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

Developer Stuck in the Rough gets warning letter

No fine levied against silent backer of Lincoln Club’s Fletcher hit pieces

The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission has handed a warning letter — but no fine — to a five-figure financial backer of the GOP Lincoln Club’s war of hit pieces against Nathan Fletcher last year. The backer failed to disclose his true identity.

As first reported here in December, a total of $37,000 in campaign contributions to the Lincoln Club and the county Republican party were listed on state disclosure reports as being made by Touchstone Golf, an Austin, Texas-based golf-course management company.

A major chunk of the cash was spent by the Lincoln Club on waves of mailers attacking Republican-turned-Democrat Fletcher and his employer Qualcomm, founded by La Jolla Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs.

Paul Jacobs, Qualcomm's then–chief executive, called the charges against Fletcher and the company, made during last year’s mayoral primary campaign, "slanderous.”

When reached by phone regarding his contributions to the controversial hit pieces, Touchstone chief Steve Harker denied making them.

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.

Stuck in the Rough, a Beverly Hills–based limited liability company run by Los Angeles–based Michael Schlesinger, had been locked in a battle with Escondido residents to build a residential development on a golf course in that city.

Following word here that Stuck in the Rough’s Lincoln Club contributions had not been reported, the Fair Political Political Practices Commission opened an investigation, as outlined in a letter last month from enforcement chief Gary Winuk to Stuck in the Rough lawyer James Sutton.

The FPPC found that contributions from your client, Michael Schlesinger dba Stuck in the Rough, LLC, were misidentified as coming from Stuck in the Rough's management company Touchstone Golf.

Your law firm has since filed, on January 30, 2014, and January 31, 2014, three Late Contribution Reports on behalf of Stuck in the Rough under the name "Michael Schlesinger and Affiliated Entities."

Your client's actions violated the Act because its contributions were made in the name of Touchstone Golf rather than the true source and also because three required Late Contribution Reports were not timely filed.

Without mentioning that the donor's true identity was first revealed by Touchstone's Harker in December, Winuk said Stuck in the Rough would get off without a fine because Schlesinger had acknowledged in January that he was the source of the money.

San Diego has a long history of political money laundering by real estate developers and other special interests, many lightly penalized, reaching back to the days of fallen GOP mayor Roger Hedgecock.

Federal prosecutors are currently pursuing a case related to allegedly illegal campaign spending on behalf of various local politicos by Mexican national José Susumo Azano Matsura.

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

Previous article

Oceanside grandma comes home from San Felipe, gets beat up and tortured

Assailant caught on the RING doorbell camera

The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission has handed a warning letter — but no fine — to a five-figure financial backer of the GOP Lincoln Club’s war of hit pieces against Nathan Fletcher last year. The backer failed to disclose his true identity.

As first reported here in December, a total of $37,000 in campaign contributions to the Lincoln Club and the county Republican party were listed on state disclosure reports as being made by Touchstone Golf, an Austin, Texas-based golf-course management company.

A major chunk of the cash was spent by the Lincoln Club on waves of mailers attacking Republican-turned-Democrat Fletcher and his employer Qualcomm, founded by La Jolla Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs.

Paul Jacobs, Qualcomm's then–chief executive, called the charges against Fletcher and the company, made during last year’s mayoral primary campaign, "slanderous.”

When reached by phone regarding his contributions to the controversial hit pieces, Touchstone chief Steve Harker denied making them.

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.

Stuck in the Rough, a Beverly Hills–based limited liability company run by Los Angeles–based Michael Schlesinger, had been locked in a battle with Escondido residents to build a residential development on a golf course in that city.

Following word here that Stuck in the Rough’s Lincoln Club contributions had not been reported, the Fair Political Political Practices Commission opened an investigation, as outlined in a letter last month from enforcement chief Gary Winuk to Stuck in the Rough lawyer James Sutton.

The FPPC found that contributions from your client, Michael Schlesinger dba Stuck in the Rough, LLC, were misidentified as coming from Stuck in the Rough's management company Touchstone Golf.

Your law firm has since filed, on January 30, 2014, and January 31, 2014, three Late Contribution Reports on behalf of Stuck in the Rough under the name "Michael Schlesinger and Affiliated Entities."

Your client's actions violated the Act because its contributions were made in the name of Touchstone Golf rather than the true source and also because three required Late Contribution Reports were not timely filed.

Without mentioning that the donor's true identity was first revealed by Touchstone's Harker in December, Winuk said Stuck in the Rough would get off without a fine because Schlesinger had acknowledged in January that he was the source of the money.

San Diego has a long history of political money laundering by real estate developers and other special interests, many lightly penalized, reaching back to the days of fallen GOP mayor Roger Hedgecock.

Federal prosecutors are currently pursuing a case related to allegedly illegal campaign spending on behalf of various local politicos by Mexican national José Susumo Azano Matsura.

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

Toni Atkins ramps up lieutenant governor run

Santa Barbara ex-police chief defends Lori Luhnow
Next Article

Former Tijuana mayor charged with embezzlement

Plumbing infrastructure grants to Puerta de Hierro neighborhood
Comments
2

Why is it that this does not seem believable.

March 18, 2014

Why would Stuck be paying for hit pieces in the San Diego mayoral election when its fight is in Escondido and with the city of Escondido? There's no connection that is obvious. And since that is the case, could it be that the funds came from some other source other than Stuck? Is money that has been laundered twice even cleaner? Twice as clean? One would wonder if it might be possible to determine where Stuck got the money, 'cause it is crying poverty with its out-of-business course that it cannot sell.

March 18, 2014

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows 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 Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup 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 Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search 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 Waterfront — All things ocean 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