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False source of $37,000 to Lincoln Club and GOP revealed

Real donor is Stuck in the Rough, owner of Escondido Country Club

Kevin Faulconer
Kevin Faulconer

Touchstone Golf — an Austin, Texas-based golf course management company that according to Republican party and Lincoln Club disclosure filings has been delivering some big San Diego political money of late —has denied that it is the real source of the funds.

According to records posted online by the city clerk's office, Touchstone has given a total of $17,000 to the GOP Lincoln Club since August 8. That group waged a take-no-prisoners campaign of hit pieces against Republican assemblyman–turned–Democratic mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher, and his employer, Qualcomm.

In addition, this past Friday, December 27, the Republican Party of San Diego — expected to do much of the financial lifting for GOP city councilman Kevin Faulconer’s campaign against Democrat David Alvarez — filed a statement with the California secretary of state’s office saying Touchstone had given it $20,000.

Touchstone chief Steve Harker, reached at his San Francisco Bay Area office by phone on December 30, said he didn’t know that Touchstone had been listed as making the contributions. He went on to say that his firm was not the source of the money.

After further investigation, Harker called back to say that the funds originated from an entity by the name of Stuck in the Rough, LLC, which, he explained, owns the Escondido Country Club and has had a management deal with Touchstone.

“They asked us to send out the checks from their account, and we did,” Harker said, referring to a checking account he said his firm maintained for the now-defunct golf course.

Harker said that Touchstone would take steps to correct the reports filed with the California secretary of state and San Diego city clerk’s offices. It is illegal to report false donor names on campaign disclosure filings.

Who exactly is Stuck in the Rough? The Beverly Hills-based limited liability company has been trying to build 450 houses on the golf course site against the opposition of a citizens group.

Reached by phone, Michel Ohana, who identified himself as an employee of Stuck in the Rough, confirmed Harker’s account. Other information about the firm and its ownership was not immediately available.

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Touchstone Golf — an Austin, Texas-based golf course management company that according to Republican party and Lincoln Club disclosure filings has been delivering some big San Diego political money of late —has denied that it is the real source of the funds.

According to records posted online by the city clerk's office, Touchstone has given a total of $17,000 to the GOP Lincoln Club since August 8. That group waged a take-no-prisoners campaign of hit pieces against Republican assemblyman–turned–Democratic mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher, and his employer, Qualcomm.

In addition, this past Friday, December 27, the Republican Party of San Diego — expected to do much of the financial lifting for GOP city councilman Kevin Faulconer’s campaign against Democrat David Alvarez — filed a statement with the California secretary of state’s office saying Touchstone had given it $20,000.

Touchstone chief Steve Harker, reached at his San Francisco Bay Area office by phone on December 30, said he didn’t know that Touchstone had been listed as making the contributions. He went on to say that his firm was not the source of the money.

After further investigation, Harker called back to say that the funds originated from an entity by the name of Stuck in the Rough, LLC, which, he explained, owns the Escondido Country Club and has had a management deal with Touchstone.

“They asked us to send out the checks from their account, and we did,” Harker said, referring to a checking account he said his firm maintained for the now-defunct golf course.

Harker said that Touchstone would take steps to correct the reports filed with the California secretary of state and San Diego city clerk’s offices. It is illegal to report false donor names on campaign disclosure filings.

Who exactly is Stuck in the Rough? The Beverly Hills-based limited liability company has been trying to build 450 houses on the golf course site against the opposition of a citizens group.

Reached by phone, Michel Ohana, who identified himself as an employee of Stuck in the Rough, confirmed Harker’s account. Other information about the firm and its ownership was not immediately available.

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Comments
2

Stuck in the rough? I think that would describe the GOP mayoral candidate whose campaign is getting all this improperly declared moola.

Dec. 31, 2013

Stuck in the Rough ("Stuck") has been crying poor mouth ever since it took ownership of the country club golf course. First it claimed to try to turn it around and recruit more golfers, but the locals didn't see much or any serious effort. So, since the course was a money loser, Stuck shut it down, stopped watering and proposed to redevelop the property with houses and condos. The residents, and especially those with homes facing on the course, protested that the area was zoned for a golf course and nothing more. In all the back and forth, petitions and ballot measures, Stuck has done some odd things for a company that is hurting financially. In response to "trespassing" (on the course, presumably) and vandalism of the club house, it fenced the entire thing with an eight foot cyclone fence that goes right to the property line, meaning that it is right in front of the homes that bordered the course. Not satisfied with that, it also had the property "surveyed" and wrote nasty letters to any and all homeowners whose landscaping allegedly encroached onto their course, ordering them to remove their improvements and cease using any of the course. But then it bought a number of full page ads in the UT, in color, to plead its case and threaten to bankrupt the city of Escondido when it wins its lawsuit. All this is free? As to why Stuck is making donations in the San Diego mayoral race, who knows? They seem capable of playing "rough" when they think it will work. More friends in the county is better than fewer, and maybe they think the mayor of SD carries clout in other No County cities. (He/she doesn't.) The real story is that Stuck bought the struggling golf course to redevelop it, and to hell with the neighbors. They ended up in a big fight which isn't over yet. Who knows how it will play out. But just look at what Stuck does, not what it says.

Dec. 31, 2013

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