Back to profile

Stories by Don Bauder

Too much sexy times in Oceanside

Police officer's comments damage city — on the hook for more than $1M

Kimberli Hirst, a phlebotomist working for a private company, has been awarded $1.125 million as as result of being the victim of sexual harassment by Oceanside police officer Gilbert Garcia, who was later fired by ...

Texas-sized b.s.

Alfred Louis "Bobby" Vassallo pleads guilty to fraud

Alfred Louis "Bobby" Vassallo, former La Jollan and inveterate name-dropper, has confessed to wire fraud and will be sentenced August 24. He pleaded guilty in federal court in Santa Ana in April. The Texan blew ...

Fix you up good, mahn!

"Dr." Mitchell Holland, once a chiropractor, convicted of international fraud

Mitchell Holland, a former San Diego chiropractor who still uses the title "Dr." in touting his financial expertise, has been convicted in Florida of nine counts of wire fraud. The U.S. Attorney's office in Jacksonville ...

U-T to be sold to L.A. Times parent for $85 million

"There will be layoffs," says editor

Both the U-T and the Los Angeles Times announced today that they are joining forces. The Times' parent, Tribune Publishing, will pay $85 million for the U-T. This does not include the U-T's Mission Valley ...

La Jolla fabulist earns what he deserves

James Yiu Lee claimed he had PhD, JD, and MBA — now he has 78 months behind bars

James Yiu Lee, a La Jolla resident, was sentenced yesterday (May 4) to 78 months in prison for defrauding investors of $10.5 million through online trading. Lee told potential clients that he was a certified ...

Ambulances chased and caught

U.S. attorney's office squeezes companies involved in kickback scheme

In a lawsuit unsealed in federal court today, five Southern California ambulance companies agreed to pay more than $11.5 million to resolve Department of Justice kickback allegations. Among the five were two San Diego–based companies, ...

Rancho Santa Fe lawyer suspended from practice

Donald William McVay left hanging last year and in 2013, 2012, 2011, 2008, and 2006

The State Bar of California has suspended Donald William McVay of Rancho Santa Fe Law Group from the practice of law. McVay accepted a client when he was not eligible to practice law, collected an ...

Fraudulent, felonious, and malicious

State bar investigating J. Douglass Jennings Jr., San Diego's "best tax attorney"

The State Bar website reveals that California's attorneys' registry and certifying body is investigating John Douglass Jennings Jr., who claims that many consider him "San Diego's best tax attorney." The bar charges that Jennings cheated ...

Commission of lies, company of duplicity

Edison's own documents raise questions

The question of "who is telling the truth?" arises from documents Southern California Edison recently released related to the decision to force ratepayers to pay 70 percent of the nearly $5 billion cost of decommissioning ...

If it ain't a craft beer, sue!

San Diegan says MillerCoors'(™) Blue Moon (™) is illegitimate

Evan Parent in late April went to Superior Court to prove that Blue Moon beer is not a craft beer, as its brewer, MillerCoors, claims. Parent says he used to drink Blue Moon and was ...

No están los mas machos ahora

Macho Sports gambling guys Jan Harald and Erik Portocarrero plead guilty

Brothers Jan Harald Portocarrero and Erik Portocarrero pleaded guilty today (May 1) to operating an internet and telephone sports-gambling ring in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas. It was based in Lima, Peru, and ...

Peevey the pusher man

Edison officials claim former commissioner didn't influence them, however...

The San Onofre–related documents that Southern California Edison turned over to the California Public Utilities Commission yesterday (April 29) are all one needs to know about the company's credibility. The commission is supposed to turn ...

This is a job for the master of disaster

Edison hired Fabiani; utility company won't turn over documents

San Diego attorneys Mike Aguirre and Maria Severson tonight (April 29) received word from Southern California Edison on the documents it refuses to turn over in a lawsuit the lawyers filed against the company in ...

Is yoga a religion?

Courts say it is, but Encinitas schools have scrubbed their yoga programs clean

Since 2012, the Encinitas-based Sonima Foundation has given $3.3 million to the Encinitas Union School District so that students can practice yoga. Sonima is spreading money around elsewhere — for example, it is giving $400,000 ...

Water deal with Imperial Valley on the line

San Diego's paltry water assets may soon be significantly reduced

San Diegans haven't awakened to a major water-supply peril: the possibility that a 2003 deal arranged to bring water from the Imperial Valley could be in deep trouble. A May 4 New Yorker article says ...

Picked at and peeved

Group alleges mischief done by new public utilities commissioner

State and federal investigators are looking into whether critical decisions of the California Public Utilities Commission were made in secret by Michael Peevey, retired president of the regulatory body. Now, a group known as Protect ...

