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Julian and Tierrasanta under scrutiny

L.A. Times plant to get soundstages

A rendering of the proposed redevelopment of the Los Angeles Times printing plant Credit Atlas Capital Group.
A rendering of the proposed redevelopment of the Los Angeles Times printing plant Credit Atlas Capital Group.

Refund check’s in the mail

County auditors have not let the Covid-19 pandemic deter them from rooting out a bevy of “unallowable expenses” by non-profit groups awarded taxpayer cash by county supervisors through the so-called Neighborhood Reinvestment and Community Support programs. “During the review of the grant expenditures,” says a recently released report dated February 1, staffers for the county’s office of Auditor and Controller combed through the files of the Julian Chamber of Commerce, which got $120,000 during the county’s 2019 fiscal year.

Auditors found that “the organization submitted multiple expenses not allowed under the Grant Agreement,” including “expenses outside the grant period,” and workers who got cash “without invoices, receipts, reimbursement forms, or signatures of appropriate authorities.” The chamber “did not include a copy of detailed invoices or receipts for 23 of 40 expenditures reviewed,” according to the report, and “submitted payments to performers without a contract, invoice or affidavit documenting the money received.”

Julian Chamber of Commerce missing info.

Similarly, the Tierrasanta Foundation, which got $12,000 during the same period, “submitted multiple expenses not allowed under the grant agreement.” The report recommended that county officials “perform a detailed review of the Julian Chamber of Commerce and Tierrasanta Foundation files for unallowable expenses to determine the total expenses not allowed under the grant agreement and pursue the recovery of the funds.”

Julian’s Chamber became famous in March of last year by telling outsiders to keep away. “With our being in close proximity to San Diego and other major urban population centers, we know that Julian seems like an attractive place to practice social distancing in the outdoors,” said a statement cited by the Union-Tribune. “We also fully understand the inclination to seek escape in the outdoors during difficult times, the reality is that doing so right now risks the lives of our residents and puts undue strain on our limited services.” In the matter of the Tierrasanta Foundation, says a January 29 memo from Brian Hagerty, director of the county’s Office of Financial Planning to Chief of Audits Juan Perez, “The organization was contacted regarding these unallowable expenses and indicated a plan to write a check back to the County for the difference on January 27, 2021.” Per its website, the foundation’s mission “is to promote the general welfare and interests of Tierrasanta through various community events that benefit the well being and quality of life for all Tierrasantans.”

As for the Julian Chamber, “most of the organization’s expenditure documents were deemed eligible, and the organization indicated its intent to work with the County to resolve the [remaining] issues,” wrote Hagerty.

U-T’s LA printing plant goes Hollywood

Presses aren’t the only things spinning at the Los Angeles Times, judging by the paper’s recent account of its printing complex, which also produces the San Diego Union-Tribune for daily trucking south to the border city. “The Times’ landlord, Atlas Capital Group, said it would file a proposal with the city Wednesday to build soundstages on parking lots around the plant on Olympic Boulevard as the Times continues to print papers there,” the business section of the Times reported May 19. “If the city approves the $650-million project, a second phase of development would eventually convert the cavernous 1980s-era building where printing presses now roll daily into soundstages after the Times departs.” The story added, “The Times said its lease on the printing facility may be extended for years, however.” Well, maybe. What Times spokeswoman Hillary Manning actually said, as quoted in the piece, was, “We have the opportunity to remain in that location without any disruption to our operations well into the future.” The current lease on the property lasts until “the end of 2023,” but “the Times has the option to renew its lease at prevailing market rates for at least a decade, according to a real estate expert familiar with the terms,” said the story, not explaining the need to employ an unnamed source. In the meantime, landlord Atlas Capital plans to keep busy in the parking lot. “The buildings would include six soundstages, a mill shop for scenery and prop design, and the garage — all built first to minimize disruption of printing operations,” said the Times story. “Longer term,” the plant itself, “which has high ceilings and is largely free of support columns... would be redeveloped into 11 soundstages, production support, executive offices, a full-service restaurant with an outdoor patio, a commissary, a café, and a fitness center.” Whether the Times and San Diego’s U-T would still exist in the realm of print is left unsaid. The U-T’s San Diego printing plant in Mission Valley, which shut down in June 2015 after the paper’s sale by Doug Manchester to Tribune Publishing sans headquarters and presses, is now part of a redeveloped office complex.

