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Zapf's legal defense gambit

Special interest history of providing legal fund cash

On August 2 Zapf filed papers at the city clerk's office for the Lorie Zapf Legal Defense Fund.
On August 2 Zapf filed papers at the city clerk's office for the Lorie Zapf Legal Defense Fund.

What's a termed-out city councilwoman - or at least one whose reelection eligibility is being challenged in court - to do?

The largest legal fund in city history has been that of Democrat Myrtle Cole for Cole's case brought by defeated foe Dwayne Crenshaw.

In the case of Second District Republican Lorie Zapf, she sets up a legal defense fund. Similar operations established by other council members have been traditionally paid for by special interests and lobbyists with business pending at city hall, and Zapf's track record suggests she will do the same.

The second largest defense kitty was amassed by then-city councilman Ben Hueso.

The councilwoman's fundraising flag went up August 2 with the filing at the city clerk's office of the Lorie Zapf Legal Defense Fund. Her signature on the document is dated July 13. It was time-stamped by the California Secretary of State's office July 24.

The purpose of her fund, per Zapf's filing, is to raise money to pay fees for "defense of elections contest brought by unsuccessful candidate Bryan Pease," who filed suit, arguing that allowing Zapf to run for a third term because she was redistricted out of her original home district is an illegal loophole. She has been using San Francisco lawyer Jim Sutton, famous for his high-dollar election law practice.

Judge Peter Deddeh, son of champion political fundraiser Wadie Deddeh, a retired state legislator, tossed out Pease's case last month, but an appeal is promised, setting up a potentially costly legal contest for Zapf lasting well beyond November.

Zapf, a pivotal figure in the local Chamber of Commerce and GOP Lincoln Club's efforts to battle back against Democratic council encroachment in the second year of Trump, has already been the beneficiary of $130,000 from the two groups this year, along with about $140,000 she has raised from other donors to her campaign committee from January through the end of June, per city records.

As legal defense funds go, the largest in city history has been that of Democrat Myrtle Cole, who tapped an array of donors in coming up with a total of $41,300. The fund paid the Lawton Law Firm $34,500 for Cole's successful defense against a 2014 campaign libel case brought by defeated foe Dwayne Crenshaw, disclosure records say.

In beating Crenshaw's claims involving a Cole campaign hit piece against him, the councilwoman took cash from an array of developers and their associates, many with ties to Mission Valley, including Tom Sudberry, H.G. Fenton Inc., and architect Doug Austin, a member of the planning commission.

The second largest defense kitty was amassed by then-city councilman Ben Hueso, currently a member of the state senate, who collected $14,450 from donors after he was accused in a 2008 confidential ethics complaint of “Participation in Municipal Decision Involving Economic Interests." The case was dropped by the ethics commission before any details could see the light of day.

Hueso fund contributors included Republican Mission Valley hotel magnate Terry Brown and three associates, who came up with a total of $1500, and three employees of Global Premier Development of Irvine, with $1250. Sudberry gave $500, as did developer Roberto Walz of Rancho Santa Fe's Walz Properties. The Los Angeles firm of Strumwasser & Woocher was paid $7500 for legal services, with Carlos Castaneda getting $3600, records show.

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On August 2 Zapf filed papers at the city clerk's office for the Lorie Zapf Legal Defense Fund.
On August 2 Zapf filed papers at the city clerk's office for the Lorie Zapf Legal Defense Fund.

What's a termed-out city councilwoman - or at least one whose reelection eligibility is being challenged in court - to do?

The largest legal fund in city history has been that of Democrat Myrtle Cole for Cole's case brought by defeated foe Dwayne Crenshaw.

In the case of Second District Republican Lorie Zapf, she sets up a legal defense fund. Similar operations established by other council members have been traditionally paid for by special interests and lobbyists with business pending at city hall, and Zapf's track record suggests she will do the same.

The second largest defense kitty was amassed by then-city councilman Ben Hueso.

The councilwoman's fundraising flag went up August 2 with the filing at the city clerk's office of the Lorie Zapf Legal Defense Fund. Her signature on the document is dated July 13. It was time-stamped by the California Secretary of State's office July 24.

The purpose of her fund, per Zapf's filing, is to raise money to pay fees for "defense of elections contest brought by unsuccessful candidate Bryan Pease," who filed suit, arguing that allowing Zapf to run for a third term because she was redistricted out of her original home district is an illegal loophole. She has been using San Francisco lawyer Jim Sutton, famous for his high-dollar election law practice.

Judge Peter Deddeh, son of champion political fundraiser Wadie Deddeh, a retired state legislator, tossed out Pease's case last month, but an appeal is promised, setting up a potentially costly legal contest for Zapf lasting well beyond November.

Zapf, a pivotal figure in the local Chamber of Commerce and GOP Lincoln Club's efforts to battle back against Democratic council encroachment in the second year of Trump, has already been the beneficiary of $130,000 from the two groups this year, along with about $140,000 she has raised from other donors to her campaign committee from January through the end of June, per city records.

As legal defense funds go, the largest in city history has been that of Democrat Myrtle Cole, who tapped an array of donors in coming up with a total of $41,300. The fund paid the Lawton Law Firm $34,500 for Cole's successful defense against a 2014 campaign libel case brought by defeated foe Dwayne Crenshaw, disclosure records say.

In beating Crenshaw's claims involving a Cole campaign hit piece against him, the councilwoman took cash from an array of developers and their associates, many with ties to Mission Valley, including Tom Sudberry, H.G. Fenton Inc., and architect Doug Austin, a member of the planning commission.

The second largest defense kitty was amassed by then-city councilman Ben Hueso, currently a member of the state senate, who collected $14,450 from donors after he was accused in a 2008 confidential ethics complaint of “Participation in Municipal Decision Involving Economic Interests." The case was dropped by the ethics commission before any details could see the light of day.

Hueso fund contributors included Republican Mission Valley hotel magnate Terry Brown and three associates, who came up with a total of $1500, and three employees of Global Premier Development of Irvine, with $1250. Sudberry gave $500, as did developer Roberto Walz of Rancho Santa Fe's Walz Properties. The Los Angeles firm of Strumwasser & Woocher was paid $7500 for legal services, with Carlos Castaneda getting $3600, records show.

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Comments
4

Time's up for City Councilwoman Myrtle Cole. Let's elect a woman from District 4 who is honest AND intelligent, who believes in policing reform and who wants economic development in the community. It might surprise constituents to get accustomed to good representation again after a long lull. To make it happen, District 4 voters need to mobilize to choose ACLU lawyer Monica Montgomery for City Council.

Aug. 3, 2018

"illegal loophole"? If it is a loophole then it is legal. Follow the money and you will find who owns and operates the politician.

Aug. 7, 2018

Alex, the term might make some sense if a politician or administrator allowed a loophole that ran counter to the law. And that can happen easily when laws and ordinances and codes are written vaguely. Someone can find a strange interpretation of the law and try to make it work. That's what courts are for, to spot such violations and stop them.

In this case, I agree with your statement.

Aug. 7, 2018

Zapf & cronies failed pension plan hurt taxpayers!

Jerry Sanders now draws a city pension and is handsomely paid by the Chamber of Commerce. Kevin Faulconer is our mayor. Carl DeMaio rails against pensions and seeks some meaningful role. The Taxpayers Association continues its conservative advocacy.

We are all left to pay the price for this failed effort to skirt the PENSION law.

Aug. 7, 2018

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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
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