Thanks, alleged global warming

San Diego hotels' occupancy rate and prices jumped last month

Occupancy and average daily room rate of hotels in warmer climates have done well this year, and San Diego is one of the leaders, says Jerry Morrison of Encinitas-based Morrison & Co. According to Smith ...

At least Granddad Sefton cared

Years of court give way to ruling in favor of disinherited Thomas Jr.

When Tom Sefton, scion of the San Diego banking family, died in 2006, he left nothing to Thomas Sefton Jr., his son by his first marriage. He left most of the estate to his children ...

Yes…no...yes to public-financed sports

Former Padres head Lucchino seeks taxpayer funds for baseball team

Larry Lucchino, former president of the Padres, was a driving force in the massive subsidies that built Petco Park and lined John Moores's pockets. Earlier, Lucchino had also loved subsidies when he pushed for a ...

Legalese in long-hand

From jail, Michael T. Pines says some trying to murder him

During the housing crisis, North County attorney Michael T. Pines advised clients who had lost their homes to foreclosure to break in and retake the house, even though new owners had taken title. Pines was ...

Is the smartphone fad dying?

Chip-making Qualcomm not feeling so strong

Qualcomm yesterday (April 22) predicted weaker-than-expected revenue and earnings for its third quarter. The chip-maker said its third quarter net income will be 67 cents to 82 cents a share on sales of $5.4 billion ...

Surprise! San Diegans are good budgeters

Study suggests locals are mindful about saving dough to avoid debt

Statistics show it: San Diego has a median household income that is moderately higher than the nation's, but the cost of living — particularly housing — is far higher than the national average. Locals call ...

Put that in your pipeline and smoke it

"California was AWOL in fighting against fraud, manipulation…"

The United States Supreme Court decided today (April 21) that companies can sue under state antitrust laws when they believe pipeline companies are committing fraud by manipulating indexes they use to figure the market price ...

Need: males, Republicans, Latinos

Stadium vote: "challenging but winnable"

The passing of a new Chargers stadium ballot measure next year will be "challenging but winnable," according to a study by the National University System Institute for Policy Research. The Republican-Latino coalition that put the ...

Publications again point finger at Copley water use

Law protects big guzzlers

As the drought threatens California, journalists are once again pointing to a 1997 law that weakened California open government laws by shielding huge water users — corporations as well as rich folks. On Thursday, April ...

Retired master sergeant headed to slammer for two years

He cruised gyms, stole credit cards, went on spending sprees

Christopher Dwan Underwood, a retired Air Force master sergeant, was sentenced to two years in prison today (April 17) for stealing government credit cards and personal identifying information from service members. According to United States ...

He stole from elderly, served time

Now he is banned from securities industry

The Securities and Exchange Commission today (April 17) banned Charles Duane Lewis from association with anyone in the securities industry. Lewis, who resides in La Mesa, was a broker with H.D. Vest Investment Securities from ...

County unemployment rate keeps dropping

March hit 5.1 percent as county gained 8000 jobs

The San Diego County unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in March, down from a revised 5.3 percent in February, as 8000 nonfarm jobs were added in the month. Government was the big gainer, adding 2000 ...

"Patriots"? Hah.

Army reservists caught selling guns to drug cartel impostors

Two United States Army reservists were arrested yesterday (April 15) for illegally selling military firearms to an undercover agent posing as a member of a Mexican drug cartel. Jaime Casillas and Andrew Reyes were to ...

Order in the court, Judge Bencivengo!

Attorney Mike Aguirre to point out utilities commission case is not dead

Attorney Mike Aguirre will argue this afternoon (April 16) that U.S. District court judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo was wrong when she ruled tentatively earlier this week that Aguirre's "taking" case could not be heard in ...

House poor, data rich

Numbers indicate San Diegans pay more for shelter than all metro areas

In the fourth quarter of last year, the median home price in San Diego hit $430,000 — 59 percent higher than the 2009 bottom but still below the $500,000 peak of 2005. Kelly Cunningham, economist ...

The nefarious nut

Two-thirds of the almond and pistachio crops are sent overseas

Are almonds "the center of a nefarious plot to suck California dry?" asks the publication Mother Jones, which has been reporting regularly on the possibility of a Southwest megadrought and the problem with so much ...

Big-idea Todd

Rancho Santa Fe attorney admits forgery, put up clients' cases as collateral

Todd Macaluso, a Rancho Santa Fe attorney, pleaded guilty today (April 14) to forging signatures of clients and notaries as part of a scheme to put personal-injury clients' cases up as collateral to investors without ...

