Chad Deal 6:58 p.m., May 21
Dumanis Met with Sanders to Tell Him She Wouldn't Prosecute Li Mandri, Mannino
The deposition of Mayor Jerry Sanders in the Kessler vs. San Diego suit indicates that District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis had a meeting with Sanders to tell him she would not prosecute the thoroughly-researched case against Little Italy political powerhouse Marco Li Mandri and his associate, felon Paul (Joe) Mannino. After admitting that Dumanis had come to him, Sanders was asked by Josh Gruenberg, Kessler's lawyer, if Sanders had ever heard of a situation in which a district attorney had had a meeting with a mayor to explain why a case wasn't being prosecuted. Replied Sanders, according to the transcript of the Aug. 27 deposition, "I -- I -- I -- I had never heard of it. That doesn't mean it didn't happen." Gruenberg asked who had called the meeting. The mayor said Dumanis called it.
Kessler is suing the City for wrongful termination. He says he was fired because he cooperated with the police and FBI in the investigation of Li Mandri and Mannino.
As previously reported at length in the Reader, a police detective and FBI agent had done an exhaustive study of alleged corruption by Li Mandri and Mannino in a business improvement district. In their depositions, the detective and FBI agent had said "they were shocked that Ms. Dumanis didn't prosecute," said Gruenberg at the Sanders deposition.
Later, the report was distributed to a limited group. Asked Gruenberg to Sanders, "Would it surprise you to learn that you knew of Bonnie Dumanis's decision not to prosecute Li Mandri three months before the report was distributed?" Said Sanders, "I don't -- I don't recall any of that."
In 1980 in New York, Mannino was indicted on drug, firearm and racketeering violations. He was convicted and sent to prison. After getting out, he came to San Diego and became associated with Li Mandri in 2000. Under the Freedom of Information Act, activist Mel Shapiro asked for FBI information on the Mannino case. On the summary page were the letters OC/DI. Former FBI employees say that means "organized crime/drug investigation." There was also this acronym: "LCN - Genovese." Former FBI people say that means La Cosa Nostra -- specifically, New York's huge Genovese crime family.