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San Diego lawyer Marc Carlos, who represented the late Michael Portantino in the district attorney's investigation of Portantino's Gay & Lesbian Times, says that discussions of how Portantino would be charged were ongoing with the DA's office. Carlos was talking regularly with a deputy district attorney. "There was never any discussion that [Portantino] would not be charged," says Carlos. "We were discussing potential charges that we could negotiate. I wanted misdemeanor charges." Says Carlos, "The investigation involved allegations of inflating circulation to advertisers." Carlos informed Portantino of his discussions with the deputy DA, and told him that it was unlikely that the owner of Gay & Lesbian Times would actually go to prison. But the DA investigator had interviewed advertisers who began dropping out of the publication, worsening Portantino's financial situation. "He [Portantino] was distraught over the whole thing -- people impugning his integrity. That is what pushed him over the edge." This week, Portantino took his own life.

As I have said several times on this blog, there should be an investigation of the DA's investigation of Mike Portantino. There should also be an investigation of cases that DA Bonnie Dumanis has refused to prosecute.

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Comments

SurfPuppy619 Dec. 11, 2010 @ 12:15 a.m.

Bonnie Dumbass lets serious felonies go unpunished, and instead works a case on inflated circulation numbers-it is absurd.

We the people need to fire her. SHE should be prosecuted for malfeasance of duty.

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Don Bauder Dec. 11, 2010 @ 8:21 a.m.

If Bonnie Dumanis were standing on a downtown street and saw a prominent real estate developer -- particularly one that was one of her contributors -- gun down six people, she would look the other way. Best, Don Bauder

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kyplaskon Dec. 11, 2010 @ 6:25 a.m.

Accusations of inflated circulation figures are not unheard of, but conflict between businesses regarding circulation are often settled by a civil suit between the two (see the story and link below). I would like to know what criminal charge could have been leveled against Portantino and why the DA took an interest in this case.

http://www.allbusiness.com/legal/legal-services-litigation/10270961-1.html

Newsday suit lawyer recruits 'big firms' to help with class-action case By Schachter, Ken Publication: Long Island Business News Date: Friday, February 27 2004

Joseph Giaimo, the self-described country lawyer who filed a $100 million racketeering lawsuit charging that Newsday inflated circulation figures, said he is adding some legal firepower.

The move to find co-counsel comes as the deadline nears for Newsday to file a response to the lawsuit filed by four Queens businesses that charge the newspaper with concocting an elaborate plan to falsify circulation figures. The inflated circulation allowed the daily to charge higher advertising rates, the suit charges.

Newsday denied the allegations but declined to comment on how it would respond to the lawsuit or what law firm would be representing it.

In 2003, print advertising contributed $3 out of every $4 in revenue generated by the Tribune Co. and more than half of its revenue overall.

Newsday's circulation is monitored by the Schaumberg, Ill.-based Audit Bureau of Circulations, but John Morton, a newspaper consultant based in Bethesda, Md., said that ABC's reach is limited.

ABC can only [audit] what they get, he said. They do checks. They do field audits. They obviously can't check every last sale.

The lawsuit says that in the mid-1990s Newsday officials told two distribution-agent employees, Harold Foley and Randy Green, to create a computer system known as Fudge ABC to conceal the discrepancy between the distributor's report and the ABC affidavit.

Newsday employees threatened to terminate distributors' contracts if they didn't participate in schemes such as creating false street sale programs and paying retailers to purchase Newsday newspapers with the knowledge those papers would be unsold and dumped.

Morton said circulation numbers audited by ABC - an association of newspapers, advertisers and advertising agencies - are presumed to be solid. But he noted that paid circulation in general has become squishy in recent years with some newspapers discounting heavily.

An ABC spokeswoman said the organization had reached out to Newsday managers to discuss circulation issues and was currently conducting the newspaper's 2003 audit.

She also defended the integrity of the organization's extremely intense audits.

It's a careful process, she said. There are specific checks we do.

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Don Bauder Dec. 11, 2010 @ 8:43 a.m.

The first column I did on this, titled "Gay War" on June 16 of this year, discussed that Newsday case and others. There are so many questions that should be asked: 1. The editors of the now-defunct San Diego News Network should be interviewed intensively on whom they relied upon as sources in their two hit pieces. Actually, the online publication named some of them. It would be interesting to learn whom those sources were acting on behalf of; 2. More prominent San Diego politicians -- including VERY prominent ones -- were involved in this. I can't reveal some of this now because I got the information off the record; 3. Did Dumanis have a political motivation in pursuing this? 4. Did the DA investigator act professionally? In interviewing employees, former employees, and advertisers, did he try to sway them, rather than try to get unbiased information? 5. Who provided the inside financial information to San Diego News Network? (The lawsuit on this remains in place.) 6. Was information unethically passed from the DA (or possibly FBI) to San Diego News Network or competitors of Portantino's now-defunct Gay & Lesbian Times? 7. Were other prominent people in the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community involved in this? 8. Has the DA looked at other San Diego media for bloating circulation figures? (See my column on the U-T, "Fudged Circulation Figures," Nov. 10, 2005.)

