fraudulent email money transfers

San Diego-based Girard Securities has been censured by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for unknowingly permitting fraudulent money transfers from customers' accounts. The firm, which has 360 brokers and 136 branches, has changed its procedures, ...

Paul Jacobs out — Steve Mollenkopf in as Qualcomm's new CEO

Former chief exec to remain as chairman

Steve Mollenkopf, who was considered a dark horse to run Microsoft, will be chief executive of Qualcomm. The surprise announcement was made this morning, December 13. Mollenkopf is currently chief operating officer of Qualcomm. The ...

Jefferson law school's dean admits school's errors

Expense of new building, "indecipherable scholarship policy" noted in memo

Thomas Guernsey, who has been dean of the ailing Thomas Jefferson School of Law since July, has sent a memo to staff admitting past sins and revealing massive pay and staff cuts. Among the troubled ...

Alleged tax dodger stole dead children's identities

Lloyd Irving Taylor said to have created passports and phony bank accounts

Lloyd Irving Taylor was arraigned in San Diego's U.S. District Court today, December 12, on charges of aggravated identity theft, tax evasion, and other crimes. The indictment alleges that Taylor stole the identities of nine ...

Hotel group HEI and Unite Here smoke peace pipe

Local union picketed hotels here

Connecticut-based HEI Hotels & Resorts and the labor union Unite Here have announced the foundation of a long-term partnership to improve industry-wide relations. HEI owns the San Diego Marriott La Jolla (purchased in mid-2011 for ...

Bowls full of money and mushy teams

College football revenue machine in high gear

College bowl games are all about money — for sponsors, advertisers, television, university athletic departments, coaches — everybody except players (the players claim, anyway.) Decades ago, bowl games featured top teams playing other top teams. ...

Manpower sees mild job market in first quarter 2014

Slightly weaker than same period in 2013

San Diego's job market will be mild in the first quarter of 2014 — slightly weaker than this year's first quarter, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. In next year's first quarter, 15 percent ...

Gildred gets the award, but was he the innovator?

Tom Gildred takes bows for creating Emerald Textiles, but appellate court decision says somebody else was the innovator.

Surfer Joel Tudor attacked in Kookbox lawsuit

Former partner’s allegations may prompt countersuit

Del Mar's Joel Tudor is a surfing icon, having won the United States Open of longboarding eight times. But on November 19 in federal court in New York, a onetime business partner, Andrew Blauschild, a ...

SeaWorld in more hot water

Blackfish documentary stirs up more controversy

Three music groups have pulled out of SeaWorld Entertainment's Orlando Band, Brew & BBQ festival planned to begin February 1. Rock band Barenaked Ladies canceled its appearance because of the Blackfish documentary, which pillories the ...