Matthew Lickona 11:53 a.m., May 24
La Jolla Billionaire Linked to Pro-Fletcher Super PAC Intending to Raise "Unlimited" Funds
A newly formed federal super PAC with links to La Jolla billionaire Ted Waitt has launched a website feauring a series of TV commercials on behalf of a group of candidates proclaiming themselves to be independents.
At the top of the Super PAC's list of favored politicans: assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who quit the Republican party in the midst of his current bid to become San Diego's next mayor.
Calling itself Independent Leaders, Inc., the group filed a letter of organization with the Federal Election Commission on April 24, in which it declared: "Independent Leaders Inc. intends to make independent expenditures and, consistent with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision in SpeechNow v. FEC, it therefore intends to raise funds in unlimited amounts."
A subsequent May 9 filing disclosed that the organization had changed its name to icPurple.org.
Both documents were signed by Tom Grueskin, listed as icPurple.org's treasurer.
Grueskin used to work for Waitt's Gateway computer outfit and is associated with Avalon Energy, a subsidiary of Avalon Capital Group, Inc., a Waitt-controlled venture capital firm, according to a BusinessWeek.com database.
The email address for icPurple.org is listed on federal disclosure forms as firstname.lastname@example.org. No other officers or contact information, other than a La Jolla post office box, is provided on the FEC disclosure statements.
Avalon Capital's website says it is "the wholly owned private investment company of Ted Waitt co-founder of Gateway, Inc."
Waitt and Avalon Capital have a history of controversy, in particular alleged fraud leading to the 2009 collapse of Lakeland Construction Finance, a lender once controlled by La Jolla-based Avalon.
In April 2010, the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran an exposé of the activities of Avalon and Lakeland, whose failure, the newspaper said, "left local governments on the hook for millions of dollars to complete roads and utilities."
The paper reported: "Waitt promoted Lakeland and bankrolled its rapid growth. Now, his investment firm stands accused of profiting as the lender collapsed."
Waitt previously announced his support for a group of local business owners and lobbyists, many, if not all, Fletcher backers, who said they were turning independent.
According to its website, "icPurple is an ever-growing movement of American voters who are tired of our government’s paralysis at the hands of partisan politics."
"We are citizens from every race, every gender, every income level, and all walks of life."
Fletcher is listed as the only candidate for municipal office backed by icPurple.org.
The others are Silicon Valley state assembly candidate Chad Walsh; U.S. House candidates Chad Condit and Linda Parks of California; and U.S. Senate hopeful from Maine Angus King.