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

The importance of Jason Hughes

Clay lobby family funds campus entry at Montezuma Road and Campanile Drive

Jason Hughes, a wealthy Rancho Santa Fe resident, spread his campaign cash to friends and allies of Kevin Faulconer and Bob Filner, including, back in 2013, to Sherri Lightner, the Democratic councilwoman from La Jolla.
Jason Hughes, a wealthy Rancho Santa Fe resident, spread his campaign cash to friends and allies of Kevin Faulconer and Bob Filner, including, back in 2013, to Sherri Lightner, the Democratic councilwoman from La Jolla.

Tale of two mayors

In the tainted annals of the Jason Hughes city hall real estate scandal, before Kevin Faulconer there was Bob Filner. Hughes, a wealthy Rancho Santa Fe resident, spread his campaign cash to friends and allies of both men, including, back in 2013, to Sherri Lightner, the Democratic councilwoman from La Jolla. On April 10 of that year, then-mayor Filner dispatched a news release announcing that real estate maven Hughes, President & CEO of Hughes Marino, would become a volunteer special assistant for city leases. “The position is voluntary and is expected to continue as long as necessary,” said the release. “I appreciate Jason’s commitment to public service in this advisory role, which he will perform without compensation from any party,” Filner offered.

Jason Hughes knows that politics should never interfere with business.

As it turned out, the timing was remarkable. Seven employees and members of Hughes family each came up with then-maximum $500 contributions for Lightner’s 2012 campaign fund on April 1, days before Filner’s announcement. Another Hughes-related campaign gift came on March 28 from partner David Marino. The April Fool’s Day donors included Hughes, his wife, and children Bailey, Brighton, and Tucker, along with Hughes-Marino general counsel Ryan McCrary and senior vice president Edward Muna, per a May 1, 2013, disclosure filing. Much of the after-election campaign money went to pay off Lightner’s 2012 vendors, including Jennifer Tierney’s Gemini Group.

Then-council president Lightner voted to approve the controversial Ash Street deal in October 2016, arguing the building “has been well maintained” and “is in very good condition,” according to a September 5, 2020, account by La Prensa. The off-the-mark comment might have been more true of the Hughes Marino company’s posh downtown digs. “A dining area and complete kitchen for impromptu gatherings of staff, clients, friends, and family, celebrate the contemporary philosophy of Hughes Marino — one that embraces the union of family values into successful enterprise,” notes a June 2013 profile posted on the Hughes Marino website. “As the steel framework supporting the curved ceiling remains the architectural bones of antiquity, a sense of pride, accomplishment, and solidarity is the framework the Hughes family has built for itself and the company it keeps.” Added the profile: “‘Our core values apply in both business and family,’ Jason Hughes said. ‘They aren’t some secret. It’s really about doing the right thing.’”

Bob Filner: provided appointment and then disappointment.

In September 2012, Hughes’s wife Shay gave Rancho Santa Fe Review a grand tour. “She came up with the original design that is centered on the ‘living room,’ complete with a baby grand piano and big-screen TV that shows family photos of not just the Hughes clan but also of their employees and their families. To one side of the living room is a full kitchen, complete with one Subzero refrigerator with individual lunch boxes for each employee and another that is stocked each Monday with goodies like waffles, oatmeal, and juices. To the rear is a putting green, which gets regular use, and a billiards table. ‘At 5 o’clock every day, someone is playing,’ Shay said. And recently, a new player captured the trophy from the monthly tournament.” After Filner’s fall in a 2013 sexual harassment scandal, Hughes Marino gave the San Diego Republican Party a total of $20,000 in January and May of 2014, state records show. And as of July 2018, Hughes and employees had given the GOP’s Faulconer a total of $23,000.

Gateway to the big bucks

San Diego State University spent $6000 during the first quarter of this year to lobby the state legislature regarding Assembly Bill 940, which would furnish $20 million in mental health services money for state universities. “This bill is sponsored by the California State University, Office of The Chancellor, and it is supported by a number of other groups,” according to an April 21 legislative analysis. “Supporters note the mental health needs of college students are great. Seventy-five percent of all mental health disorders start by age 24, and suicide remains the second leading cause of death for youth ages 15 to 24, taking hundreds of lives every year in California alone.” SDSU’s lobbying money went to JGC Government Relations of Sacramento, per the school’s April 13 disclosure filing.

Run by Jonathan Clay, the son of San Diego State benefactor and retired mega-lobbyist Ben Clay, the firm also works for San Diego County, the San Diego Unified Port District, and Encinitas, among others. The elder Clay funded the Clay Gateway, the giant campus entry edifice at Montezuma Road and Campanile Drive. “This is the entryway to the university, and it needed it, so we were glad to help out,” said Clay to the Union-Tribune during the dedication of the $1.4 million monument in November 2016. Last year, the JGC firm got a total of $48,000 from SDSU, disclosure filings show....Also busy in Sacramento during the first three months of the year was the San Diego Padres baseball club, which forked over a modest $1500 to the lobbying firm Government Advocates regarding “COVID regulations.” The team paid a total of $12,080 to the firm last year, per filings.

