Charlie Morgenstern 11 a.m., May 24
Sponsor of Pro-DeMaio political committee is a former Filner supporter
A new pro-DeMaio political committee, Conservatives for Gay Rights In Support of Carl DeMaio for San Diego Mayor 2012, might not be all that "pro" DeMaio after all.
Some DeMaio supporters continue to question the intentions of the political committee, as well as those of the committee's sponsor, Charles McHaffie.
McHaffie is a local businessman who has contributed to Bob Filner as recent as February 2011.
Even more troubling, say DeMaio supporters, is McHaffie has been accused of fraud before; most recently in a 2010 lawsuit filed by former Chargers star Junior Seau's ex, Gina Seau.
Patrick Adams, chair of Gay Friends Supporting Carl DeMaio for Mayor 2012, has a strong feeling that the committee's true intentions are to scare voters from casting ballots in favor of DeMaio. Adams has gone so far as to claim the group may be guilty of "gay baiting."
"I truly believe that there's a shell game going on here," says Adams during an October 19 phone call. "I think they are doing their best to disguise what they want. I don't buy it."
The fact that the committee has submitted three different amendments to the organization doesn't help matters.
The initial filing, dated October 3, provided a contact number for Jessica McElfresh, a local attorney who in the past has represented several medical marijuana advocacy groups. Just a week later, the committee removed McElfresh's phone number and named "The Charles McAfee Trust" as the main sponsor. The next day, the committee changed the sponsor from "The Charles McAfee Trust" to "The Charles McHaffie Trust."
McHaffie has been accused of fraud before. In October 2010, Gina Seau says McHaffie scammed her out of $2.5 million after convincing her to invest in the Corrizo Gorge Railway, which transports goods from Mexico into the United States.
In her lawsuit, Seau claimed that McHaffie failed to disclose some vital information.
"McHaffie held himself out to Seau as an experienced, professional, and reliable business investor as well as a friend and confidant and induced Seau to rely upon his false representations as to the nature of the [investment]," read the lawsuit.
But that wasn't the only time that McHaffie was forced to defend himself against allegations of fraud. Three years prior to the Seau lawsuit, McHaffie was named in another lawsuit, this time over investments in the UC Lofts development project. The suit, filed by Mark Whillock claimed that McHaffie scammed him out of $375,000.
Another cause for concern for DeMaio supporters are McHaffie's past political donations. It's safe to say that they don't exactly jibe with the Conservatives for Gay Rights in Support of Carl DeMaio for San Diego Mayor 2012 name.
In 2009, he donated $500 to Bob Filner's congressional campaign. And just last year, McHaffie again showed his support for Representative Filner by donating an additional $1,500.
Adams, the chair of the Gay Friends Supporting Carl DeMaio for Mayor 2012 committee, is convinced that the last thing McHaffie's committee wants to see is DeMaio elected mayor.
"We plan to follow this to make sure that if it really is a front than whoever is responsible is held accountable."
Despite the prior contributions, a spokesperson from Filner's campaign says the Congressman does not know McHaffie, nor has he or his campaign ever heard of the committee.
McHaffie did not respond to requests for additional information.
More like this:
- Lawyer's money train seems to be stopping — July 16, 2014
- Pro-DeMaio political committee speaks out against accusations of fraud — Oct. 29, 2012
- Is the political committee, Conservatives for Gay Rights Supporting Carl DeMaio, a front for an anti-DeMaio group? — Oct. 26, 2012
- Yet another big-money campaign fund, this one run by environmentalist, joins San Diego mayoral fray — Oct. 15, 2012
- Legitimacy of new pro-DeMaio LGBT political committee questioned — Oct. 12, 2012