Hedge fund wants Qualcomm to break up

It's a scheme to run up stock, which is up sharply this morning

Activist investment hedge fund Jana Partners this morning (April 13) said it wants Qualcomm to consider spinning off its chip unit from its patent-licensing business. Qualcomm stock is up more than 5 percent in pre-opening ...

Something sinister in Warsaw?

Utilities commissioner Peevey likely wrote San Onofre script with Edison VP

On March 26, 2013, Michael Peevey, then president of the California Public Utilities Commission, and Stephen Pickett, then an executive vice president of Southern California Edison, had a secret huddle at the Bristol Hotel in ...

But will there be enough water for One Paseo?

Development opponents point out "historic drought of Biblical proportions."

Three community groups today (April 8) filed a writ of mandate in Superior Court to overturn the city council's March approval of the massive One Paseo development project and the council's certification of the environmental ...

Plainly constitutional

Companies can't sponsor ballot measures in Chula Vista

On Friday (April 3), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a district court decision that keeps corporations and associations from being official proponents of ballot measures. A group called Chula ...

Casino boss told to butt out of button rumpus

National Labor Relations Board spanks Casino Pauma

On Tuesday (March 31), the National Labor Relations Board, which monitors unfair labor practices, told Casino Pauma in Pauma Valley that it has to rescind anti-union practices such as prohibiting employees from wearing union buttons. ...

Aw, man, you got ginkgo biloba'ed?

Putative class action filed against Costco says smart pills didn't work

For at least a century, people have been told that smart pills really don't make you smarter. Now the thesis is being tested in federal court in San Diego. A case originally filed in San ...

Reduce water…and continue building? Huh?

Global warming could make drought last decades

Yesterday (April 1), Governor Jerry Brown imposed statewide mandatory water restrictions for the first time in history. He wants California's water use slashed by 25 percent. He read off some horrifying statistics: the state's snowpack ...

Fired — and not liking it at all

Former head of Tri-City Healthcare sues for unlawful termination

Larry Anderson, who was fired as head of Oceanside's Tri-City Healthcare District on October 17 of 2013, filed suit in federal court on March 25, claiming the medical center violated his 14th Amendment rights, among ...

Put up or cover-up, public utilities commission?

Agency delays documents, pays pricey attorneys for strategic guidance

Ever since Watergate, astute observers have said about American law enforcement and the justice system, "It's not the crime. It's the cover-up." When the press and the public get suspicious of a massive coverup, the ...

Is Peevey worth $882 an hour?

State judicial employees say they can handle case of former commission head

A group representing attorneys employed by the state says that the $5.2 million that the state will pay an outside law firm, Sheppard Mullin, to defend former California Public Utilities Commission head Michael Peevey is ...

Chargers in Inglewood? Looks like it

Could all or part of the team be sold?

Channel 10 is reporting tonight that the plans for Stan Kroenke's stadium in Inglewood have separate locker rooms for two home teams and two separate owners' boxes. Ergo, two National Football League teams will occupy ...

Watershed moment...and the levee holds

Ellen Pao loses tech gender bias case against against Silicon Valley firm

In a suit closely watched throughout the tech industry, Ellen Pao lost her gender bias case this afternoon (March 27) against the Silicon Valley venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers. A jury ...

Michael Shames loses appeal of libel suit

Former UCAN head protested payment of legal fees

The Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, yesterday (March 25) ruled that Michael Shames, former head of Utility Consumers Action Network (UCAN), will have to pay legal fees incurred in a libel suit he lost ...

Blackout ban may suggest L.A. mess close to solution

But do Chargers have money to relocate there?

National Football League owners and executives are huddling in Phoenix this week and Chargers fans are waiting for big announcements that probably won't come. The owners were given a thorough briefing on the team-relocation situation ...

(Un)happy Repeat Offenders Day!

Two cases of not learning the length of the law's arm

Yesterday (March 23) was one for repeat offenders in San Diego. Ramiro Plascencia-Orozco was given an extraordinarily long sentence — 15 years — for identity theft. According to federal court records, Plascencia-Orozco has used at ...

Nuke waste volleyball

Edison, SDG&E want feds, not state, to decide decommissioning issues

Tons of nuclear waste will be buried in North County as the now-decommissioned San Onofre nuclear plant is taken apart over the next several years. But the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission should have jurisdiction over ...

River pilots fleeced by San Diego pirates

Local real-estaters headed east to cheat Louisianans

Timothy Monahan, a San Diego real estate developer, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison Thursday (March 19) in New Orleans. Monahan and another San Diego real estate operator, Mark Hoffmann, convinced ...