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Lobbyist deletes Bry-tied anti-short term rental client

Influence peddler run by ex-city councilman Madaffer meets with city's Jay Goldstone

Madaffer said his lobbying contingent met with the city's interim chief operating officer Jay Goldstone (pictured) regarding Deckard.
Madaffer said his lobbying contingent met with the city's interim chief operating officer Jay Goldstone (pictured) regarding Deckard.

One of the shortest lobbying gigs in San Diego city hall's history has ended less than two weeks after it formally began, amidst intrigue about ex-councilwoman Barbara Bry's role in one of her wealthy husband's start-ups.

A March 1 disclosure by Madaffer Enterprises shows the firm deleted Deckard Technologies as a client that day. Madaffer's original February 16 disclosure said the company had begun representing Deckard as of that filing's date.

Jim Madaffer, a former city councilman, said his firm's work for Deckard was of a short-term nature.

As first reported here February 23, the original filing said Maddaffer would be lobbying city officials on Deckard's behalf about "procurement of real estate data analytics for regulatory compliance, public safety, and community equity."

The desired goal was said to be "approval of vendor services by City of San Diego."

Reached by phone after deleting Deckard as a client, Jim Madaffer, a former city councilman and CEO of Madaffer Enterprises, said his firm's work for Deckard was of a short-term nature, including "introducing" company executives to city officials and getting on contracting lists.

Madaffer said his lobbying contingent held just one meeting with the city's interim chief operating officer Jay Goldstone and unidentified staff members regarding Deckard and its system to track illegal short-term rentals. Neither mayor Todd Gloria nor his representatives participated, the lobbyist added.

According to Bry's 2018 economic interest disclosure, filed March 19, 2019, her husband, entrepreneur Neil Senturia, acquired an interest in Deckard in June 2018, reportedly worth between $10,000 and $100,000.

Bry's husband, entrepreneur Neil Senturia, acquired an interest in Deckard in June 2018.

Bry's statement on leaving office, dated January 4 of this year, said Senturia divested himself of the Deckard holding, then valued between $100,000 to $1 million, on Monday, November 2, 2020, the day before she lost her election bid for mayor against fellow Democrat Gloria.

A September 25, 2019 post by GovTech.comidentifying Senturia as a co-founder and CEO of Deckard, paraphrased COO Nick Del Pego's description of the firm and its services.

"The company compiles information from sources such as Zillow, long-term rentals, property sales, MLS (multiple listing service) information, Airbnb and VRBO, then compares it with government records to see if there are gaps or anomalies. He said usually there are, and Deckard's data-as-a-service model gives governments the information without requiring staff to download or familiarize themselves with new software.

Bry's statement on leaving office said Senturia divested himself of the Deckard holding on Monday, November 2, 2020.

"Del Pego added that Rentalscape, particularly, is intended to help city governments keep up with the impact of online services like Airbnb that help citizens commoditize their properties in new ways, sometimes under the radar.

"He said revenue booked through online rental providers like Airbnb and VRBO in the United States in 2018 was close to $20 billion, according to AllTheRooms.com, with which Deckard has a professional relationship. Given an average transient-occupancy tax over 10 percent nationwide, that should have meant about $2 billion in local taxes."

During her single term on the council, Bry was a consistent voice against so-called short-term vacation rentals, though her husband's interest in Deckard was not widely publicized at the time.

She has subsequently lent her support to the current recall effort against former council colleague Jen Campbell, whom Bry has accused of being too easy on short-term rentals.

Before terminating a February 23 phone call in which he spoke for the couple, Senturia declined to provide details about Bry’s role in Deckard and her related city council activities, other than acknowledging she may have held an interest in the company at some point.

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Madaffer said his lobbying contingent met with the city's interim chief operating officer Jay Goldstone (pictured) regarding Deckard.
Madaffer said his lobbying contingent met with the city's interim chief operating officer Jay Goldstone (pictured) regarding Deckard.

One of the shortest lobbying gigs in San Diego city hall's history has ended less than two weeks after it formally began, amidst intrigue about ex-councilwoman Barbara Bry's role in one of her wealthy husband's start-ups.

A March 1 disclosure by Madaffer Enterprises shows the firm deleted Deckard Technologies as a client that day. Madaffer's original February 16 disclosure said the company had begun representing Deckard as of that filing's date.

Jim Madaffer, a former city councilman, said his firm's work for Deckard was of a short-term nature.

As first reported here February 23, the original filing said Maddaffer would be lobbying city officials on Deckard's behalf about "procurement of real estate data analytics for regulatory compliance, public safety, and community equity."

The desired goal was said to be "approval of vendor services by City of San Diego."

Reached by phone after deleting Deckard as a client, Jim Madaffer, a former city councilman and CEO of Madaffer Enterprises, said his firm's work for Deckard was of a short-term nature, including "introducing" company executives to city officials and getting on contracting lists.

Madaffer said his lobbying contingent held just one meeting with the city's interim chief operating officer Jay Goldstone and unidentified staff members regarding Deckard and its system to track illegal short-term rentals. Neither mayor Todd Gloria nor his representatives participated, the lobbyist added.

According to Bry's 2018 economic interest disclosure, filed March 19, 2019, her husband, entrepreneur Neil Senturia, acquired an interest in Deckard in June 2018, reportedly worth between $10,000 and $100,000.

Bry's husband, entrepreneur Neil Senturia, acquired an interest in Deckard in June 2018.

Bry's statement on leaving office, dated January 4 of this year, said Senturia divested himself of the Deckard holding, then valued between $100,000 to $1 million, on Monday, November 2, 2020, the day before she lost her election bid for mayor against fellow Democrat Gloria.

A September 25, 2019 post by GovTech.comidentifying Senturia as a co-founder and CEO of Deckard, paraphrased COO Nick Del Pego's description of the firm and its services.

"The company compiles information from sources such as Zillow, long-term rentals, property sales, MLS (multiple listing service) information, Airbnb and VRBO, then compares it with government records to see if there are gaps or anomalies. He said usually there are, and Deckard's data-as-a-service model gives governments the information without requiring staff to download or familiarize themselves with new software.

Bry's statement on leaving office said Senturia divested himself of the Deckard holding on Monday, November 2, 2020.

"Del Pego added that Rentalscape, particularly, is intended to help city governments keep up with the impact of online services like Airbnb that help citizens commoditize their properties in new ways, sometimes under the radar.

"He said revenue booked through online rental providers like Airbnb and VRBO in the United States in 2018 was close to $20 billion, according to AllTheRooms.com, with which Deckard has a professional relationship. Given an average transient-occupancy tax over 10 percent nationwide, that should have meant about $2 billion in local taxes."

During her single term on the council, Bry was a consistent voice against so-called short-term vacation rentals, though her husband's interest in Deckard was not widely publicized at the time.

She has subsequently lent her support to the current recall effort against former council colleague Jen Campbell, whom Bry has accused of being too easy on short-term rentals.

Before terminating a February 23 phone call in which he spoke for the couple, Senturia declined to provide details about Bry’s role in Deckard and her related city council activities, other than acknowledging she may have held an interest in the company at some point.

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