Back to profile

Stories by Don Bauder

SD Junior Theatre teacher going to prison

Pleads guilty to unlawful intercourse with minor girl

Eric von Metzke, a long-time teacher at the San Diego Junior Theatre, was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison. On May 12, he pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a ...

Daughter of ex-Lemon Grove mayor in jail

Caught in historic fentanyl seizure

Anna Sessom Baker, daughter of former Lemon Grove mayor and council member Mary Sessom, is in jail today. Yesterday (June 20),she, along with Jonathan Ibarra and Hector Fernando Garcia, were arraigned and charged with possession ...

Somalian, Nigerian immigrants fleeced

Tax preparers sentenced to prison

Two local tax preparers and the recruiter who brought them victims were sentenced to 30 months in prison yesterday (June 19). Rahim Ali Cummings and Rashad Abdul-Rahim were sentenced for conspiring to commit mail fraud, ...

San Diego attorney James Davis couldn't find Bit Torrent movie thieves

Now he's suing gang that got him into the business

Catching thieves who steal and distribute movies using BitTorrent software is a difficult business. San Diego County attorney James Davis last year sued John and Jane Does that had stolen a movie called Cell. Early ...

Bitter La Jolla divorce burns hotter

Dianne York-Goldman in court for 39th time

One-time La Jolla socialites Dianne York-Goldman and Dr. Mitchel Goldman were divorced in 2009, but the dissonant music lingers on. In October of 2008, Pennsylvania-based Avidas Pharmaceuticals announced a new anti-aging product, Vitaphenol Complex. It ...

San Onofre — another Chernobyl?

Radiation would be 40 times worse

A terrorist attack that could endanger 8.5 million people. Who cares? A tsunami or earthquake that could spread even wider damage. Yawn. A potentially disastrous meltdown. Fuhgeddaboudit. A utility stock that zooms upward, paying fat ...

San Diegans shell out 39.6 percent of income to mortgage

Third-highest percentage of income in U.S.

Buying a home in California coastal metropolitan areas takes twice the percentage of median income as in the United States overall, according to a new study by Zillow, the real estate statistical compiler. In the ...

Judge Curiel gets another tough one

Landlords want ouster of Indian group specializing in peyote, marijuana

On Friday, June 9, another possibly controversial lawsuit landed in the lap of federal Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, who made headlines for his handling of the Trump University case, which ended with President Trump agreeing ...

Did she want to become a U.S. mud wrestler?

She punches agent, faces 8 years in hoosegow

Yesterday (June 8), Jose Camargo-Alejo, who also goes by the name Jessica, an undocumented Mexican, was convicted of assaulting a United States patrol agent. It happened on or about November 30. She was detained at ...

Former Navy commander pleads guilty in Singapore scandal

Kapaun 21st current or ex-Navy official charged in Francis case

Former United States Navy Commander David Kapaun pleaded guilty in Hawaii yesterday (June 6) to lying about his relationship with Leonard G. Francis, the Singapore-based defense contractor at the center of a long-running bribery and ...

Three men pose as Homeland Security officials

Falsely promised to deliver immigration documents

Yesterday, June 7, three individuals — two of them pretending to be Homeland Security officials — were arrested for falsely promising to provide immigration status to individuals. The three allegedly fleeced $6 million from at ...

Safe healthcare investment turned out to be shaky student debt

La Jolla's MWM promised couple eight percent a year

William M. Malloy III, who says his fortune goes back to the early 1800s, has been sued in federal court for his alleged role in a Ponzi scheme that is rocking the state of Oregon. ...

Zapf's husband files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

In 2014 he had been found liable for negligence

On May 12 in bankruptcy court, Eric David Zapf, husband of second district city councilwoman Lorie Zapf, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or liquidation. Lorie Zapf was named as a codebtor. They live at 4622 ...

Prebys's close associates won't surrender to his furious "life partner"

Laurie Anne Victoria hires Gibson Dunn from L.A.

Laurie Anne Victoria, the late Conrad Prebys's long-time second-in-command and chief financial officer who is now chief executive of the firm that made him a billionaire, has hired two top Los Angeles attorneys to battle ...

San Diego Junior Theatre keeps up the Oz-like curtain

Tragicomedy on San Diego stages: Junior Theatre sad, opera happy

A tragicomedy is a stage production that contains both tragedy and comedy. The local stage scene is a bit like that: the San Diego Junior Theatre for youngsters may be foundering close to a tragedy, ...

Surprise! James Y. Lee banned from securities industry

He doesn't show up for hearing; he's in prison.

On May 22, the Securities and Exchange Commission banned James Y. Lee, formerly of La Jolla, from the securities industry. Lee didn't show up for the hearing. One reason: he is in Taft Correctional Institution ...

