Selis reportedly lounged in a chair, drinking beer as he fired multiple rounds at the party-goers.
  • Selis reportedly lounged in a chair, drinking beer as he fired multiple rounds at the party-goers.
  • Image by CNN
  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

They are the crème de crème of San Diego business and political society, giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to both Democrats and Republicans, and in turn receiving development permits for hundreds of upscale apartment units from a pliant city council.

Selis' sister, Lee Posnock, wife of Garden Communities CEO and Wilf family intimate Stuart Posnock,

The family patriarch, Zygi Wilf, runs the Minnesota Vikings, and engineered a controversial taxpayer-funded covered stadium for the team in Minneapolis.

They have been accused of fraud in an infamous down-and-dirty legal battle with ex-partners in New Jersey, and the FBI continues the search for alleged eco-terrorists who burned their University City units to the ground in August 2003.

Now, an associate by marriage of the super-rich Wilf clan of Short Hills, New Jersey is dead, accused of a mass shooting at the family-built La Jolla Crossroads apartment complex on Judicial Drive near the University Town Center mall.

It had been rebuilt after 2003's torching and expanded in the face of fierce resistance from neighborhood critics.

Police say they shot to death 49-year-old Peter Selis following his killing spree during a Sunday evening, April 30 birthday party being held around the swimming pool at the posh complex that left a woman dead and seven others wounded, some critically.

Armed with a semi-automatic pistol, Selis, reportedly a resident of the development, lounged in a chair, drinking beer as he fired multiple rounds at the party-goers.

"This is truly a horrific act of violence that took place here today," San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said at a hastily called news conference. "Our entire city, all of our thoughts and prayers, all San Diegans' thoughts and prayers, are with the victims and their families tonight."

Whether the mayor knew it or not, the tragedy touches some of his and city hall’s most prolific political givers, including the alleged killer himself, who, identified by records as an employee of Drew Ford, gave $250 to the city attorney campaign of Republican then-city councilman, currently state Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, on April 16, 2008.

Michelle Selis, listed as a property manager with CB Richard Ellis, and Eve Selis Gulotta, a singer at All About Eve, kicked in $250 the same day. Five Wilf family members, including two from New Jersey, contributed a total of $1530 to Maienschein’s campaign over the same period.

That year, Garden Communities was seeking development permits for thousands of units at Casa Mira View in the councilman’s district.

San Diego’s Superior Court index show Michelle Selis filed for a legal separation from Peter Selis in August 2008, and published accounts say they were subsequently divorced.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Michelle Selis is currently Real Estate Sales and Marketing Director at the Wilf family-run Garden Communities in La Jolla, which owns the La Jolla Crossroads development.

Peter Selis was one of eight children of Mission Valley dentist Robert Selis, according to the elder Selis's May 10, 2009 paid obituary in the San Diego Union-Tribune. Among Peter's sisters, the obit says, are Eve Selis-Gulotta and Lee Posnock identified in other accounts as wife of Garden Communities CEO and Wilf family intimate Stuart Posnock, who with other Posnock family members has given a total of $134,090 to San Diego city political campaigns since 2007, per city records.

Stuart Posnock gave a total of $106,220, including $55,000 to the GOP Lincoln Club, and $14,000 for Republican mayor Faulconer. Andrea Lee Posnock is listed second with $19,160; Frieda Posnock of Monroe Township, New Jersey, gave $4230.

During the 2001 mayoral campaign of Republican Dick Murphy, multiple Wilf family members residing in New Jersey were listed on Murphy's campaign disclosure reports as "retired," obscuring their affiliation with the big developer.

They included Joseph Wilf of Hillside, New Jersey; Leonard Wilf of Short Hills, New Jersey; Zygmunt Wilf of Springfield, New Jersey; Scott Loventhal of Livingston, New Jersey; Mario Dudzinski of Pinebrook, New Jersey; and Joseph Korn of Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

Garden Communities representatives did not return phone calls inquiring about whether the donors had given their own money and not been reimbursed. Reached by phone at his New Jersey residence, a man who identified himself as Joseph Wilf was asked why he had contributed to the San Diego mayor's race.

