Chargers lawyer Mark Fabiani is looming large over the mayor's stadium task force decisions
Kevin Faulconer's political brain has left the torrid kitchen of city hall influence peddling, but he may not have gone far, based on a July 23 filing with the city clerk's office.
As first reported here in January, Presidio Public Affairs Group, a lobbying company operated by Jason Roe, a major GOP political consultant and key player in the campaigns of the Republican San Diego mayor, went to work early this year for food service giant Delaware North, according to a January 15 disclosure filing with the city.
The lucrative mission: obtain an exclusive concession deal with the city for food and beverage operations at Qualcomm Stadium to replace incumbent provider Centerplate.
The cozy arrangement drew the attention of Mark Fabiani, special counsel to the Chargers, who noted that Roe was an inside player in Faulconer's efforts to keep the team from leaving town.
"What legal and ethical issues are raised by Mr. Roe's dual role as an apparent de facto Task Force member and as a registered lobbyist for the Delaware North company, which is bidding to become the new concessionaire at Qualcomm Stadium and, potentially, at any new stadium in San Diego?" wrote Fabiani in a February 17 letter to Faulconer.
The letter continued, "Putting the legal and ethical issues aside for a moment, what sense does it make to have someone who is your chief advisor on political matters, and who advises a potential stadium vendor on business matters, play any sort of role with the 'independent' Task Force?"
Added Fabiani, "Have you asked the City Attorney for an opinion on the propriety of Mr. Roe's intensive involvement with the Task Force's work? If you have not yet asked for such an opinion from the City Attorney, do you intend to do so?"
Faulconer's answer came in the form of the April award of the Qualcomm contract to Delaware North.
That brought a fierce protest from Centerplate, the previous holder of the Qualcomm concession.
"As you know, during the 90 minutes allotted to Centerplate for its presentation, not one member of the selection committee asked a single question regarding any one of the five different financial proposals put forth by Centerplate in its [request for proposal] response," said a letter from Centerplate chief legal and talent officer Keith B.W. King to city contracting official Ronald Villa.
"Nor was Centerplate ever asked whether it would match or beat any other offer that appeared to be 'very aggressive' or otherwise.”
Continued King, "Further troubling are the recent allegations raised about [Delaware North's] lobbyist and his apparent connection to the Mayor's office.”
Chief of Staff Steve McNally, District 2 Councilman Kevin Faulconer, and Old Town District Representative James Lawson (SOHO)
Now, according to an amended lobbyist disclosure form filed by Presidio on July 23, Roe is no longer a lobbyist for the firm, having been replaced by ex-Faulconer city council aide James Lawson.
As first reported here last year, Roe and longtime associate Duane Dichiara registered Presidio as a lobbying firm on June 27, 2014.
The company’s annual lobbyist registration for 2015, dated January 15, listed Roe and Janelle Riella as Presidio's staff lobbyists.
Riella remains a listed lobbyist. Prior to this week, she had been said on the Presidio website to be president of the company. She is now billed as vice president.
Lawson's biography on the website, which says he is president of an entity known as Presidio PAG, Inc.,adds that he previously worked for California Strategies, the big Sacramento contract lobbying outfit founded by ex-Pete Wilson honcho Bob White.
According to Presidio's disclosure for this year's first quarter, dated April 30, the company received $15,000 from Delaware North. Kilroy Realty, battling with another L.A. developer over One Paseo, a North City commercial and residential complex, also paid the firm $15,000, as did billboard company Outfront Media.
The July 23 filing regarding Lawson's new role in the company continues to show both Roe and his political partner Dichiara on a list of "each owner, compensated officer, and lobbyist in the firm who provided compensated campaign-related services to a current elected City Official within the last two years."
Both are said by the filing to have done work for Faulconer and his GOP ally, councilman Chris Cate.
We have a call into Lawson for more details on the shakeup.