There was no question that Portantino was in financial trouble. He was not paying employees. He was behind on his taxes. Was that criminal? Or was that a civil problem? Did the people who destroyed him commit criminal acts? Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 12, 2010 @ 12:27 a.m.

The more I hear about this case-the more I it appears Portantino was getting railroaded by a systematic and focused group of people. Portantino may have been having financial problems, but it appears (to me anyway) that the DA made them much worse by her actions-and possibly broke the law in by leaking the investigation.

It stinks real bad.

And Don, whenever I see criminal cases being brought in an area where 99.9999% of the time it is a civil matter I see dirty polititicans and gov officials behind it.

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Don Bauder Dec. 12, 2010 @ 8:15 a.m.

It appears exactly the same way to me. Portantino was being systematically destroyed by some who had a financial and political interest in his extinction. This was never a criminal matter. It should have been civil. Best, Don Bauder

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benschultz Dec. 11, 2010 @ 10:01 p.m.

Hey, fun fact. The Gay and Lesbian in the way back machine put a picture of Susan Golding next to a picture of Hitler on it's front page. Next week the IRS closed em down and it didn't have anything to do with the fact that Leona----I mean Susan's brother in law was the head of the local IRS. Did it? Portantino raised the ransom(back taxes he had had a deal with the IRS to pay back in installments) to take the lock off of the door after some hair raising financial adventures. The guy was beat down after years of showing up and just like that reporter at the Sacramento Bee who killed himself after being beaten up about the (accurate it seems) story of CIA involvement in importing cocaine here to fund the contras there------you get the picture. Will they get wikileaks to jump off a building now too?

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 12, 2010 @ 12:28 a.m.

The guy was beat down after years of showing up and just like that reporter at the Sacramento Bee who killed himself after being beaten up about the (accurate it seems) story of CIA involvement in importing cocaine here to fund the contras there------you get the picture.

That was the San Jose Mercury News not the Sac Bee...............

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Don Bauder Dec. 12, 2010 @ 8:18 a.m.

The Portantino matter looks more and more like government conspiring with his publication's competitors -- for political reasons. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 12, 2010 @ 8:49 a.m.

The Portantino matter looks more and more like government conspiring with his publication's competitors -- for political reasons.

Looks just like that to me too.

I would not be surprised for a second if this were indeed the case-especially with Bonnie Dumbass at the wheel. In fact I would not be surprised if she were involved in a secret conspiracy with a Portantino competitor, or possibly just someone who did not like him.

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benschultz Dec. 11, 2010 @ 10:12 p.m.

Maybe I sound and am extreme and paranoid but this town is very very hard on those to expose it's dirty little secrets. God as I say that Andrew Cunanan does spring to the mind. Doesn't he?

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 12, 2010 @ 12:30 a.m.

God as I say that Andrew Cunanan does spring to the mind. Doesn't he?

Only when I think of David Copley.

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Don Bauder Dec. 12, 2010 @ 8:22 a.m.

In the Cunanan case, the U-T can be criticized for playing down the story. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 12, 2010 @ 8:41 a.m.

In the Cunanan case, the U-T can be criticized for playing down the story

And the reason for that was b/c there was a connection between Cunanan and David Copley.

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Don Bauder Dec. 12, 2010 @ 9:51 a.m.

There was a lot of frenetic activity at that time at the U-T. David was interviewed by a staffer. A lawyer was there to guide David. I was not involved in the matter, other than that I made what I thought was an innocuous comment to a person writing a book on the Versace/Cunanan matter. Kelly Thornton, who had followed the story, made much stronger remarks to the author. We both sweated bullets, separately, but I never heard a word from management, and I don't believe Kelly did, either. Best, Don Bauder

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benschultz Dec. 12, 2010 @ 8:59 a.m.

Now what in the news that most San Diegans read would make you think of David Copley? App of that, who owns that beautiful KPBS building? Oh right, that's secret. Maybe Gloria Penner knows. I just sound sour.

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Don Bauder Dec. 12, 2010 @ 9:59 a.m.

The Copley name is on the KPBS building. It was a result of a huge gift or gifts. I have always thought that this kind of establishment financial support is the reason that KPBS generally provides such weak coverage on key issues such as downtown redevelopment versus a rotting infrastructure elsewhere, a Chargers stadium, the weakness of the downtown condo market (especially in the ballpark district), the question of whether CCDC should be abolished, etc. In many markets, public TV and radio provides a balance against the pro-establishment coverage of other media. In San Diego, that is not true, by and large. There was (or is) a show called Editors' Roundtable that might as well have been sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Best, Don Bauder

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Ilegalsmile Dec. 12, 2010 @ 9:04 a.m.

