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Judge William R. Nevitt, Jr. has ruled that former port commissioner Harvey Furgatch is entitled to attorney fees and statutory costs of $683,000 in his long-running lawsuit showing that the $21 million that the port district suddenly came up with in October of 1998 to fill a hole in ballpark financing was illegal. The City paid $309,000 in August, taking money from Centre City Development Corp. to cover it. The port paid the rest in August. It's a story of typical San Diego corruption and the courts' and governments' attempts to cover it up. On October 20 of 1998, three weeks before the vote on the ballpark, David Malcolm, then port chairman, and Susan Golding, then mayor, announced that the port would provide $21 million for the ballpark. (There had been a hole that large in the financing package.) Furgatch knew it was fraud. There had been no announced port meeting. He sued on two grounds, and showed that the port clearly had held an unannounced, closed-session meeting to discuss the ballpark gift. Two Superior Court judges, Linda Quinn and S. Charles Wickersham, threw out the suits on grounds that appellate courts subsequently knocked down. In the Wickersham suit, the appeals court got rather testy, lecturing the judge on how to handle such a suit. Finally, it went to a third judge. Furgatch's attorney Stan Zubel showed clearly that the $21 million gift violated port district and tidelands law. Just before the judge was to decide, the City and port backed out of the deal. "They knew the judge would rule against them," says Zubel. Then Furgatch attempted to recover his costs. Witness after witness got up and swore that Furgatch's case had had nothing to do with the City and the port backing out just before a decision was to be made. But Nevitt saw through the claims; he ruled that Furgatch's case was clearly a catalyst in the City's and port's pullout. A few years after he announced the phantom $21 million, David Malcolm pleaded guilty to felony conflict of interest for taking $20,000 a month from a port tenant while he was a commissioner.

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Comments

tirlem Sept. 13, 2008 @ 8:38 a.m.

Don, thanks for delving this one up too. I shake my head again, it doesn't let up with the corruption in San Diego and it won't anytime soon either. If I printed out every scam run in San Diego (not to mention the ones that the powers that be are cooking up every day), I could wallpaper every room in the house, and I fear I may run out of wallspace.

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Don Bauder Sept. 13, 2008 @ 11:56 a.m.

Response to post #1: Yes, and you will note that the politicians involved in the scams, and the judges who let them off, keep getting reelected with support from the Union-Tribune. Best, Don Bauder

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JF Sept. 13, 2008 @ 10:17 a.m.

Interesting.

Back in 1991, I believe it was, the city cried poverty. It sent pink slips to about 30 firefighters claiming that it couldn't afford to pay them unless all firefighters took a 5% pay cut. The city promised that if the Port District coughed up money to help the city budget, we'd get the pay cut back.

So... we took the pay cut. We went to Port District board meetings. The Port District coughed up $4.5 million. The city used it to buy art. I don't believe we ever did get that 5% back.

And you wonder why we don't trust the claims of the city that it is broke and cannot afford to pay us now. Which would you rather see? More firefighters? Or more public art?

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Don Bauder Sept. 13, 2008 @ 12:12 p.m.

Response to post #2: Let's compromise: Renaissance paintings of grotesque characters down in hell, with the fire department hosing the scene down. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas Sept. 13, 2008 @ 4:10 p.m.

$683K dollars is not chump change either.

This is typical though, having a suit tossed because a government defendant was involved (I have seen this too many times to count).

The BIG difference here is the plaintiff had deep pockects to continue, or the lawyers were doing it on credit. It was one of the two-and an option NOT open to about 99% of the population.

It is a minor miracle the case made it to a conclusion.

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Don Bauder Sept. 13, 2008 @ 9:07 p.m.

Response to post #5: Furgatch was wealthy enough to see it through to the end, and Zubel, his lawyer, was patient. Best, Don Bauder

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Fred Williams Sept. 15, 2008 @ 11:30 a.m.

Yet we are still saddled with the ugly ballpork and the ghost-town of empty condo boxes surrounding it. It costs the city tens of millions in bond payments, plus all the extra money for police and traffic control overtime every game. The net effect is a huge drain on our general fund to pay for the entertainment of a billionaire from Texas.

Then our bone-tired police go home and leave the K9 in the car, or post deranged public threats against Aguirre supporters.

John Moores, corrupt mastermind of the Peregrine fraud, sits fat and happy on the beach in the Caribbean, chortling about how he hoodwinked the rubes. Fabiani, Peace and McGrory hover nearby, waiting to lick up the spittle, ever eager to fork their tongues out and tell another whopper for their boss-man.

It takes wealthy and tenacious public-minded San Diegans to even bring this to light, and then most media outlets ignore the story of blatant corruption and greed. Instead, the headlines are about another losing football game.

Thanks, Don, for bringing this to the public's attention. The more we know about the ballpork, the more we understand how badly we were ripped-off.

Best,

Fred Williams

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Don Bauder Sept. 15, 2008 @ 7:53 p.m.

Response to post #7: I talked with Furgatch today. (Earlier I had talked with his lawyer, Stan Zubel.) There is much more to the story, including perjury. Best, Don Bauder

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