Evans Hotels and Atlantis Group have been chief contributors to Georgette Gomez’s personal legal defense fund
Get out of jail money
San Diego city council Democrat Georgette Gomez, who brokered last month’s 5-4 council deal to advance the date of the convention center expansion ballot measure from November to March of next year, has been taking cash for her personal legal defense fund from hotel interests and city hall lobbyists. Chief among hotel connected donors was Robert Gleason, chief executive of Evans Hotels, which runs resorts on city-owned Mission Bay sites, with $550 last May 14.
Want to influence council member Georgette Gomez? Pay her legal bills.
The fund collected $2750 in February and April of this year, including $550 from Marcela Escobar-Eck, whose Atlantis Group counts among its clients an outfit called Blue Falcon 52 seeking permits for a Montezuma Road hotel. Other $550 givers included Republican ex-mayor Jerry Sanders aide and lobbyist Rachel Laing, as well as port commissioner and GOP ex-city council candidate Marshall Merrifield and wife Virginia. Influence peddler Clarissa Falcon of Falcon Strategies, who lobbies for Bird scooters and Parallel, which wants to “relax short term rental regulations on accommodations in rental zones,” came up with $550 last June 14. Lobbyist Donna Jones kicked in $550, as did the Clay Company’s Denise Price and Stephanie Saathoff.
In all, the Gomez defense fund has raised $10,150 to cover bills from the Kauffman Legal Group in Los Angeles. Gomez’s 2016 city council campaign was cited for multiple violations of city campaign law during a routine audit by the city’s ethics commission but got only a hand slap. “Although the report reflects four material findings, the Commission does not believe that the findings warrant additional administrative remedies,” said a February 8, 2019 letter to Gomez from ethics commission audit program manager Rosalba Gomez. “In summary, the Commission determined that education was more appropriate than enforcement in this situation. As a result, the Commission voted to accept the report and take no further action.”
Transgressions called out by auditors included failure to pay a vendor “within 180 calendar days in violation of San Diego Municipal Code,” as well as failing to “include identification disclosures on three telephone communications.” Per the final report, dated January 14 of this year, “At the post-audit conference held on January 10, 2019, the Committee representatives stated that the campaign volunteers were verbally instructed to identify themselves as volunteers of the Committee when reading the above-noted scripts, but acknowledged that the Committee does not have any documents to support this assertion.”
Regarding the illegal 180-day extension credit by vendor YuMe, Inc., the audit said Gomez’s committee “did not exercise reasonable due diligence to comply with this law; it knew that the vendor had not negotiated the check by the end of those twelve months, yet failed to make any additional efforts to ensure that the vendor was paid.”
In the hours before Gomez joined the narrow council majority in switching the convention center measure’s ballot date, Andrea Guerrero, executive director of the nonprofit Alliance San Diego, told a rally at the city administration building, “We are setting ourselves up for manipulation. We are setting ourselves up for special interests to control the outcome of these elections.”
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Sexual media coordinator
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