Prebys foundation president Debra Turner sues other board members

She protests money award to Conrad Prebys's disinherited son

In Superior Court May 17, Debra Turner, who lived with billionaire philanthropist Conrad Prebys for more than 16 years, sued the other board members of the Conrad Prebys Foundation. Turner is president of the foundation, ...

San Diego unemployment rate of 3.8 percent lowest since December of 2006

18,200 more nonfarm jobs since a year ago

The unemployment rate in San Diego County was 3.8 percent in April, down from a revised 4.2 percent in March. According to Emerson Figueroa of the Employment Development Department, the 3.8 percent is the lowest ...

Billionaire Conrad Prebys cut his son out of will

Eric Prebys, noted physicist, blames dad's dementia

Billionaire real estate tycoon Conrad Prebys, who died last July at 82, gave hundreds of millions of dollars to nonprofit groups, but he cut his only child, son Eric Prebys, out of the will two ...

NFL owners’ noses growing while their pants burn

Is Las Vegas a problem? Ha! Gambling supports the NFL

Since its founding in 1920, the National Football League has proclaimed it opposes gambling, but the league was actually launched by gamblers and has been tied to and supported by gambling ever since. The league ...

Singapore slings: numbers 21 and 22 of Navy scandal.

Here at home, engineer pleads guilty to different misbehavior

Neil Peterson and Linda Raja, former executives of Singapore's Glenn Defense Marine Asia, pleaded guilty in federal court today (May 9) to fraud charges, confessing that they submitted phony claims and invoices to the United ...

Tyson Foods knocks some value off Circle Foods

The local company's assets deemed overvalued

Three years ago, Tyson Foods, the big Arkansas food company, purchased San Diego's Circle Foods, which makes foods such as tortillas and India flatbreads that can be cooked quickly in the home. When a company ...

San Diego slowdown is factor in SeaWorld's poor results

Construction of new Orca Encounter took toll, claims company

Orlando-based SeaWorld Entertainment narrowed its first quarter loss, but disappointed analysts' expectations, the company reported today (May 9). The company lost $61.1 million, or 72 cents a share, from $84 million, or $1.00 a share ...

The value of Stanford vs. UCSD

Silicon Valley far ahead of San Diego in every way except biotech

What makes the Silicon Valley economy tick and other California metro areas — San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco — lag behind? One factor is that Silicon Valley recruited engineering talent as a result ...

David Meza killed his boyfriend to get inheritance, including Rosarito condo

Imperial Beach man had pregnant girlfriend who knew about the murder

David Enrique Meza of Imperial Beach was convicted by jury this morning (May 2) of killing his boyfriend to get his inheritance. The lover, Texas retiree Jake Clyde Merendino, was stabbed 24 times exactly two ...

San Diego rated most kid-friendly in U.S.

Playgrounds per capita woo visitors

San Diego is the most child-friendly U.S. city for a family to visit, concludes Reward/Expert, a statistical aggregator that helps travelers negotiate the world of frequent flyer programs and credit card awards. The City of ...

Brouhaha or foofaraw at San Diego Junior Theatre?

Lawyer taking complaint to Mayor Faulconer, city council

A brouhaha is a public clamor over a critical matter. A foofaraw is a clamor over a petty matter. At Balboa Park's Junior Theatre, a group of parents and attendees believe there have been serious ...

NPR, SDSU, UNICEF, and Doctors Without Borders beat back Encinitas attorney

Appeals court says he influenced his sick client.

On April 20, the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, agreed with a lower court decision assailing an Encinitas attorney for making himself the recipient of the fortune of an elderly, mentally ailing client, who ...

U-T using charities to boost circulation

But are advertisers fooled?

The Union-Tribune has a new gimmick to boost circulation -- possibly losing money in the process. The paper is advertising that you can get a one-year Sunday subscription plus all-digital access for a mere $4.68 ...

Appellate court reverses child molest decision

Man in late 60s had been sentenced to 50 years.

On April 20, the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, reversed a lower court decision of alleged 2013 child molestation by John Landis Wismer, then in his late 60s, who was a close friend of ...

In new book, Filner admits his sex addiction, mistakes

"Now I see it wasn't the sex I was after; it was the power."

Former Mayor Bob Filner, who was forced to resign from office after a short stay, has written a self-published book, Trumping Trump: Making Democrats Progressive Again. It is available on Amazon. One irony is that ...

A&D General Contracting and Action Telecom fraudulently got contracts for disabled veterans

Owners of construction and telecom firms arraigned yesterday

Owners of two companies were arraigned in federal court yesterday (April 21) for allegedly using fraud to get contracts of $11 million that had been specifically marked for service-disabled, veteran-owned businesses. Andrew Otero and Roger ...

KOGO Radio financial stock tout arrested in Utah

Jacob Cooper boasted of piety, good deeds

The Securities and Exchange Commission three years ago charged him and his firm, Total Wealth Management, with fraud. The agency said he got kickbacks for touting stocks without divulging the ruse to his clients. Some ...

