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The feud between Mayor Bob Filner and Jan Goldsmith spilled over in a San Diego Superior court room during a March 5 hearing.

"For the record, your honor I do not have an attorney," Mayor Filner told Judge Timothy Taylor in court, according to NBC reporter Wendy Fry's Twitter feed.

"I feel it's a deep conflict of interest [between] City Attorney and myself. He has stated in front of press that my actions are illegal," added Filner.

And while the question of whether City Attorney Goldsmith will represent Filner in court has not yet been answered, it's safe to say that the Tourism Marketing District does not have any concerns about how to pay for its legal expenses.

The district has access to millions of dollars that it has stashed into a "catastrophe reserve fund" since 2007. According to the published minutes from an August 15 meeting financial report, the Tourism Marketing District had $1.8 in revenues in the "opportunity/catastrophe fund."

That's on top of the additional $72,000 set aside for legal expenses.

"The [Tourism Marketing District] shall annually allocate five percent of its revenue to a marketing opportunity/catastrophe reserve fund for the specific purpose ofmaximizing unique and unforeseen opportunities or reacting to unforeseen situations to positively impact the tourism economy in the San Diego region," reads the district's Five-Year Management Plan.

That's just what was rolled over. In fact, the board has access to the entire reserve account, previously capped at $10 million, now that the first five year contract has expired.

"lf the District is renewed following the initial five (5) year term, the available balance, including interest, of the marketing opportunity/catastrophe reserve fund shall be made available to the Corporation managing the renewed District. These previously accumulated funds shall be spent consistent with the allocations in this plan."

David Nielsen, a spokesperson for the Tourism Marketing District, has not responded to a request for comment on the catastrophe fund and how the district plans to pay for the four lawsuits now in court or whether the fund can pay for lost marketing campaign.

An earlier version of this story had the amount of the catastrophe fund at $1.2 million. That was changed after finding an August 15 document stating that amount was actually at $1.8 million.

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Comments

Woodchuck March 6, 2013 @ 2:57 p.m.

It seems apparent that the TMD and downtown redevelopment schemes share the attitude that when you are big and powerful enough, you can usually get someone else to foot the bill. I am glad that Mr. Filner is standing up to the insider cabal in San Diego. We have a wonderful city and great weather. If the hospitality industry wants to take advantage of these truths then let them pay their own way.

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monaghan March 6, 2013 @ 4:09 p.m.

Excuse me, isn't that "catastrophe reserve fund" public money? When is the TMD going to be reined in? It's past time. And how is it that these public agencies feel free not to respond to press inquiries into their practices?

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Dorian Hargrove March 6, 2013 @ 4:26 p.m.

Monaghan, I have a public records request in to the TMD Corp and the City. I will have answers to those questions when they respond. Thanks! --dh

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Visduh March 6, 2013 @ 8:22 p.m.

IF they respond at all, or more likely obfuscate and evade.

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nostalgic March 7, 2013 @ 4:23 p.m.

Why do they get to keep the money after the contract has expired? Why don't they have to give it back to the City? Because their board voted to keep it doesn't seem to be reason enough.

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Dorian Hargrove March 8, 2013 @ 10:49 a.m.

The TMD would have to refund hotels (catastrophe fund amount) only if the district was not renewed. That's not the case.--dh

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