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$100K for UCSD corruption cop

State politicos bribed by lobbyists on Maui beachfront hidden from public

University of California auditors have called out a bevy of campus staff irregularities including unreported vacations to a trip abroad by a Moores Cancer Center administrator.
University of California auditors have called out a bevy of campus staff irregularities including unreported vacations to a trip abroad by a Moores Cancer Center administrator.

UCSD’s new ethics gumshoe

Faced with a growing number of critical audits, UCSD’s Office of Ethics & Compliance is seeking a senior investigator to help root out fraud, corruption, and all-around bad ethics at the taxpayer-funded university. Within the last two years, University of California auditors and the office of state auditor Elaine Howle have called out a bevy of campus staff irregularities.

Lapses ranged from unnamed faculty members slipping away for unreported vacations to a trip abroad by a Moores Cancer Center administrator that “included additional days at another international location, some of which may have been personal, which were not explained in the documentation.” University auditors said they rooted out “two instances where the same group of employees were provided with meals more often than once per month.

Elaine Howle must think UCSD stands for UC Sneaky and Deceitful

Also, itemized receipts were not always submitted for expenses of $75 or more.” Added the report: “We also noted that business meetings were often held in local restaurants, which can provide the appearance that a University business objective was not the sole purpose of the meeting.”

UCSD’s new investigative hire, to get a yearly salary of between $104,150 and $129,400, according to an online job posting, is to conduct “complex investigations of suspected and reported violations of laws and policies, including those with significant potential impact.” The new hire will also furnish “advice and assistance with highly sensitive or difficult investigations as well as complex matters of law and policy relating to investigations and whistleblower matters.”

Adds the job notice: “Our goal is to help the University fulfill its responsibilities to the people of California, protect the well-being of the institution and advance our educational mission by deterring misconduct and promoting honest, ethical conduct in which applicable laws, rules, and regulations are followed, and the public trust is maintained.” The deadline for applicants was November 19.

SeaWorld’s legislative largesse

SWBG Operations Group of Orlando, Florida came up with $10,000 for Democratic state Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins’s 2026 Lt. Governor campaign fund on December 1. The outfit is an arm of what used to be known as SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc., which Atkins championed during the firm’s captive whale controversies. Atkins, elected to the state Senate from the Assembly with SeaWorld backing, was succeeded in the state’s lower house by fellow Democrat Todd Gloria, the current San Diego mayor. The latter collected more than $4500 in SeaWorld-related cash for his 2016 Assembly campaign.

With covid-19 quarantines on the wane, some California politicos took advantage of the summer hospitality available at Barona Casino. Contra Costa Assemblyman Jim Frazier, a Democrat, got a free overnight stay on August 8 valued at $89, as did his chief of staff Paul Derio. Frazier’s Republican Assembly colleague Randy Voepel tucked into a free meal worth $45 three days later. His chief of staff Gail Ramer got the same. Meanwhile, thanks to San Diego-based Sempra Energy, state Senate Republican Rosilicie Ochoa-Bogh bagged a gratis $340 ticket and a meal at an August 30 Dodgers game in Los Angeles...

“Nor would they identify which lawmakers are discussing these important topics this week at the beachfront resort.” (Photo from Fairmont Kea Lani website)

Last month’s annual corporate-sponsored legislative blow-out in Maui, originally fostered by ex-state Senate Democrat Steve Peace, has been condemned by the Los Angeles Times. “Conference organizers would not disclose specific companies that paid for the event and sent representatives this year, but said they come from the pharmaceutical, energy, software, cable and telecom industries, as well as the prison guards’ union,” noted the paper’s November 19 editorial. “Nor would they identify which lawmakers are discussing these important topics this week at the beachfront Fairmont Kea Lani resort.” Details on attendees won’t be available until the legislators file their legally required disclosures of gift receipts next year. A year ago, the Maui event drew a smaller turnout due to covid-19 worries but was no less boisterous.

“It really doesn’t matter where you’re coming from as long as you have a negative covid test before you arrive here,” Dan Howle, an ex-Eli Lilly lobbyist and chair and executive director of the Peace-founded, non-profit Independent Voter Project, sponsor of the event, told Politico.com. According to its 2020 report to the Internal Revenue Service, in 2019 the group paid Howle $120,000 for his services. Besides that, it shelled out $540,863 for “conferences, conventions, and meetings,” and anted up $63,497 in “travel or entertainment expenses” for unnamed “federal, state, or local public officials.”

A former investigator with the San Diego City Attorney’s office has received a warning from the California Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to file his legally required leaving office personal financial disclosure statement by the deadline. “But since you are no longer in the position and have not had a prior violation of this section, the Enforcement Division has decided to close your case with this warning letter,” says a September 2 letter to Bruce Pendleton posted on the agency’s website.

— Matt Potter

(@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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Long-range trips worth the $400-500

From outside Cedros Island, Alijos Rocks, past the end of Baja
University of California auditors have called out a bevy of campus staff irregularities including unreported vacations to a trip abroad by a Moores Cancer Center administrator.
University of California auditors have called out a bevy of campus staff irregularities including unreported vacations to a trip abroad by a Moores Cancer Center administrator.

