The city council today, (July 29) by a 7-1 vote, approved spending taxpayer money up to $150,000 to pay city attorney Jan Goldsmith's legal bills.
The lawsuit against Goldsmith forces him to reveal the contents of emails he sent to reporters and others during a period when he and other politicians were trying to get favorable press coverage in the ousting of former mayor Bob Filner
Goldsmith was using private email accounts to conduct city business. The lawsuit was filed by attorney Cory Briggs representing San Diegans for Open Government, charging that Goldsmith was spending public money illegally.
Many San Diegans feel the content of these messages will shed light on how the press — particularly U-T San Diego — was manipulated during the Filner imbroglio.
Councilmember David Alvarez was the only one to vote no. Today, Alvarez sent a message to Goldsmith, asking questions such as, "If outside counsel has already been engaged, why wasn't this brought forward sooner to council for approval?"
Also, asked Alvarez, if the outside counsel had already been hired, "how much money have the services cost?" As the Reader's Dorian Hargrove reported, Goldsmith had engaged outside counsel before getting council's permission. His office has threatened to sue Briggs for defamation — a threat Briggs and his lawyer have scoffed at.
After former mayor Jerry Sanders spent $123,000 to investigate city auditor Eduardo Luna, the latter hired an attorney. Luna is not popular at City Hall because of his investigations into bookkeeping at the Development Services Department and the convention center.
The council has not docketed Luna's attempt to be reimbursed for his $60,580 defense.