San Diego is gearing up to fight Bonnie Dumanis at every turn. She has very ambitious political plans and we MUST warn her she can not continue to behave this way and expect to get elected. A grassroots campaign to thwart Steve Cooley was succesful in doing the same.

Please send Bonnie a message on Facebook that we will reject any run for office by joining the NOT DUMANIS page here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Not-Dumanis/129674723757629

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Don Bauder Dec. 12, 2010 @ 10:01 a.m.

The problem is that when she runs for another post, such as mayor, she will get all the establishment money. That said, your idea is a sound one. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 12, 2010 @ 5:36 p.m.

I doubt she could be elcted Mayor.

I have 10 to 1 that the next Mayor is going to be Carl DeMaio, who IMO will destroy anyone who gets in his path-IF the economy stays in the toilet (I think it will) and IF there are no changes in public employee compensation practices ( I doubt it).

I am now pretty sure the economy is going to be down during Obama's entire administration-and I don't blame him for all of it, but 4 years will have been plenty of time to make the necessary changes.

I think we are facing possibly the biggest fiscal crisis this country has ever faced-including the Great Depression.

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Don Bauder Dec. 12, 2010 @ 10:01 p.m.

You may lose that bet on DeMaio. Best, Don Bauder

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benschultz Dec. 12, 2010 @ 5:12 p.m.

Thanks Don, KPBS has resisted efforts to find out what exactly the ownership issues are on their building. They are a fund raising powerhouse in the non=profit world, which does kind of make you wonder where are all the locally produced politics shows. Why leave it to Old Roger. BTW. I grew up in a house that is now KPBS's back parking lot, The house had better architecture even after we five kids trahsed it. Thanks again

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Don Bauder Dec. 12, 2010 @ 10:04 p.m.

It's my understanding that Hedgecock is no longer talking about local politics on air. His show focuses on national and international issues. I understand it has lost a lot of steam. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 12, 2010 @ 11:45 p.m.

Who would have guessed back in 1983 when Hedgecock got convicted of a felony thaty he would get that felony thrown out (long shot of the century!!) and then make it big as a radio personality??????

Amazing turn of events if you ask me.

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Psycholizard Dec. 14, 2010 @ 8:55 p.m.

Without a suicide note, or witnesses, we can never be certain that Mr. Portantino's death was suicide. I find it very strange that such an articulate man didn't leave a note attacking his many tormentors. Usually the police are slow to pronounce suicide without a note, especially when someone has so many enemies;

How did they determine this?

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 14, 2010 @ 9:40 p.m.

How did they determine this?

Never thought about this-how did they make the determination??????????

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Don Bauder Dec. 14, 2010 @ 10 p.m.

My sources were certain of it. And there was the prior threat. I believe his family mentioned that. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 14, 2010 @ 9:58 p.m.

I don't know for sure that he didn't leave some kind of note. He had threatened suicide at least once before. You ask a good question. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard Dec. 15, 2010 @ 2 a.m.

Suicide is separated from murder and accidental death by intent. In the case of a fall such as this, without witnesses, or suicide note. Mr. Portantino's intent must remain unknown to us. If a public official speculated on his intent before the coroner even tested his blood alcohol level, as seems to be the case, it was highly unprofessional at the very least. In every case I can remember, the police are careful to use "possible", "probable" or "likely" in cases such as this, with no suicide note.

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Don Bauder Dec. 15, 2010 @ 7:56 a.m.

I don't know that your assumptions are correct. Best, Don Bauder

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howstheservice Dec. 15, 2010 @ 11:23 a.m.

For God's sake, can we just let this man rest in the peace he was seeking? He has a young daughter that lives here in this town as well as many friends and family members and they don't need to be subjected to this kind of drivel. Suffice to say it was suicide, it was intentional and no one (least of all his attorney Marc Carlos who has acknowledged as much) knows what it was that ultimately drove him to take such drastic action except maybe the family members and loved ones that struggled to keep him from doing this and they deserve our respect and reverence rather than pointless gossiping!

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 15, 2010 @ 12:04 p.m.

I don't see how we are showing disrespect. If anything it is the opposite.

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Don Bauder Dec. 15, 2010 @ 1:12 p.m.

Most on this blog are showing much-deserved disrespect for the DA's office and its suspected role in this tragedy. We are not showing disrespect for Portantino's memory. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard Dec. 15, 2010 @ 2:30 p.m.

I make no conclusions, others have concluded suicide. I simply asked for the facts that prove suicide. Suicide is the gossip, but this proves nothing. As for the casual invocation, God does not outrank the truth, read John 1.

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Don Bauder Dec. 15, 2010 @ 8:54 p.m.

Nothing wrong with asking for the facts. Best, Don Bauder

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