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Stories by Matt Potter

Trump’s Bahamas ambassador-designate escapes judgement

Manchester and his proto-bank dodge bad debt

Awaiting Senate confirmation as the nation's next ambassador to the Bahamas, known for its tax-sheltering proclivities, Doug Manchester, ex-publisher of the Union-Tribune and million-dollar donor to president Donald Trump's January inaugural festivities, can boast a ...

Feeding staffers’ faces

$2,897 of prohibited purchases

Employees of the San Diego Unified School District have been improperly dipping into student funds for personal food money, says a June 1 report to superintendent Cindy Marten from Gamy Rayburn, the district’s interim chief ...

Nonprofits go after Faulconer SoccerCity plan

San Diego City Schools staff dips into student funds for meals and snacks

San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, whose hopes for statewide office took a big hit from this month’s city-council rejection of his plan for a hurry-up $5 million November special election on SoccerCity and a hotel ...

SDSU’s very own bulldozer city?

State university system’s uncannily-timed call for real estate talent

Just as the San Diego city council was disposing of the controversial SoccerCity development in Mission Valley on Monday, June 20, the California State University system, proprietor of San Diego State, issued a call for ...

Punting the mayoral Puetz

Ex-trash lobbyist and major donor is mayor’s new staff chief

Confirming word first reported here May 30, Stephen Puetz, controversial chief of staff to San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, is departing his job at city hall for a gig with Missouri-based political consultant Axiom Strategies. ...

Genetically speaking

Union-Tribune gives Craig Venter a pass

La Jolla’s Craig Venter, the genomic giant who gets regular positive write-ups in his hometown Union-Tribune, was spared mention in the paper when it was announced two weeks ago that his Human Longevity, Inc. was ...

The janitor did it

The P-Cards do not have p-documentation

Disappearing ink on thermal vanishing paper and a clueless janitor have been blamed for missing records at the San Diego Unified School District that a recent audit says could represent only the tip of a ...

Stem cell research program out of funds in three years

PR’s miracle cure

California’s taxpayer-funded $3 billion stem cell research program, officially known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, is spending money at the rate of $22,000 an hour, and expected to run out of cash in ...

Does mayor's big money game verge on a crime?

Trading public money for council votes could void SoccerCity deal

Kevin Faulconer has ripped the cover of gentility from the obscure practice of tax-fueled mayoral favor-giving in exchange for city council votes, employed over the years to boost the political careers of council members, including ...

SoccerCity backers go off the charts, both ways

Aussie stock plunges as Mission Valley play grows

As intrigue grows at San Diego city hall regarding backdoor wheeling and dealing of Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer and members of the San Diego city council over the timing of the so-called SoccerCity ballot measure ...

E-cigs sail in from China

Smoking fiends

So-called e-cigarettes have been increasingly making their way into San Diego from foreign ports, according to a May 24 audit by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, raising possible dangers for unwary users. “E-cigarette liquid — ...

Queen of the double-dippers

Roush collects from San Diego State University

As a retiree, San Diego State University’s former vice president of business and financial affairs Sally Roush has done well by the taxpayer-funded state university system. After stepping down from her $301,957 a year position ...

Mike and Nick’s Aussie adventure

Stones’ stock slipping

The jury is still out on the ultimate fate of La Jolla hedge-fund maven Mike Stone’s attempt to wrest Qualcomm Stadium and its acreage away from public ownership, but the stock price of another of ...

SoccerCity's open special influence money frenzy

With D.A. looking other way, pre-city council vote fundraising surges

As a city council vote draws nigh for getting taxpayers to fund a $5 million special November election sought by the city's hotel moguls and backers of SoccerCity — a plan to privatize a big ...

San Diego Chamber dinged for Robert Hickey donation

Plus Luiseno Indians not allowed to repair roads

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce has agreed to fork over a $5000 penalty to settle charges by the city’s ethics commission that it failed to report big money spent on a befuddling political ...