County unemployment rate stays low

It was 4.2 percent in March, same as February

The San Diego County unemployment rate for March was 4.2 percent, the same as the revised figure for February. California was 5.1 percent and the nation 4.6 percent in the same period. The county gained ...

He didn't pay taxes, then fled before trial

Ramona resident gets 8 1/2 years in slammer

Louis Joseph Vadino of Ramona was sentenced today (April 19) to 102 months in federal prison for evading federal taxes, then vamoosing right before his trial, stashing money in an offshore bank (in Greece), and ...

Tax havens with funny names no laughing matter

Offshore: A cozy place to hide money

At least one good thing may come out of this year’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s alleged Russian ties and last year’s Panama Papers scandal. The public may learn how oodles of money is stashed ...

Swedish businessman used Lucky Lady Casino on El Cajon Blvd. for racketeering

Peter Magnus Karlsson and the shoebox full of cash

Peter Magnus Karlsson, a Swedish businessman, pleaded guilty today (April 13) to engaging in an international racketeering conspiracy using Lucky Lady Casino and Card Room on El Cajon Boulevard between 55th and 56th streets as ...

St. Louis sues Rams and NFL over team's departure

Could San Diego sue? Doubtful. It had its chance.

St. Louis, St. Louis County, and the local Regional Convention and Sports Complex are suing the National Football League, 32 of its teams, and some owners individually over the departure of the Rams to Los ...

Engineers’ group bullish on H-1B reform

Will Issa’s bill pass?

Lots of talk on H-1B visa reform — action doubtful.

Two local stock touts hit by securities commission

Wrote articles for SeekingAlpha.com claiming no payment

San Diegan Craig Keolanui and El Cajon resident Ciaran Thornton have been spanked by the Securities and Exchange Commission for violating anti-fraud and anti-touting provisions of federal securities laws. Both published articles on investment websites ...

The Hedgecocks sue city over Pacific Beach sidewalk slip

Charge: silicone breast implants ruptured

Cynthia Hedgecock and her husband, Roger Hedgecock, former mayor and retired radio talk show host, have sued the city in Superior Court over an accident. The city was served with the suit in November and ...

Supervisor embezzled to go to Super Bowl

Edward Abellana of San Diego's Argen Corp. sentenced to two years in hoosegow

Edward Abellana was accounts payable supervisor from 2011 to 2015 at Argen Corp., a San Diego metals company. He embezzled $1.9 million during the period he was overseeing credit card accounts, according to federal Judge ...

Mayoral whopper: "Hundreds of millions" will be lost if convention center not expanded

They all say the same thing

Mayor Kevin Faulconer sent an email yesterday (April 7) promoting his plan for a ballot measure that would raise tourist taxes to provide money for fixing the streets (long overdue) and expanding the convention center ...

Drugs-for-sex doctor surrenders medical license

Naga Raja Thota sentenced to 30 months in prison

On March 15 of this year, the Medical Board of California announced that Naga Raja Thota had surrendered his medical license. That was hardly surprising, because a week earlier, he had been sentenced to 30 ...

Settlement talks possible in San Onofre lawsuit

Even Edison wonders if nuclear waste should be buried near ocean

There could be settlement talks in a lawsuit protesting the proposed burial of San Onofre nuclear waste 100 feet from the ocean near the shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant. San Diego-based Citizens Oversight sued the ...

Attorney relied on non-attorney at Ford & Weinberg

San Diego's David Q. Meyer gets disbarred for losing control of funds

David Q. Meyer has been disbarred by order of the California Supreme Court, according to State Bar records. Meyer was the escrow agent for an escrow firm named Ford & Weinberg. Meyer agreed to accept ...

Six local accountants, firms disciplined

Accountancy board comes down hard

Six San Diego County accountants and accounting firms have been disciplined by the California Board of Accountancy. The firm of Oliva, Goddard and Wright has been give 20 months of probation. In 2015, the Public ...

Yay! San Diego reservoirs filling up

Aquifer-dependent Borrego Springs doesn’t have much to cheer about

On January 26, San Diego County’s water authority exulted that the drought was over. On March 22, the New York Times wrote, “We have some good news on the California drought.” The huge snowpack in ...

FINRA nails CUSO: debt-laden

Instruments sold to risk-averse seniors

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, best known as FINRA, fined San Diego's CUSO Financial Services $125,000 for selling highly leveraged unit investment trusts to customers, often elderly, who had indicated they had low tolerance for ...

He embezzled $825,000, but gets no prison time

But another who stole $557,000 gets 33 months

On October 4 of last year, Stuart Teshima, former chief financial officer for Epsilon Systems Solutions, confessed to embezzling $825,000 from the defense company over a period of eight years. He was in charge of ...

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!

Close