Ken Leighton 6 p.m., July 1
While FBI Ferrets, Filner Files Forms
Ex-FBI Special Agent in Charge, now San Diego sheriff, faced disclosure questions regarding behests by corporations and tribes that bankrolled lavish sheriffs' convention here
As first reported here by Dorian Hargrove on June 12, San Diego Democratic Mayor Bob Filner has been fielding a lot of questions lately about his acceptance of $100,000 from local developer Sunroad and his subsequent decision to endorse a Sunroad project that the mayor had previously vetoed.
The report caught the attention of Sunroad's fellow developer and anti-Filner Republican Douglas Manchester’s U-T San Diego, which yesterday reported that the FBI has been snooping around city hall, something the bureau's Special Agent Darrell Foxworth declined to confirm, the paper said.
Earlier this week Filner filed two state 803 forms, required by California law for the makers of so-called behests - gifts to supposedly charitable causes given by corporate, tribal, and other private donors on behalf of elected officials.
The practice of charitable cash-raising for political friends can be controversial, and the rules for soliciting and and disclosing the donations can expose even a former FBI agent to possible legal and ethical questions if not handled correctly.
Such was the situation, as we reported here March 8, facing the county's top law enforcer, Sheriff Bill Gore, a former Special Agent in Charge of FBI offices in both San Diego and Seattle.
The saga began in April of last year, when Gore was beating the bushes for corporate cash for the California State Sheriffs' Association’s annual conference, famous for its high-rolling banquets and hotel parties, that was held in San Diego.
Gore was co-host of the event and co-signed a letter to a group of regular corporate donors to the association seeking funds for the event, [aide Marla] Marshall said.
In addition, she said, the sheriff sent a separate solicitation to potential local donors, including the Sycuan and Barona tribes.
Sycuan came up with $16,000, Barona gave $5,000, as did the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, according to the filing. Corporate donors included Verizon Wireless ($7,500); California Forensic Medical Group ($5,000); Global Tel*Link ($5,000); and AECOM ($6,000).
High-end caterer Carriage Trade later described its work at the event:
Carriage Trade was honored to cater the California State Sheriffs’ Association dinner on board the USS Midway on April 3rd 2012. The evening started with some tray passed hors d’ oeuvres and cocktails on the Flight Deck where guests were able to view the various historical aircraft and get a tour of the hangars below.
Some of the delicious hors d’ oeuvres included: our famous – Applewood Smoked Bacon Wrapped Date with Cypress Grove Goat Cheese and 3 year Aged Balsamic as well as our Shrimp Ceviche.
After some announcements, Carriage Trade presented a BBQ buffet for the guests with traditional Southwestern carved Tri Tip and Hickory Smoked BBQ Chicken Breast.
The weather was perfect and the night ended on a high note with some sweet brownies and chocolate cookies for dessert.
Along with coming up with the cash for his fellow law enforcement executives, Gore - who has declared his intention to seek re-election - used his office to raise funds for the local Alzheimer's Association, from which his predecessor Bill Kolender suffers.
Gore raised $36,000 for the San Diego Alzheimer's Association's "Celebration of Courage and Hope" banquet, held September 21 last year.
Sycuan was also the biggest donor to that, with $16,000. The Chargers gave $10,000, Progress Construction came up with $5,000, as did Scripps Health.
But though generous to a fault, Gore failed to file the necessary disclosures of his extracurricular fundraising.
Gore aide Marla Marshall - former top assistant to San Diego ex-city councilwoman Gloria McColl and a onetime council candidate herself - told us that no one in Gore's employ, including in-house counsel, knew about the disclosure law until she read about it months later in a newspaper.
The sheriff's special assistant for legislative affairs, said she first learned of the reporting requirement by reading December newspaper accounts of the case of Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, who was fined $37,500 by the state's Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to report millions of dollars he had solicited from private donors for the benefit of various pet causes, including his basketball arena task force.
"It's a very little known rule," Marshall said in a telephone interview today. "I asked the question, should we be doing this?"
As a result of her inquiries, Marshall said, members of the California State Sheriff's Association were briefed on the law by FPPC Chair Ann Ravel.
That led to Gore’s recent disclosure statements, dated February 19 and 21, posted online by the county Registrar of Voters this past Monday, March 4.
Filner's behest disclosures, filed July 2 with the city clerk's office, show that on May 23 he received $76,000 from Sunroad Centrum Apartments 23, L.P. to "support the acquisition and installation of a Veterans Memorial."
The same day, according to a separate July 2 filing, the mayor accepted $24,000 from the same Sunroad account to "support the CycloSDias bicycling event on August 11, 2013."
Both statements say the funds were "returned to the donor on June 28, 2013."
More like this:
- Sheriff reportedly plotting mayor's ouster got funds from Lynch, Blue, hotel interests, report says — Aug. 6, 2013
- Big three hotel moguls girding for Filner war? — July 23, 2013
- As office sex charges swirl, mayor reports getting new leather sofa — July 12, 2013
- Bill Gore files to re-up as sheriff next year — May 13, 2013
- Late filings reveal formidable fundraising clout of San Diego sheriff — March 8, 2013