The public persona of Nathan Fletcher, Republican-turned-Independent running for county supervisor as a Democrat, is embodied in the photo atop his Facebook page as a portrait of a happily blended family: he and second wife, Assembly Democrat Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, flanked by their smiling children, two each for him and for her.
Off-stage, though, the story is more complex. Superior court records show that Fletcher, his annual income slashed when he was let go as an executive by Qualcomm, sought in October of last year to reduce spousal and child support payments to ex-wife Mindy Tucker Fletcher, once a high-ranking aide to GOP President George W. Bush.
"Respondent and I were married on September 19, 2003. We separated on December 11, 2014. Since the date of separation, I have been paying support to Respondent," says Nathan Fletcher's October 25, 2017 declaration in support of the switch.
"On December 7, 2016, Respondent and I entered into a Marital Settlement Agreement that required that I pay each month to Respondent $5,250 in spousal support and $3,000 in child support for a total monthly support obligation of $8,250," per Fletcher. "I have been paying this amount since January of 2017."
"At the time that these support obligations were established, I was employed by Qualcomm, Incorporated and University of California, San Diego. I advised Respondent at that time that Qualcomm was planning to eliminate my position, thereby reducing my income substantially. She responded that she expected to obtain paid employment soon. On March 31, 2017, my position with Qualcomm, Inc. was eliminated,"
Per his statement, Fletcher's current service as a so-called professor of practice at UCSD, which ex-dean of social sciences Jeffrey Elman once considered funding with contributions from billionaire Qualcomm founder and Fletcher political backer Irwin Jacobs, is only modestly compensated.
"I concede that I have the capacity to earn more than my current monthly pay of $2,095.33 from the University of California, San Diego," the statement says.
In spite of his modest income, according to Fletcher, he has been the broken family's sole support. "Respondent has been a partner of Crux Partners, LLP, a San Diego consulting and public relations firm," Fletcher says of Mindy.
"Despite Respondent channeling all of her professional efforts into this business for years, Respondent has earned no income from this endeavor." But things may be changing, according to the filing.
Mindy "has been offered and plans to accept a position paying her $150,000 per year," says Fletcher's declaration. "Her income has increased and mine has decreased, creating a significant change in our financial circumstances."
At the time of their divorce in December 2016, the couple agreed to adjust their future support obligations, based on changes in their respective earnings, according to Fletcher's statement. "Our marital settlement agreement contains an 'Automatic Spousal Support Modification' provision that reduces my obligation to pay spousal support based on Respondent's income," he declares.
"This was done with the expectation that Respondent would become self-supporting. It appears that our financial circumstances have now made that a reality."
With Mindy making $12,500 per month, the declaration states, "this would call for a reduction in spousal support of $8,125, thereby reducing my spousal support obligation to zero. I propose that my child support obligation be that which is required by law given the calculation of our respective current monthly incomes."
Per his declaration, supervisorial candidate Fletcher anticipates a successful race getting him a handsome county salary next year which he would count as income for use in determining the couple's respective support obligations.
"I am currently seeking a seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. The election for that seat is in November of 2018. If elected, the income I would earn from that position would be $172,451, but that income would not be received until January of 2019."
"Nonetheless, I am willing to have my child support and spousal support obligations calculated now on that imputed income. If I am unsuccessful in obtaining this position, I am confident that I will find other employment at a comparable salary."
In addition to money, custody and visitation rights are also at issue in the case, court records show.
Per a document filed January 5 of this year by Tucker's attorney Sharon Blanchet, the couple has agreed to retain the services of Dr. Lori Love to conduct a child custody evaluation. Topics include "Mindy's request to relocate to Dallas, Texas with the minor children," and a "custody and visitation schedule that is in the children's best interest."
Blanchet declared in an April 28 filing that Irvine-based expert witness W. Russell Johnson may be called to testify for Mindy regarding "all child custody and visitation issues and relating issues and information as contained in the Custody Evaluation Report(s) prepared by Lori A. Love, Ph.D."