Steve Puetz and Jason Roe are busy guys

Used by Chamber of Commerce, local GOP, and other councilmembers

With the approach of a city-council vote on whether to stage a $5 million special election this coming November for SoccerCity developers and mayor Kevin Faulconer’s hotel-tax hike, his honor’s top political brains are said ...

Russians welcome in San Diego

Take them to your child’s sporting event

With Washington abuzz over charges that Russian agents mucked about in American politics during last year’s presidential election, the San Diego Diplomacy Council is going straight to the horse’s mouth for another take on the ...

Cole solicits 2018 cash before SoccerCity vote

4th District councilwoman Myrtle Cole throws big-money street taco bash

With fingers pointing to inside wheeling and dealing between Republican San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer and a group of La Jolla hedge fund mavens promoting the transfer of Qualcomm Stadium to themselves for a massive ...

Political locavores

Sometimes you can get a free meal

San Diego–based Sempra Energy, whose corps of lobbyists regularly hand out food-and-drink freebies to California legislators and their staffers, took a bit of a break during the first three months of this year, spending just ...

Dayanara’s diary

Join key staffers from the House and Senate!

Washington’s always-on political intrigue may have its peculiar charms, but last month ranking aides for San Diego House members Darrell Issa of the GOP and Democrat Juan Vargas took off for the 24-hour bright lights ...

Bipartisan plunder

Campaign spending in Las Vegas

Congressman Duncan Hunter continues to grapple with a series of Union-Tribune exposés regarding the propriety of his campaign spending in Las Vegas, including an $896 January 11 tab at the Cosmopolitan Hotel’s main bar, “where ...

Brown Act shadows Faulconer's plan for November election and run for governor

The mayor's inner Soccer City sanctum and Summer Stephan's courtship of county supes

A tsunami of political cash — driven by two measures that appear headed for a special election in November — has grown even bigger, thanks to $250,000 from Fifth Avenue Landing, LLC, the partnership battling ...

Let them eat stadium secrets

Anaheim Ducks' Samueli lurks in city hall shadows

Housing prices spiral ever upwards and city streets are overwhelmed by unsheltered vagrants, but big money sports venues craved by the politically-connected super-rich continue to dominate the covert agenda at San Diego's city hall. Of ...

The doctor is late

UCSD travel and entertainment reimbursements not always submitted in a timely manner

Travel and entertainment spending by the department of surgery at UCSD billed to so-called Express Cards handed out to employees for official spending has caught the attention of California state auditors, resulting in the implementation ...

Bold-faced retirement

Bill Bold succeeded by Nate Tibbits

La Jolla public affairs honcho Bill Bold, long the chief strategist of Qualcomm’s efforts to increase the number of so-called H-1B visas to allow more foreign nationals into the country to perform engineering work for ...

Voice of eliminations

Seeking a new six-figure executive

As San Diego’s layoff-shrunken corps of reporters continues missing in action on big political stories of late, a local nonprofit, donor-backed news-and-opinion website has gone up on LinkedIn, seeking a new six-figure executive in charge ...

SoccerCity friend Dene Oliver provides Pt. Loma house for Faulconer chief of staff's wedding

Mike Stone's influence outweighs Sudberry, Fenton, and Manchester

The bomb bay doors of San Diego politics have opened on FS Investors and Mike Stone, the former Wall Street hedge fund maven seeking to grab Qualcomm Stadium, with collateral damage for the higher-office ambitions ...

Anybody but General Atomics

Spurned by Linden Blue, Trump goes off on high-tech military vendor

Mega-millionaire La Jollan Linden Blue, co-owner of General Atomics, has long been a loyal Republican donor, kicking in hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to support party politicos from would-be San Diego GOP ...

Not so forest-friendly

Toni Atkins and multitudinous dollars of special interests

State senator Toni Atkins had plenty of food, drink, and travel in 2016, thanks to the multitudinous dollars of special interests. Her personal financial report filed for last year shows she received greater than $100,000 ...

