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Elisabeth Kimmel's pre-jail pleas for mercy

Despite her free ads for Father Joe, Bishop's faculty member cite her boorishness

Kimmel (right) arranged with Rick Singer to get her children into Georgetown and USC.
Kimmel (right) arranged with Rick Singer to get her children into Georgetown and USC.

Before her December 9 sentencing to six weeks in federal prison and a year of home confinement, along with a $250,000 fine and 500 hours of community service, lawyers for ex-KFMB TV and radio owner and manager Elisabeth Kimmel sent Boston's U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton a cache of letters asking for mercy.

According to a December 2 pre-sentencing memo filed by Kimmel's defense team, 37 individuals had dispatched missives on her behalf, including a La Jolla real estate magnate, Michael Gallegos, whose daughter went to the tony Bishop's school with Kimmel's son Jack, per his letter.

"As described by Gallegos, Elisabeth provided free coveted advertising to Father Joe's Villages, a local San Diego charity whose goal is to prevent and end homelessness, during NFL games," her legal team noted regarding statements made in a heavily redacted November 14 letter.

Kimmel's daughter, also a Bishop's veteran, was with her brother Tommy at the center of the bribery case, in which the ex-broadcasting executive arranged with Newport Beach college admission consultant Rick Singer to get her daughter into Georgetown University and her son into the University of Southern California with bribes concealed as charity.

Bishop’s had not received such negative attention since the nationwide killing spree of alumnus Andrew Cunanan.

Bishop’s, the preferred secondary school for the children of La Jolla’s elite, had not received such negative attention since the nationwide killing spree of alumnus Andrew Cunanan, who committed suicide after gunning down fashion designer Gianni Versace on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion on July 15, 1997.

As described in the prosecution memo, Kimmel "caused her family's foundation — which established scholarships for families of law enforcement and military members, and which the defendant served as a director — to pay $275,000 to [Key Worldwide Foundation], Singer's sham charity, while hiding the true purpose of the payments from the foundation and even her own father.

"In forwarding the bogus charitable receipt letter from KWF to her spouse, the defendant wrote: 'I wonder if [the bookkeeper for her family foundation] will authorize payment based on this letter. I hope she doesn't decide to make a big deal about it and run it by my dad.'"

Adds the memo: "Twice, the defendant agreed to pay money in exchange for having Singer secure her children's admission to elite universities as purported athletic recruits in sports they did not play."

"At every step of the way — over the course of more than half a decade — the defendant was intimately involved in the details of the fraud and agreed to peddle even more lies to avoid getting caught."

In addition to the Kimmel-submitted letters seeking mercy, thirty-two other exhibits submitted in her filing were listed as "restricted," making them unavailable for perusal by the public.

In their pre-sentence memo, federal prosecutors disputed the Kimmel camp's sunny view of the wealthy La Jollan's charitable disposition, citing an e-mail authored by an unnamed Bishop’s faculty member.

"Days after her arrest in this case, a teacher at her children's high school, unprompted, sent her the following e-mail: ‘Attached is the college letter of recommendation I wrote for [your daughter] six years ago.

“‘Without a single reservation, I believed in her qualifications— her powerful intellect, her uncompromising sportsmanship, her sterling character — when you did not.

"‘Many of the faculty at Bishop's — I could list ten off the top of my head — remember you as boorish, your treatment of us demeaning, insulting, unprincipled.

“‘But we loved your children and, in spite of their parents, always had their best interests at heart.

“'To that end, please forward my letter to [your daughter].’"

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Kimmel (right) arranged with Rick Singer to get her children into Georgetown and USC.
Kimmel (right) arranged with Rick Singer to get her children into Georgetown and USC.

Before her December 9 sentencing to six weeks in federal prison and a year of home confinement, along with a $250,000 fine and 500 hours of community service, lawyers for ex-KFMB TV and radio owner and manager Elisabeth Kimmel sent Boston's U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton a cache of letters asking for mercy.

According to a December 2 pre-sentencing memo filed by Kimmel's defense team, 37 individuals had dispatched missives on her behalf, including a La Jolla real estate magnate, Michael Gallegos, whose daughter went to the tony Bishop's school with Kimmel's son Jack, per his letter.

"As described by Gallegos, Elisabeth provided free coveted advertising to Father Joe's Villages, a local San Diego charity whose goal is to prevent and end homelessness, during NFL games," her legal team noted regarding statements made in a heavily redacted November 14 letter.