— 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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A rendering of the proposed redevelopment of the Los Angeles Times printing plant Credit Atlas Capital Group.
A rendering of the proposed redevelopment of the Los Angeles Times printing plant Credit Atlas Capital Group.

Refund check’s in the mail

County auditors have not let the Covid-19 pandemic deter them from rooting out a bevy of “unallowable expenses” by non-profit groups awarded taxpayer cash by county supervisors through the so-called Neighborhood Reinvestment and Community Support programs. “During the review of the grant expenditures,” says a recently released report dated February 1, staffers for the county’s office of Auditor and Controller combed through the files of the Julian Chamber of Commerce, which got $120,000 during the county’s 2019 fiscal year.

Auditors found that “the organization submitted multiple expenses not allowed under the Grant Agreement,” including “expenses outside the grant period,” and workers who got cash “without invoices, receipts, reimbursement forms, or signatures of appropriate authorities.” The chamber “did not include a copy of detailed invoices or receipts for 23 of 40 expenditures reviewed,” according to the report, and “submitted payments to performers without a contract, invoice or affidavit documenting the money received.”

Julian Chamber of Commerce missing info.

Similarly, the Tierrasanta Foundation, which got $12,000 during the same period, “submitted multiple expenses not allowed under the grant agreement.” The report recommended that county officials “perform a detailed review of the Julian Chamber of Commerce and Tierrasanta Foundation files for unallowable expenses to determine the total expenses not allowed under the grant agreement and pursue the recovery of the funds.”

Julian’s Chamber became famous in March of last year by telling outsiders to keep away. “With our being in close proximity to San Diego and other major urban population centers, we know that Julian seems like an attractive place to practice social distancing in the outdoors,” said a statement cited by the Union-Tribune. “We also fully understand the inclination to seek escape in the outdoors during difficult times, the reality is that doing so right now risks the lives of our residents and puts undue strain on our limited services.” In the matter of the Tierrasanta Foundation, says a January 29 memo from Brian Hagerty, director of the county’s Office of Financial Planning to Chief of Audits Juan Perez, “The organization was contacted regarding these unallowable expenses and indicated a plan to write a check back to the County for the difference on January 27, 2021.” Per its website, the foundation’s mission “is to promote the general welfare and interests of Tierrasanta through various community events that benefit the well being and quality of life for all Tierrasantans.”

As for the Julian Chamber, “most of the organization’s expenditure documents were deemed eligible, and the organization indicated its intent to work with the County to resolve the [remaining] issues,” wrote Hagerty.

U-T’s LA printing plant goes Hollywood

Presses aren’t the only things spinning at the Los Angeles Times, judging by the paper’s recent account of its printing complex, which also produces the San Diego Union-Tribune for daily trucking south to the border city. “The Times’ landlord, Atlas Capital Group, said it would file a proposal with the city Wednesday to build soundstages on parking lots around the plant on Olympic Boulevard as the Times continues to print papers there,” the business section of the Times reported May 19. “If the city approves the $650-million project, a second phase of development would eventually convert the cavernous 1980s-era building where printing presses now roll daily into soundstages after the Times departs.” The story added, “The Times said its lease on the printing facility may be extended for years, however.” Well, maybe. What Times spokeswoman Hillary Manning actually said, as quoted in the piece, was, “We have the opportunity to remain in that location without any disruption to our operations well into the future.” The current lease on the property lasts until “the end of 2023,” but “the Times has the option to renew its lease at prevailing market rates for at least a decade, according to a real estate expert familiar with the terms,” said the story, not explaining the need to employ an unnamed source. In the meantime, landlord Atlas Capital plans to keep busy in the parking lot. “The buildings would include six soundstages, a mill shop for scenery and prop design, and the garage — all built first to minimize disruption of printing operations,” said the Times story. “Longer term,” the plant itself, “which has high ceilings and is largely free of support columns... would be redeveloped into 11 soundstages, production support, executive offices, a full-service restaurant with an outdoor patio, a commissary, a café, and a fitness center.” Whether the Times and San Diego’s U-T would still exist in the realm of print is left unsaid. The U-T’s San Diego printing plant in Mission Valley, which shut down in June 2015 after the paper’s sale by Doug Manchester to Tribune Publishing sans headquarters and presses, is now part of a redeveloped office complex.

— 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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