Susan Luzzaro 9 p.m., Aug. 20
Kessler Case May Be Headed for Settlement
The city attorney is scheduled to brief city council in closed session Monday on Scott Kessler's unlawful termination suit against the City of San Diego. According to rumors, the council may be considering a settlement of the long-running case. If there is a settlement, it could be announced Tuesday. I could not reach Kessler's lawyers.
This case reveals more about San Diego politics than any other recent one. As an employee, Kessler cooperated with an exhaustive study by the police and FBI on possible fraud by Little Italy power broker Marco Li Mandri and his close friend, Joe Mannino. In the 1980s, Mannino was convicted of drug, firearms and racketeering violations and went to prison.
Civic activist Mel Shapiro got more information under the Freedom of Information Act. On the FBI report on Mannino are these initials: OC/DI. Present and former FBI officials say that means "organized crime/ drug investigation." Also on the report were "LCN-Genovese," which, say FBI pros, means La Cosa Nostra, New York's Genovese crime family, one of the nation's largest. Mannino met Li Mandri around 2000. Kessler got fired and believed that his cooperation in the fraud study was the reason. Mayor Sanders was deposed in the case.
Despite the exhaustiveness of the FBI/police study, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis refused to prosecute, and, according to the Sanders deposition, met specifically with Sanders to tell him that she would not prosecute.