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It was the culmination of a year of elaborate planning at city hall and a major source of income to Katherine Stuart, wife of mayor Kevin Faulconer.


BIO party in the Gaslamp

And word was out to private security forces and San Diego cops that taking photos of the big event was definitely not appreciated.

Wednesday night's exclusive party in the Gaslamp Quarter, thrown for the 2014 BIO International Convention and run by the Biotechnology Industry Association, was a blowout featuring multiple block closings, blues bands, and an opaque green fence to keep out prying public eyes.

Stuart, who navigated the wingding through the city's often daunting bureaucracy, runs the couple's lucrative Restaurant Events business.

The firm arranges with city officials for hard-to-get block closings, police protection, and other city services to accommodate downtown parties whose corporate sponsors are well heeled enough to be able to afford Stuart’s sizable fees.

Kevin Faulconer and Katherine Stuart (foreground)

Kevin Faulconer and Katherine Stuart (foreground)

In a personal financial disclosure filed last year, Faulconer, then a member of the city council, pegged the worth of Restaurant Events at between $100,000 and $1,000,000 and said it had a gross annual income of over $100,000.

As previously reported here, the current status of using city streets for corporate events has grown a bit murky, with city spokeswoman Katie Keach saying earlier this year that the city is no longer collecting the so-called "negotiated fees" it used to get for such parties.

"During the Filner administration, the decision was made to suspend the discretionary negotiation process for commercial events pending a citywide comprehensive review of all rate and fee structures," wrote Keach in an email.

"The city plans to conduct a comprehensive review of all rates and fees for review and approval by the City Council within the next year," she continued.

"As part of this effort, the Special Events Department intends to evaluate and propose a fee and rate structure that addresses events hosted by commercial and non-profit entities."

Prior to the discontinuation of the fees, records show a variety of party sponsors forked over five-figure payments to the city, including "Qualcomm Q on the Fifth," in June 2012, $21,000; "Cisco Block Party," April 2012, $6000; "Solid works World 2012 Special Event," February 2012, $15,000; and "Qualcomm Q Fest Street Scene in the Gaslamp," June 2011, $12,000.

Stuart said in an interview that this year's BIO party would not be paying negotiated fees. We have a call in to Faulconer media aide Matt Awbrey for an update.

During an appearance before the Gaslamp Quarter Association this past February, the mayor’s wife handed out a memo describing the BIO party as "a private event for 3100 convention attendees."

The Gaslamp group is heavily dependent on the city's goodwill for a variety of services, including a hefty complement of police protection, which was out in full force on the inside of BIO's party.

When a reporter began interviewing security employees and shooting video at the gala's perimeter, two San Diego cops briefly ventured from the fenced party area in an apparent effort to run interference.

After the encounter, one of the SDP officers told an event security official that there was nothing he could do to limit photography in public spaces.

"He can waste his time," said the cop of the reporter. "Obviously he has nothing better to do than film. He can’t come through here, he knows that, I’m sure.”

In the past, BIO officials have expressed satisfaction with Stuart's performance, according to a testimonial by Janice Krieger, identified as an event producer for the biotech association, posted on the Restaurant Events website.

"Well, BIO '08 is over and wrapped up, and I want to thank you for your tremendous assistance in making our Gaslamp Street Party a resounding success! Without a doubt, you know how to make this happen!"

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Saikali June 26, 2014 @ 4:29 p.m.

A San Diego politician connected to sleazy transfers of money and dirty cops who spend their time protecting the elite -- what a shock!


dwbat June 26, 2014 @ 4:33 p.m.

With the Mayor's wife getting these city services for free, isn't this a conflict of interest? Would Michelle Obama be allowed to run a consultant company doing PR work for the Pentagon or the Department of the Interior? This sleazy Stuart scam sure stinks.


monaghan June 26, 2014 @ 6:29 p.m.

That guy is a security guard? Fooled me: he looks like he runs the chess club. Also, conflict of interest? How about highway robbery, as in the $3 million heist of taxpayer dollars by Mayor Sanders' Balboa Park Centennial Committee (made up of lobbyists and former employees.)


photog921 June 26, 2014 @ 7:38 p.m.

Did the geeky guy touch you? Sounded as though he made contact with your camera. That would be an assault, I believe. They certainly do seem to be trying to please the Mayor's wife, keeping the outsiders out. What about all the non-uniformed guys in suits, with earpieces, etc. Who are they? I wonder if Mr. Quiet ("Is it ok to film?") is keeping a low profile, perhaps because he is a moonlighting police officer?


Visduh June 26, 2014 @ 8:12 p.m.

Her whole career at the present time is a screaming conflict of interest. Anything the "mare" does about these events is suspect, as it should be. The only way this conflict could be avoided was for him to decline to run for mayor. In the "old days", the mayor was just another council vote. Not so now in this era of strong mayor. One of them needs to quit, but neither one will. SD residents will just be treated to a string of examples of how she can massively profit from being the mayor's wife. Has anyone asked why she uses a different (likely her maiden) name? I'd suppose it is to hide the connection from those who know no better.


monaghan June 27, 2014 @ 1:05 p.m.

Oh Visduh, your generation is showing. Mrs. Faulconer uses her own name because why would any woman change something as integral to her identity as her birth-name? And if it's not her birth-name, aka "maiden name," then she really IS trying to hide something -- and that would be wrong, as I think Dick Nixon used to say while lying through his teeth.


Visduh June 27, 2014 @ 8:44 p.m.

My generation shows all the time. I'm very well aware of how women will use something other than their husband's last name when it would be disruptive or pointless to make a name change. Just how long have they been married? Why did we hear/read nothing or nearly nothing in regard to her during the agonizing mayoral campaign? Methinks she doesn't want her connection to her husband well known, except when it would be advantageous. And I'd suppose that he'd prefer that folks not know that she makes big bucks off city properties rented out to fat cat users.


monaghan June 29, 2014 @ 9:56 p.m.

In the instance of Mrs. Faulconer, I think you, Visduh, have made good points about the political expediency of her maintaining another name and a low wifely profile.

As for Mr.O'Sullivan above, what turnip truck did he just fall from? "There is a husband and wife working in their jobs which benefits (sic) all San Diego."

Admittedly, Kevin and Spouse are not exactly like Kevin and Spouse in "House of Cards,"but still...there should be city fees charged for her lucrative enterprise.


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