Bart Mendoza 5 a.m., Dec. 8
SEDC to be sued if not paying for outgoing prez' legal fees?
With the City of San Diego now suing outgoing Southeastern Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) president Carolyn Smith to recover off-budget bonuses, there is now the possibility being bandied about that Ms. Smith will sue SEDC if that redevelopment agency withdraws its payment of her legal fees in the City Attorney's action.
SEDC has conditioned its legal fee payments for the outgoing president on a determination that she was acting within the scope of her office. The City Attorney's suit naturally alleges that the activities of interest were not only outside the scope of her office but were also a violation of her fiduciary duties to SEDC and the people of San Diego.
The SEDC bonus money sought in the City Attorney's suit was awarded by Smith to herself and other redevelopment staffers even while city employees in general were under a pay raise freeze as the city was going through the worst part of its credit crunch/budget crisis.
One solution, if the outgoing SEDC president does sue SEDC for legel fees, is to simply relieve SEDC of its charge to promote Southeast San Diego redevelopment, transfer that function back to the City Council which already functions as the city-wide redevelopment agency (SEDC only operates in Southeast San Diego)....
... and then let Ms. Smith show her true colors by presenting her with the opportunity to sue the City of San Diego for her legal fees instead.
At least we would all know how this professional agency head feels about the people of San Diego who she was allegedly serving and who are ultimately paying not only for her presidential SEDC errors in judgment but also for both the prosecution and defense in the City Attorney's attempt to recover the apparently-unethical self-dealing bonuses.
Why can't she pay for her own legal fees out of that hefty unquestioned portion of that salary of hers?