Allegations made in a September 2010 lawsuit against luxury car dealer Marc Chase — at the center of criminal charges that have enveloped city hall and district attorney Bonnie Dumanis — seem sure to fuel the spreading fire of San Diego's latest political corruption scandal.
The accusations were made by Jacqueline Peterson, whose court complaint says she was Chase's live-in girlfriend and fiancée in a violent and abuse-plagued relationship with the auto merchant that lasted from 1988 through 2009.
Chase runs Symbolic Motors, a magnet for Chargers players and others with sufficient cash to drop on high-priced cars, from Bugattis to Ferraris to Rolls Royces.
Peterson’s complaint says that she and Chase had one child together, born in 1993, identified by pseudonym “Jane” to protect her privacy. According to the document, their relationship allegedly began in the late 1980s.
"In 1988, after Chase had pursued Peterson for many months, they ultimately became involved in a romantic relationship," according to the complaint.
A year later, the lawsuit says, the couple moved into a house in La Costa with Peterson's three children from two prior relationships.
In 1992, Chase impregnated Peterson. Although Chase was dead-set against having a child, and demanded that Peterson have an abortion, once their daughter "Jane'" was born, he showed up at the hospital demanding that the baby take his last name.
Immediately after Jane was born, Chase moved mother and children into a house conveniently located across from his own in La Costa. Chase paid the rent and all bills and gave her spending money in the form of cash.
During this time, Chase's own home across the street from Peterson and the children was used to shoot pornographic films. While he continued to own that house, he treated Peterson's residence as his home.
The complaint goes on to allege that “Chase was violent towards Peterson regularly…. On one occasion, Chase choked Peterson until she lost consciousness, then dragged her out of their home by her hair.”
Despite these tensions, the parties' intimate relationship continued. They also took many lavish and exotic vacations together as a family.
In 1996 Peterson confronted Chase after she learned about his relationships with other women. Thereafter, by mutual agreement to open their relationship, Peterson became involved with another man. In a short time, Chase became very jealous.
On one occasion, Chase upset and disoriented Peterson by moving them into his new home in La Jolla — literally overnight. Without her consent or knowledge, he had ordered all of her belongings and furnishings to be packed up and relocated to his home in La Jolla.
He solicited the help of the children to convince their mother to accept his marriage proposal. Chase threw a lavish engagement party at Symbolic Motor Car Company, and then Chase and his family flew to Bangkok for a lengthy vacation.
At one point, Peterson’s complaint says, "With Chase's direction, and at his expense, Peterson moved into L'Auberge, where she lived for approximately another four years.
"During this time, Chase continued to pay the rent and pay all her bills. Chase gave her expensive and exotic cars to drive, including a Ferrari, a Porsche, and a Mercedes Benz."
But their happiness did not last, according to the document.
In June of 2000, Chase called Peterson late at night demanding that she come to Chase's house in Solana Beach. As she arrived, she recognized the cars of her adult children in the drive, amongst others.
Upon entering, she learned that Chase had thrown a wild party, where he had dispensed ecstacy and alcohol liberally to the attendees that included her young adult children. The party goers were passed out all about the house.
Chase, in contrast, was very much awake, in an agitated state, and appeared to be under the influence of some drug.
When Chase caught sight of Peterson, he rushed at her, ripped her clothes off, and raped and sodomized her.
When she resisted, he became raging and violent, and literally picked Peterson up and threw her against the bed platform and bathroom counter several times.
Peterson drove home and then sought medical help, the complaint says. "Peterson did not tell the medical personnel what had happened to cause her injuries because she was terrified of Chase."
The allegation also claims:
In 2001, Jane was at home at Chase's La Jolla house. As she normally had full run of the house, she went into her father's room and found him having sex with her half-sister, Peterson's then-adult daughter, for whom Chase was, the only father figure she knew.
Chase yelled at Jane to get out of the room, and continued with the statement, “She’s not my biological daughter."
Chase has a fetish for oral sex. He would regularly push Peterson onto her knees and forced her to orally copulate him. This was humiliating, and given Peterson's hip injury, it became increasingly painful over the years.
The relationship finally ended for good, the complaint says, after one of Peterson's trips to get money from Chase.
On another visit Symbolic by Peterson, Chase was hosting a number of San Diego Charger football players, endeavoring to sell them the dealership's high-end cars.
Peterson walked in looking ill and coughing. As she went down a walkway, Chase grabbed her by the back of her neck. He pushed her violently into the women's restroom and against a wall; Peterson fell to the floor.
Chase screamed at her, "Don't talk to my clients!"
Shortly after this incident, Chase evicted her from the home he had been renting for her. Within months, Chase stopped all financial support and cancelled her health insurance.
Chase's attorney filed a document with the court in December 2010 asserting that Peterson's complaint contained "irrelevant, improper, and scurrilous material."
Court records show the case was dismissed by the parties in May 2012 without trial. Chase and Peterson could not immediately be reached for comment.
As first reported here in October 2012, South Beach Acquisitions of La Jolla, an entity associated with Chase, made a $120,000 donation to “San Diegans in Support of Bob Filner for Mayor - 2012” in September 2012.
Published reports have said that the South Beach transaction was part of a money-laundering operation involving ex–San Diego cop Ernesto Encinas, Ravneet Singh, identified as a political consultant from Washington, D.C., and lobbyist Marco Polo Cortes, all of whom have been charged in a case brought by federal prosecutors.
José Susumo Azano, a Mexican national, has been identified in published accounts as the alleged ultimate source of the funds.
District Attorney Dumanis, whose mayoral hopes were backed by an independent expenditure committee that received $100,000, got a total of $9000 in mayoral contributions from Chase and other employees of Symbolic, city records show.