Robert Bush 6:31 p.m., May 18
Another potential lawsuit in Hotel Tax issue, this time over how district plans to pay for lawsuit against City
Attorney for San Diegans for Open Government warns of another lawsuit if TMD board moves forward with case against the City
Two days after the Tourism Marketing District Board announced it would be suing the City for failing to follow through with approving its 40-year contract, one question remains unanswered: Just where will the city-backed Tourism Marketing District get the money to sue the City of San Diego?
The lawyer representing the hotel owners refused to answer that question during a February 19 phone call with the Reader's Matt Potter. Of course, the board failed to announce it before filing the lawsuit.
Now, the board and the City of San Diego may be forced to answer that question, this time in court.
Today, Cory Briggs, attorney for San Diegans for Open Government, sent councilmembers and the Tourism Marketing District's board of directors a letter, warning of another potential lawsuit in order to recoup any legal expenses accrued in its suit against Mayor Bob Filner and the City of San Diego.
Briggs's letter reads:
"On behalf of San Diegans for Open Government, I am writing to put you on notice that my client may file a lawsuit against each of you, each member of the San Diego Tourism Marketing District’s board, and each of the District’s officers to recover any money spent by the District in violation of either the 2007 or the 2012 district management plan. The lawsuit will be directed personally at each and every individual with any involvement whatsoever in violating either plan, which includes spending money on lawyers trying to force Mayor Filner to sign a contract with the District or on lawyers opposing any lawsuit that seeks to have the Tourism Marketing District assessment’s validity determined by a judge.
In short, the District has no legal authority to spend money it has received in connection with either plan to fund litigation concerning the assessment’s validity or Mayor Filner’s refusal to perpetuate the illegal taxing scheme. If my client learns that the District is so spending such money, please be prepared to defend yourself and repay the money to the City personally."
City councilmembers, many of whom have shown support for the hotel assessment, the City Attorney, who has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from some members of the district, and Mayor Bob Filner, who rejected the extension of the hotel tax without higher wages for hotel workers and more money for the City, will meet today behind closed doors to discuss the issue, and possibly the threat of yet another lawsuit.