UCSD’s new ethics gumshoe

Faced with a growing number of critical audits, UCSD’s Office of Ethics & Compliance is seeking a senior investigator to help root out fraud, corruption, and all-around bad ethics at the taxpayer-funded university. Within the last two years, University of California auditors and the office of state auditor Elaine Howle have called out a bevy of campus staff irregularities.

Lapses ranged from unnamed faculty members slipping away for unreported vacations to a trip abroad by a Moores Cancer Center administrator that “included additional days at another international location, some of which may have been personal, which were not explained in the documentation.” University auditors said they rooted out “two instances where the same group of employees were provided with meals more often than once per month.

Elaine Howle must think UCSD stands for UC Sneaky and Deceitful

Also, itemized receipts were not always submitted for expenses of $75 or more.” Added the report: “We also noted that business meetings were often held in local restaurants, which can provide the appearance that a University business objective was not the sole purpose of the meeting.”

UCSD’s new investigative hire, to get a yearly salary of between $104,150 and $129,400, according to an online job posting, is to conduct “complex investigations of suspected and reported violations of laws and policies, including those with significant potential impact.” The new hire will also furnish “advice and assistance with highly sensitive or difficult investigations as well as complex matters of law and policy relating to investigations and whistleblower matters.”

Adds the job notice: “Our goal is to help the University fulfill its responsibilities to the people of California, protect the well-being of the institution and advance our educational mission by deterring misconduct and promoting honest, ethical conduct in which applicable laws, rules, and regulations are followed, and the public trust is maintained.” The deadline for applicants was November 19.

SeaWorld’s legislative largesse

SWBG Operations Group of Orlando, Florida came up with $10,000 for Democratic state Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins’s 2026 Lt. Governor campaign fund on December 1. The outfit is an arm of what used to be known as SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc., which Atkins championed during the firm’s captive whale controversies. Atkins, elected to the state Senate from the Assembly with SeaWorld backing, was succeeded in the state’s lower house by fellow Democrat Todd Gloria, the current San Diego mayor. The latter collected more than $4500 in SeaWorld-related cash for his 2016 Assembly campaign.

With covid-19 quarantines on the wane, some California politicos took advantage of the summer hospitality available at Barona Casino. Contra Costa Assemblyman Jim Frazier, a Democrat, got a free overnight stay on August 8 valued at $89, as did his chief of staff Paul Derio. Frazier’s Republican Assembly colleague Randy Voepel tucked into a free meal worth $45 three days later. His chief of staff Gail Ramer got the same. Meanwhile, thanks to San Diego-based Sempra Energy, state Senate Republican Rosilicie Ochoa-Bogh bagged a gratis $340 ticket and a meal at an August 30 Dodgers game in Los Angeles...

“Nor would they identify which lawmakers are discussing these important topics this week at the beachfront resort.” (Photo from Fairmont Kea Lani website)

Last month’s annual corporate-sponsored legislative blow-out in Maui, originally fostered by ex-state Senate Democrat Steve Peace, has been condemned by the Los Angeles Times. “Conference organizers would not disclose specific companies that paid for the event and sent representatives this year, but said they come from the pharmaceutical, energy, software, cable and telecom industries, as well as the prison guards’ union,” noted the paper’s November 19 editorial. “Nor would they identify which lawmakers are discussing these important topics this week at the beachfront Fairmont Kea Lani resort.” Details on attendees won’t be available until the legislators file their legally required disclosures of gift receipts next year. A year ago, the Maui event drew a smaller turnout due to covid-19 worries but was no less boisterous.

“It really doesn’t matter where you’re coming from as long as you have a negative covid test before you arrive here,” Dan Howle, an ex-Eli Lilly lobbyist and chair and executive director of the Peace-founded, non-profit Independent Voter Project, sponsor of the event, told Politico.com. According to its 2020 report to the Internal Revenue Service, in 2019 the group paid Howle $120,000 for his services. Besides that, it shelled out $540,863 for “conferences, conventions, and meetings,” and anted up $63,497 in “travel or entertainment expenses” for unnamed “federal, state, or local public officials.”

A former investigator with the San Diego City Attorney’s office has received a warning from the California Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to file his legally required leaving office personal financial disclosure statement by the deadline. “But since you are no longer in the position and have not had a prior violation of this section, the Enforcement Division has decided to close your case with this warning letter,” says a September 2 letter to Bruce Pendleton posted on the agency’s website.

— Matt Potter

(@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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Comments
3

Potter, you want a corruption cop, you have to pay for them at level where they are not easily bribe-able. That's why a salary of $100,000/yr.

Dec. 15, 2021

Gonna disagree with you on this one. 100K is nothing in San Diego. There have been countless people making more than that who took bribes. Ever here of Duke Cunningham???

Dec. 21, 2021

Bribes aren't income related. You can accept bribes as a billionaire, or not accept bribes if you're very poor. You're either honest or you're not. It's based on character.

Dec. 21, 2021

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