David Dodd 1:48 a.m., May 18
More key lobbyist names emerge in wake of mayor's high dollar fundraiser
Influence peddlers for controversial development projects attend fundraiser in offices of downtown lobbyist owned by Filner consultant, watchdog says
That $500-a-head fundraiser thrown last night by the downtown lobbying shop of Public Policy Strategies - an influence peddling boutique owned by Tom Shepard, who was Bob Filner's chief campaign consultant in his victory over Republican city councilman Carl DeMaio - has drawn additional interest in the hours since we wrote about it here earlier today.
As noted this morning:
Public Policy employees include Rachel Laing, a former media handler for GOP mayor Jerry Sanders.
Shepard’s lobbying outfit counts among its clients San Diego Gas & Electric as well as Turner Construction, which according to a recent disclosure has hired Shepard's firm to clear up any remaining obstacles at city hall to the construction of Qualcomm founder and billionaire Irwin Jacobs's controversial Balboa Park parking and traffic makeover.
Also pulling up to the curb for the event was Nancy Chase, a longtime friend and associate of Shepard's dating back to their days together as political intimates of fallen GOP mayor Roger Hedgecock. Chase, who runs the controversial Gregory Canyon solid waste project of her late husband Richard Chase, as well as her own contract lobbying company, was an early Filner donor.
After today's item appeared, Public Policy’s Laing tweeted that Mel Shapiro, a Democrat, retired accountant and city hall watchdog who has long backed Filner, had attended the event.
When reached by phone this afternoon, Shapiro confirmed his paid attendance and told us that two of the city's top super-lobbyists were also at the event: Republican Paul Robinson and land use consultant and lobbyist Marcela Escobar-Eck.
Robinson, who is on the board of the GOP Lincoln Club, was a major backer of DeMaio. The downtown attorney, who is also a member of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority board, has long been employed by Republican hotel magnate and Union-Tribune owner Douglas Manchester, who has engaged in a years long environmental and permit battle with city hall over his Grand del Mar resort complex
Another longtime Robinson client is Irwin Molasky, the Las Vegas development mogul associated with the late mobster Moe Dalitz; Molasky has been building a new FBI building here for the United States General Services Administration. As we've previously reported, the project - backed by DeMaio, a major beneficiary of Molasky campaign money - has an intriguing history.
During last year's campaign, Robinson took on labor leader Lorena Gonzalez in a debate over Jerry Brown's tax-raising Prop. 30; Robinson opposed the proposition, which ultimately prevailed.
Escobar-Eck formerly worked as development services director for the city of San Diego; she departed at the time of fallout from the so-called Sunroad scandal of the Jerry Sanders era.
These days Escobar-Eck has a full plate of controversial lobbying business, as reported here last spring by Dorian Hargrove.
Recent clients of Escobar-Eck's Atlantis Group, according to her disclosure statement, have included the controversial construction plans of St. John Garabed Armenian Church; Kilroy Realty; and McMillin-NTC, LLC.
The statement says Escobar-Eck has conducted "fundraising activities" for Democratic council members Sherri Lightner, Todd Gloria, and David Alvarez, along with Republicans Kevin Faulconer and Scott Sherman.
We'll post more names of Filner fundraiser attendees if they become available.
Meanwhile, next up: DeMaio throws his own fundraiser next Tuesday.