Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
San Diego hotel mogul's political reach extends to Big Apple
Evans Hotel executive, key fundraiser behind San Diego council's Todd Gloria, contributes cash to New York's bribery-torn mayor's race
Robert Gleason, the CFO and general counsel at Evans Hotels - one of three homegrown San Diego hotel empires behind the lawsuit filed against Democratic mayor Bob Filner in an unsuccessful effort to force him to sign a city funding contract negotiated by previous Republican mayor Jerry Sanders, a major beneficiary of hotel cash - is a big political player here.
As previously reported, Gleason and spouse Marc Matys have been major donors to Democrat Todd Gloria's city council campaign, and Gloria has reported getting gifts of admission tickets to various events from Gleason, who reports to Bill Evans, the long time Mission Bay hotel kingpin.
Gleason, Matsys, Gloria, and a Gloria city council aide signed the nominating petition of Superior Court Judge Timothy B. Taylor, a 20-year veteran of the downtown law and lobbying firm of Sheppard Mullin, a longtime legal representative for hotel magnate and UT San Diego publisher Douglas Manchester.
Taylor, who heard the hoteliers' case against Filner, subsequently disclosed the fact that he had received the signatures after we reported the matter here, denying that he knew any of those involved.
Records show that Gleason's political interests also extend to New York City, where he last year gave $1000 to city council Speaker Christine Quinn's bid to succeed mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Quinn is facing off against the city's Public Advocate, Bill de Blasio, a fellow Democrat, in a tumultuous campaign that has featured charges and counter-charges over whether Quinn should bear the blame for city council corruption in light of New York's recent rash of municipal bribery busts.
In one of the cases, Republican City Councilman Dan Halloran of Queens stands accused of soliciting bribes in exchange for delivery of city pork, as reported by the New York Daily News:
Halloran told an undercover agent posing as a real estate developer that he could dole out Council money in return for cash, prosecutors charge.
“This is one arrest too many, and it's time to just end it,” said de Blasio, who willingly funded favorite projects when he was in the Council.
“It all well and good for Bill de Blasio now that he’s out of the City Council to be saying we should change member items,” she said. “He never raised those issues in any significant way while he was getting (the funds).”
The Daily News added that the city council's practice of linking campaign contributions and city grants is well entrenched:
During his final year in the Council, de Blasio allocated $439,000 in pork to six groups from whom he received more than $90,000 in campaign contributions, according to records.
The 51 Council members get shares of about $150 million in expense spending, which often subsidize their local pet causes. They also get to distribute more than $600 million to invest in city-owned buildings or non-profits.
As reported here last June, de Blasio has his own local base of support in the form of La Jollan Mark Fabiani, the Chargers special counsel with the apparently never-ending assignment of getting a new taxpayer-funded stadium built somewhere.
Records show Fabiani, who listed his occupation as "self-employed crisis management consultant," has so far given de Blasio a total of $3000.
More like this:
- Chargers and Weiners — Aug. 28, 2013
- Another unreported DeMaio contribution disclosed by Sheppard Mullin law firm — April 1, 2013
- Personal and campaign gifts to council Democrats a long tradition at GOP's Evans operation — March 29, 2013
- Todd Gloria, staffer, hotelier and spouse signed nomination paper for judge who ruled against Filner — March 6, 2013
- Chargers' Mark Fabiani Gives Big to New York Critic of Billionaire Mayor Bloomberg — June 1, 2012