"My interest? Actually, I am not used to giving interviews on the telephone," Wilf said. ‘It's kind of unusual. Our name is known in the San Diego area. Why should I respond on the phone? I have no information. My contribution was a few hundred dollars."

Asked whether he had attempted to influence the city council on behalf of Garden Communities, he said, "Of course not. I'm involved in different things, but again, I cannot respond on the phone if somebody calls me up. My contribution is mine. I don't think this is necessary. It's only a few hundred dollars. I don't want to hear any assumptions. I won't respond no matter how many times you ask me. I think the conversation went far enough. I'm going to finish the conversation right now. I don't want to speak to you anymore."

Mario Dudzinski, a Garden Cities employee from New Jersey, denied he had been reimbursed by the Wilfs for his contribution. "I'm very civic-minded, just leave it at that."

Political money-giving has long been a modus operandi for Garden Communities and the Wilf family. In October 2013, the New York Observer quoted John Marty, a Minnesota state senator critical of the public financing of the Wilf's proposed Vikings stadium, as saying, "during the 2006 election, the Wilf family gave $20,000 to the Minnesota DFL Party and $20,000 to the Republican Party. The Wilfs gave $10,000 to the DFL legislative caucuses and $12,000 to the Republican ones. They gave $5,000 to Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty and $5,000 to Mike Hatch, his DFL challenger.”

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

Comments

AlexClarke May 2, 2017 @ 6:38 a.m.

You can pick your friends but you can't pick your relatives. Selis was not a blood relative of the wealthy clan and no matter where he lived or worked his actions should have no impact on people, wealthy or not, that have no connection to his mental state or criminal actions. Everyone has relatives or relatives by marriage that we would not want hanging on our family tree, hanging from yes but . . . . . .

1

shirleyberan May 2, 2017 @ 7:48 a.m.

Feeling not (good) enough might explain some godforsaken Selis despair but the brutality is on him.

0

Bob_Hudson May 2, 2017 @ 9:19 a.m.

This may be the worst "story" the Reader has even run. Potter is the King of Stretch when it comes to making tangential connections during his constant quest to slander as many people as possible.

0

dwbat May 2, 2017 @ 11:58 a.m.

Presenting accurate information in a news article is not "slander." And it's not libel (the actual word you should have used), either.

3

Bob_Hudson May 3, 2017 @ 9:26 a.m.

You are correct: the word describing the intent of his work should be "defamation."

0

dwbat May 4, 2017 @ 8:38 a.m.

It's extremely unlikely a lawyer could make a case for defamation, either. It's idiots like Trump who have raised the issue of changing libel laws, because he can't stand harsh criticism. Of course, it won't happen.

0

monaghan May 5, 2017 @ 10:22 p.m.

At first read, I also thought this story was a stretch. But the truth is that Matt Potter thought to investigate fully, no matter where the facts led. No one else did that. Other "stories" were accurate enough, but they were obvious, simplistic and incomplete.

What happened? A tragic story of innocent party-going victims on a sunny Sunday? A sad story of an impecunious jilted-lover shooter? A story of people with political and financial connections connected to a despondent loser-shooter? A story of an armed white guy targeting only people of color for no reason? A story of an odd rush to judgment (and press conference) with the white Mayor and our white San Diego Police Chief who said there was "zero evidence" of intentional racism after only 24 hours had passed? Surely that story is disbelieved by every black or brown person in this city -- that a white shooter targeted many people of color by happenstance. (Contrary eyewitness reports and quotes about that factoid appeared in the La Jolla Village News today.)

There are still many unanswered questions.Let's wait along with Matt Potter to see where the facts take us.

1

Sign in to comment

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!

Close