John T. Griffith 5:14 p.m., May 22
Tourism Marketing District Board has nearly $2 million stashed away in reserve account
Board has access to a so-called catastrophe fund.
The feud between Mayor Bob Filner and Jan Goldsmith spilled over in a San Diego Superior court room during a March 5 hearing.
"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.