4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

San Diego's James Waring forms Murrieta 40

Stanley Thomas Mills cited

— Okay, so California Government Code section 1090 bans government officials from developing, negotiating, or executing a contract in which they have a financial interest. It's an obvious conflict; someone violating 1090 deserves to be punished. But what about the private-sector entrepreneur who goes into a partnership with a government official who then uses his government influence to benefit their business? The public employee may be charged with a 1090 violation, but what happens to the entrepreneur, who is not with the government? Probably nothing.

Take the case of attorney James Waring, the City of San Diego's czar over real estate, land use, and development policies. Two decades ago in Riverside County, he and several other speculators formed Murrieta 40, a partnership holding 40 acres of land within the Murrieta County Water District. Waring had 50 percent of the deal. The district couldn't provide water and sewer hookups to the land. Well, no problem. One person holding a 25 percent interest was Stanley Thomas Mills, an attorney who was also general manager of the Rancho California Water District.

Mills successfully pushed to have the Murrieta 40 acreage transferred to the Rancho California Water District, over the strong opposition of the Murrieta district. The hookups were made. Mills "used his position as the general manager of the Water District to influence the [Rancho California] Board's decision," said the State Bar of California.

Sponsored
Sponsored

From January 1, 1988, through October 1, 1988, Mills "concealed the fact that he had a contingent interest" in the partnership, said the bar. On January 1, 1988, Mills said he was selling his interest. But he continued to make secret installment payments. In late 1988, the 40 acres were sold for $2.4 million. Mills made $388,000 of that. He had paid $113,000 for his portion of the partnership.

In March 1990, Mills was indicted on one felony count of perjury for stating that he had disposed of his share of the property, which he clearly had not. He was indicted on ten felony counts of 1090 violations and three misdemeanor counts of violating section 87100 of the government code, for using "his official position to influence a governmental decision, in which he knew or had reason to know that he had a financial interest," according to the indictment by the Riverside County district attorney.

Eventually, Mills pleaded guilty to three violations of 87100 and, in a plea bargain, got three years of probation plus a $30,000 fine and $10,000 payment to the district attorney's office. In addition, he was required to participate in a substance abuse program. (He was a heavy drinker.)

The bar decided that Mills's behavior did not involve moral turpitude but was "inconsistent with the truth and likely to mislead those to whom he owed a duty of full disclosure." The bar placed him on probation for three years and suspended him from practice for one year. He was required to pass legal courses and file probationary reports.

He then resigned from the bar and went to Alaska, where he died.

As I studied this deal, I knew the district attorney couldn't nail Waring, who was not a government employee, on a 1090 charge. But did the prosecutors have other questions about the participants? Alas, neither the former deputy D.A. nor the former D.A. would respond to my questions. Two others did, but they couldn't remember anything about Waring. "I was an elected director of the Rancho California Water District at the time of the incident," says Jeffrey Minkler. "I can remember being terribly embarrassed that this and other unethical behavior by Stan Mills could have occurred without being discovered by the board of directors."

Arthur G. Kidman, who at the time was attorney for the Rancho California Water District, points out that one of the Murrieta 40 partners did consulting work for the district. "To the extent that the two of them had private business that was at all shady, I was the last one they wanted to catch wind of it," says Kidman.

Waring made a bundle of money on the deal. One of his partners was destroyed, and another, although not a government employee, was cast in an ugly light. Waring came out fine. He has a spotless record with the bar. He went on to head a trust of longtime Las Vegas gangster Morris (Moe) Dalitz and helped Dalitz's daughter sort out financial matters after her father's death. Now Waring is one of the most powerful officials in San Diego government. He did not respond to requests for comment.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

The discreet charms of Secret Sister

The South Park sourdough bakery dabbles in the unfamiliar

— Okay, so California Government Code section 1090 bans government officials from developing, negotiating, or executing a contract in which they have a financial interest. It's an obvious conflict; someone violating 1090 deserves to be punished. But what about the private-sector entrepreneur who goes into a partnership with a government official who then uses his government influence to benefit their business? The public employee may be charged with a 1090 violation, but what happens to the entrepreneur, who is not with the government? Probably nothing.

Take the case of attorney James Waring, the City of San Diego's czar over real estate, land use, and development policies. Two decades ago in Riverside County, he and several other speculators formed Murrieta 40, a partnership holding 40 acres of land within the Murrieta County Water District. Waring had 50 percent of the deal. The district couldn't provide water and sewer hookups to the land. Well, no problem. One person holding a 25 percent interest was Stanley Thomas Mills, an attorney who was also general manager of the Rancho California Water District.

Mills successfully pushed to have the Murrieta 40 acreage transferred to the Rancho California Water District, over the strong opposition of the Murrieta district. The hookups were made. Mills "used his position as the general manager of the Water District to influence the [Rancho California] Board's decision," said the State Bar of California.

Sponsored
Sponsored

From January 1, 1988, through October 1, 1988, Mills "concealed the fact that he had a contingent interest" in the partnership, said the bar. On January 1, 1988, Mills said he was selling his interest. But he continued to make secret installment payments. In late 1988, the 40 acres were sold for $2.4 million. Mills made $388,000 of that. He had paid $113,000 for his portion of the partnership.

In March 1990, Mills was indicted on one felony count of perjury for stating that he had disposed of his share of the property, which he clearly had not. He was indicted on ten felony counts of 1090 violations and three misdemeanor counts of violating section 87100 of the government code, for using "his official position to influence a governmental decision, in which he knew or had reason to know that he had a financial interest," according to the indictment by the Riverside County district attorney.

Eventually, Mills pleaded guilty to three violations of 87100 and, in a plea bargain, got three years of probation plus a $30,000 fine and $10,000 payment to the district attorney's office. In addition, he was required to participate in a substance abuse program. (He was a heavy drinker.)

The bar decided that Mills's behavior did not involve moral turpitude but was "inconsistent with the truth and likely to mislead those to whom he owed a duty of full disclosure." The bar placed him on probation for three years and suspended him from practice for one year. He was required to pass legal courses and file probationary reports.

He then resigned from the bar and went to Alaska, where he died.

As I studied this deal, I knew the district attorney couldn't nail Waring, who was not a government employee, on a 1090 charge. But did the prosecutors have other questions about the participants? Alas, neither the former deputy D.A. nor the former D.A. would respond to my questions. Two others did, but they couldn't remember anything about Waring. "I was an elected director of the Rancho California Water District at the time of the incident," says Jeffrey Minkler. "I can remember being terribly embarrassed that this and other unethical behavior by Stan Mills could have occurred without being discovered by the board of directors."

Arthur G. Kidman, who at the time was attorney for the Rancho California Water District, points out that one of the Murrieta 40 partners did consulting work for the district. "To the extent that the two of them had private business that was at all shady, I was the last one they wanted to catch wind of it," says Kidman.

Waring made a bundle of money on the deal. One of his partners was destroyed, and another, although not a government employee, was cast in an ugly light. Waring came out fine. He has a spotless record with the bar. He went on to head a trust of longtime Las Vegas gangster Morris (Moe) Dalitz and helped Dalitz's daughter sort out financial matters after her father's death. Now Waring is one of the most powerful officials in San Diego government. He did not respond to requests for comment.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

UCSD hands slapped for not returning Indian relics

Juan Vargas staffers, Darrell Issa treated by Middle East lobbyists
Next Article

Jesse Daniel Edwards returns, Taz Taylor shoots, Swive performs, Sara Petite revues, and Roger! stays home

Upcoming Little Italy, Ramona, San Carlos, and Solana Beach concerts
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close