Matthew Craig Burke 11:30 a.m., Feb. 12
Governor Has Big Stake in Firm of Fair Board Appointee's Father
Anne Gust, former GAP executive and wife of Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, last year owned stock in San Diego-based Jack in the Box worth between $100,000 and $1 million, according to the governor's personal financial disclosure for 2011, filed yesterday in Sacramento.
The investment is one of two holdings reported by Brown that shed light on the governor's long-standing personal, political, and fundraising connections in San Diego.
In addition to her equity interest in Jack in the Box, Brown reported that Gust, who used to be on the board of the fast-food chain, received more than $100,000 in income from the company last year.
It was the biggest single source of income listed on the governor's disclosure.
Brown's ties to Jack in the Box go at least as far back as the 1970s, when Dick Silberman, the San Diego financier who built the operation into a national powerhouse with its founder, the late Robert Oscar Peterson, served as Brown's business and transportation secretary, as well as his close friend and political guru.
After Brown lost his U.S. Senate battle with then-San Diego Republican mayor Pete Wilson in 1982, Democrat Silberman returned to his hometown of San Diego and married GOP politico Susan Golding, whose successful run for county supervisor he bankrolled.
Golding went on to become San Diego's mayor, but Silberman got caught in an FBI sting and went to prison in 1990 for money laundering. Golding subsequently divorced the San Diego State alumnus and he relocated his base of operations to the San Francisco Bay area.
In addition to his wife's Jack in the Box interest, yesterday's disclosure also revealed that Brown himself owned between $100,000 and $1 million of stock in what the statement identified as "Health Fusion, Inc.", whose business activity was described by the filing as "Medical Office Software."
HealthFusion, Inc, is a Solana Beach firm that makes medical management and prescribing software for the healthcare industry. Company principals have close personal and political ties to Brown.
The firm's president and CEO is Seth Flam, an optometrist who once held the same positions at La Jolla's defunct FPA Medical Management Inc, a managed-care company.
FPA went bankrupt in 1998, and its chief financial officer, Steven Mark Lash of Rancho Santa Fe, was sentenced to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $36.4 million in March 2004 for falsifying the company's financials, according to a report that month by the San Diego Business Journal.
Lash was the only company executive to be indicted after a lengthy FBI investigation, the report said.
A Flam associate, Rancho Santa Fe osteopath Sol Lizerbram, co-founder and one-time chairman of FPA, has been a Brown intimate and political supporter of long duration.
He has also been an associate of Silberman's in at least one venture, news accounts say.
In November 1999, Don Bauder reported for the San Diego Union-Tribune that Flam and Sol Lizerbram, along with Silberman, had holdings in Jreck Subs Group of Longwood, Florida, "a multiple franchiser of submarine sandwich restaurants and sit-down pizza restaurants."
Though Brown has not been publicly linked to Silberman since the latter's conviction, he remains friends with Lizerbram.
According to a 2005 report by the Union-Tribune's Diane Bell, Lizerbram and his wife Lauren were guests at Brown's Oakland wedding that year, along with other of Brown's close political associates, including ex-Democratic congresswoman Lynn Schenk and one-time Brown appointments secretary Byron Georgiou.
Last August, Brown named Lizerbram's son David, a San Diego lawyer, to the board of the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which runs the Del Mar fairgrounds. At the same time, he also appointed Schenk's brother Frederick to the body.
The governor has known David Lizerbram since his childhood; in September 1989, the San Diego Evening Tribune's Neil Morgan reported that Brown, along with ex-Lt. Gov. Leo McCarthy and Rep. Jim Bates, both Democrats, attended the bar mitzvah of the younger Lizerbram, then 13.
Reached by phone today, David Lizerbram confirmed that his father is chairman of HealthFusion, but referred other questions regarding Brown's handling of his fair board appointment to the governor's office.
We left a message for the governor's spokesmen this morning and hope to hear back soon.
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