Don Bauder 7:39 a.m., May 22
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, whose La Jolla beach house construction project has been attacked by his political foes as grossly extravagant, has lagged on paying city fees for the mega-million dollar endeavor, city building records show.
According to an exchange of emails furnished by the city after a request under the California Public Records Act, Romney and his wife Ann were nearly five months late paying their bill to the City's Development Services Department for a variety of building inspection and permit services for the project, which first came to iight in a report here back in December 2010.
As reported then, city lobbying reports revealed that the Romneys had hired Island Architects to help push the project through the city.
But after the project began receiving national attention, progress apparently slowed.
The recently released documents show that In March 2012, the City sent Ann Romney a bill for $17,921 for management work performed between April 2010 through February 29, 2012. The April 27 due date came and went.
Then, one month later, another invoice for $18,520, was sent out.
On June 7, three weeks before the second invoice was due, Matt Peterson, a lawyer based in San Diego working on behalf of the Romneys, wrote to program manager Michelle Sokolowski about the outstanding balance.
"My clients were not aware of this bill," wrote Peterson. "Was this one of those city billing glitches?"
It wasn't a glitch said Sokolowski.
"I received a phone call after the first statement from a woman who identified herself as Ann Romney's secretary saying she was calling about the statement, so I know they received it. I returned the call and left a message but never got a call back.
"You should note that the last invoice that was paid on this project was well over one year ago (March 2011), and there have been charges since then. Although the project has been placed on hold, there are periodic charges to it, since we still receive calls from the public with various questions and other minor items. However, as you can see by the statement attached, there have not been substantive charges since you placed the project on hold.
"Thank you for ensuring prompt payment."
According to the City of San Diego, the balance was paid in full on July 30.
Plans previously filed for the project have included turning an existing 3,000-square-foot oceanfront house into a 8,105-square-foot estate, featuring an outdoor water feature and a car lift in the garage.
I am waiting to hear back from Mr. Peterson on the late payments