Kimmel's daughter, also a Bishop's veteran, was with her brother Tommy at the center of the bribery case, in which the ex-broadcasting executive arranged with Newport Beach college admission consultant Rick Singer to get her daughter into Georgetown University and her son into the University of Southern California with bribes concealed as charity.

Bishop’s had not received such negative attention since the nationwide killing spree of alumnus Andrew Cunanan.

Bishop’s, the preferred secondary school for the children of La Jolla’s elite, had not received such negative attention since the nationwide killing spree of alumnus Andrew Cunanan, who committed suicide after gunning down fashion designer Gianni Versace on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion on July 15, 1997.

As described in the prosecution memo, Kimmel "caused her family's foundation — which established scholarships for families of law enforcement and military members, and which the defendant served as a director — to pay $275,000 to [Key Worldwide Foundation], Singer's sham charity, while hiding the true purpose of the payments from the foundation and even her own father.

"In forwarding the bogus charitable receipt letter from KWF to her spouse, the defendant wrote: 'I wonder if [the bookkeeper for her family foundation] will authorize payment based on this letter. I hope she doesn't decide to make a big deal about it and run it by my dad.'"

Adds the memo: "Twice, the defendant agreed to pay money in exchange for having Singer secure her children's admission to elite universities as purported athletic recruits in sports they did not play."

"At every step of the way — over the course of more than half a decade — the defendant was intimately involved in the details of the fraud and agreed to peddle even more lies to avoid getting caught."

In addition to the Kimmel-submitted letters seeking mercy, thirty-two other exhibits submitted in her filing were listed as "restricted," making them unavailable for perusal by the public.

In their pre-sentence memo, federal prosecutors disputed the Kimmel camp's sunny view of the wealthy La Jollan's charitable disposition, citing an e-mail authored by an unnamed Bishop’s faculty member.

"Days after her arrest in this case, a teacher at her children's high school, unprompted, sent her the following e-mail: ‘Attached is the college letter of recommendation I wrote for [your daughter] six years ago.

“‘Without a single reservation, I believed in her qualifications— her powerful intellect, her uncompromising sportsmanship, her sterling character — when you did not.

"‘Many of the faculty at Bishop's — I could list ten off the top of my head — remember you as boorish, your treatment of us demeaning, insulting, unprincipled.

“‘But we loved your children and, in spite of their parents, always had their best interests at heart.

“'To that end, please forward my letter to [your daughter].’"

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Comments
5

Today, finally, the You-Tee ran a piece on her and the guilty plea bargain that wasn't downplayed or hidden. It was on Page 1, and actually seemed to report the case in some degree of completeness. It mentioned the claims of her defense team that her arrest--in La Jolla--was brutal and caused a "cardiac injury." As to whether that was in any documented wasn't mentioned. The defense team called her transgressions a "dark moment in a life of goodness." Typical defense attorney-speak was that. That "moment" ran for six years, as Matt mentions. Personally, I doubted that she was in any way an unwitting victim of Singer, and at least the plea means that she is admitting her guilt, although her plea specifically disavowed any bribery. (She gave Singer the funds; he did the bribing is how the story would go.)

That six week detention at Club Fed is more than i expected to be levied on a billionaire, or at least someone whose net worth is very close to that figure. Leave it to Matt to dig out more details, utterly unflattering, about her character and dealings with people. It would be so interesting to hear from some of her business associates about her way of runnning the family media empire, especially in San Diego.

There's a final question I have. How did her husband, an attorney and former prosecutor, avoid indictment? Everything reported so far indicates that he was well aware of what she was up to, and went along with it.

Dec. 10, 2021

The most bizarre article I've read regarding cheating your way into college for your unqualified children -- low-income families admit to doing this too. I don't know if low-income families have the financial means to cheat their way in, and of course the media won't cover it unless they're wealthy. The article went on to say 78% of the kids involved knew what their parents were up to, and middle-class families are less likely to engage in cheating. Misguided helicopter parents on steroids. Unbelievable.

Dec. 11, 2021

We need a new "list of scandals since 1997" article, to continue what Matt Potter did in that article for the GOP convention attendees of 1996 on every scandal in San Diego during the late 1970s to early 1990s.

Dec. 11, 2021

That could make a book that could sell very well, and keep the locals with short memories from forgetting just how corrupt and scandal-ridden SD can be, and was not so long ago. It isn't, and never was "America's Finest City". And it was never as rich or flush or whatever-you-want-to-call-it as many thought. Every dollar wasted was a dollar that didn't get spent on things that don't show until they break or you lose a wheel in a pothole. Yep, his reports would make a great book; I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

Dec. 12, 2021
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
Dec. 19, 2021

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