— 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/.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Indicted Trump donor funded Doug Manchester hotel

David Alvarez scores with LA's Kilroy Realty and ambulance firm AMR
Next Article

Bub’s Berry Smash: mulling over the mule

A really refreshing cocktail for summertime.
Jason Hughes, a wealthy Rancho Santa Fe resident, spread his campaign cash to friends and allies of Kevin Faulconer and Bob Filner, including, back in 2013, to Sherri Lightner, the Democratic councilwoman from La Jolla.
Jason Hughes, a wealthy Rancho Santa Fe resident, spread his campaign cash to friends and allies of Kevin Faulconer and Bob Filner, including, back in 2013, to Sherri Lightner, the Democratic councilwoman from La Jolla.

Tale of two mayors

In the tainted annals of the Jason Hughes city hall real estate scandal, before Kevin Faulconer there was Bob Filner. Hughes, a wealthy Rancho Santa Fe resident, spread his campaign cash to friends and allies of both men, including, back in 2013, to Sherri Lightner, the Democratic councilwoman from La Jolla. On April 10 of that year, then-mayor Filner dispatched a news release announcing that real estate maven Hughes, President & CEO of Hughes Marino, would become a volunteer special assistant for city leases. “The position is voluntary and is expected to continue as long as necessary,” said the release. “I appreciate Jason’s commitment to public service in this advisory role, which he will perform without compensation from any party,” Filner offered.

Jason Hughes knows that politics should never interfere with business.

As it turned out, the timing was remarkable. Seven employees and members of Hughes family each came up with then-maximum $500 contributions for Lightner’s 2012 campaign fund on April 1, days before Filner’s announcement. Another Hughes-related campaign gift came on March 28 from partner David Marino. The April Fool’s Day donors included Hughes, his wife, and children Bailey, Brighton, and Tucker, along with Hughes-Marino general counsel Ryan McCrary and senior vice president Edward Muna, per a May 1, 2013, disclosure filing. Much of the after-election campaign money went to pay off Lightner’s 2012 vendors, including Jennifer Tierney’s Gemini Group.

Then-council president Lightner voted to approve the controversial Ash Street deal in October 2016, arguing the building “has been well maintained” and “is in very good condition,” according to a September 5, 2020, account by La Prensa. The off-the-mark comment might have been more true of the Hughes Marino company’s posh downtown digs. “A dining area and complete kitchen for impromptu gatherings of staff, clients, friends, and family, celebrate the contemporary philosophy of Hughes Marino — one that embraces the union of family values into successful enterprise,” notes a June 2013 profile posted on the Hughes Marino website. “As the steel framework supporting the curved ceiling remains the architectural bones of antiquity, a sense of pride, accomplishment, and solidarity is the framework the Hughes family has built for itself and the company it keeps.” Added the profile: “‘Our core values apply in both business and family,’ Jason Hughes said. ‘They aren’t some secret. It’s really about doing the right thing.’”

Bob Filner: provided appointment and then disappointment.

In September 2012, Hughes’s wife Shay gave Rancho Santa Fe Review a grand tour. “She came up with the original design that is centered on the ‘living room,’ complete with a baby grand piano and big-screen TV that shows family photos of not just the Hughes clan but also of their employees and their families. To one side of the living room is a full kitchen, complete with one Subzero refrigerator with individual lunch boxes for each employee and another that is stocked each Monday with goodies like waffles, oatmeal, and juices. To the rear is a putting green, which gets regular use, and a billiards table. ‘At 5 o’clock every day, someone is playing,’ Shay said. And recently, a new player captured the trophy from the monthly tournament.” After Filner’s fall in a 2013 sexual harassment scandal, Hughes Marino gave the San Diego Republican Party a total of $20,000 in January and May of 2014, state records show. And as of July 2018, Hughes and employees had given the GOP’s Faulconer a total of $23,000.

Gateway to the big bucks

San Diego State University spent $6000 during the first quarter of this year to lobby the state legislature regarding Assembly Bill 940, which would furnish $20 million in mental health services money for state universities. “This bill is sponsored by the California State University, Office of The Chancellor, and it is supported by a number of other groups,” according to an April 21 legislative analysis. “Supporters note the mental health needs of college students are great. Seventy-five percent of all mental health disorders start by age 24, and suicide remains the second leading cause of death for youth ages 15 to 24, taking hundreds of lives every year in California alone.” SDSU’s lobbying money went to JGC Government Relations of Sacramento, per the school’s April 13 disclosure filing.

Run by Jonathan Clay, the son of San Diego State benefactor and retired mega-lobbyist Ben Clay, the firm also works for San Diego County, the San Diego Unified Port District, and Encinitas, among others. The elder Clay funded the Clay Gateway, the giant campus entry edifice at Montezuma Road and Campanile Drive. “This is the entryway to the university, and it needed it, so we were glad to help out,” said Clay to the Union-Tribune during the dedication of the $1.4 million monument in November 2016. Last year, the JGC firm got a total of $48,000 from SDSU, disclosure filings show....Also busy in Sacramento during the first three months of the year was the San Diego Padres baseball club, which forked over a modest $1500 to the lobbying firm Government Advocates regarding “COVID regulations.” The team paid a total of $12,080 to the firm last year, per filings.

— 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/.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

La Jolla’s “Street of Dreams”

Curve along the sea cliffs of Lower Hermosa
Next Article

Sky diving above Otay Mesa, roller blading at Civic Center garage

San Jacinto climbing, glidering above Highway 79, biplane out of Palomar airport, skateboarders at Robb Field, scuba diving off La Jolla
Comments
3

Best gov. money can buy, local, state and fed! One disgusting, crooked cesspool!

July 7, 2021
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
July 11, 2021
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
July 12, 2021

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close