Zapf zaps term limit

Redistricting may mean a third time on city council

Republican San Diego city councilwoman Lorie Zapf was first elected in 2010 to represent District 6. She was reelected in June 2014 from District 2 after her house ended up there as a result of ...

Manchester's Pacific Gateway featured in pitch selling visas to the rich

Chinese would get EB-5 green cards for the downtown San Diego project

It's been a decade-long slog for mega-millionaire developer and onetime Union-Tribune publisher Doug Manchester's controversial Navy Broadway complex at the foot of Broadway. Project foes vowed that it would never get built, citing its forbidding ...

Million-dollar campaign talk marks D.A. battle

Dark Dumanis successor plan gets Democrats’ goat

The widely expected coronation of Rancho Santa Fe Republican Summer Stephan as the county's next district attorney, courtesy of the GOP board of supervisors, is rapidly approaching. Meanwhile, the most recently elected member of the ...

Ex-con’s party

Nathan Fletcher keeps ramping up

Ex-Republican assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who turned independent and then Democrat while placing third in two bids to become San Diego’s mayor, continues to ramp up an apparent try for the county supervisor’s seat being vacated ...

Summer’s Roe boat

Conflict-of-interest questions arise

With what some are referring to as the pending anointment of Summer Stephan as successor to Republican district attorney Bonnie Dumanis comes conflict-of-interest questions involving at least one member of the county board of supervisors. ...

Swimming in Copley cash

Slurped up by managers of his foundation

The salary of Dean Dwyer, chief executive of the David C. Copley Foundation, has been holding steady, from $228,960, plus benefits of $29,629 in 2014, to $230,000 in pay and $29,677 in benefits as of ...

University City massacre done by developer family donor

Vikings-owning Wilf clan caught up in luxury apartment bloodbath

They are the crème de crème of San Diego business and political society, giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to both Democrats and Republicans, and in turn receiving development permits for hundreds of upscale apartment ...

UCSD refuses to reveal Padres medical discounts

University spurns records act request for high-dollar sponsor data.

The San Diego Padres, perennial laggards on the playing field, are getting millions of dollars in cash and a secretive deal for discounted medical care from UCSD as part of a costly endorsement and promotional ...

No comments, please, we’re SDSU

Opinionated viewers are invited to use Twitter and Facebook

San Diego State University’s KPBS broadcasting operation is suddenly slamming the door on website comments, some of which have questioned the political direction of the station whose newsroom is named after billionaire Democrat contributor Irwin ...

The push for a U-T advisory board that isn’t one-sided

Guided by values

Back in July 2011, after Beverly Hills vulture capitalist Tom Gores bought the Union-Tribune from an ailing David Copley, ending decades of local ownership, the paper’s new editor Jeff Light announced he had come up ...

Homies behind in Qualcomm Stadium cash war

But SoccerCity foes putting up major money as signatures arrive.

The battle between a Wall Street hedge fund multimillionaire from La Jolla and two old-line developers over the destiny of Qualcomm Stadium is looking more formidable than ever. On Thursday April 13, a political committee ...

Mother’s milk

Former San Diego city manager Jack McGrory gets honorary degree

Former San Diego city manager Jack McGrory, controversial for his role in the costly downtown Padres stadium project on behalf of mega-millionaire John Moores and later a big-time real estate developer in his own right, ...

Mission Valley green

Big money wants the Qualcomm Stadium site

The ongoing battle over whether to turn over the 165-acre, publicly owned Qualcomm Stadium site to a group of La Jolla hedge-fund managers seeking to develop a soccer stadium and commercial complex has been very ...

Qualcomm gave $1 million to Trump inaugural

Free-trading chip giant and Doug Manchester made seven-figure contributions

San Diego’s Qualcomm, Inc., cofounded by La Jolla Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs, has lobbied long and hard to greatly increase so-called H-1B visas, the entry permits issued by the federal government, allowing lower-wage foreign engineers ...

Real job, fake news

Can you disseminate information to the media?

The City of San Diego’s communications department, already chock full of public relations hands speaking favorably of Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer (himself an ex-PR man), is looking for more of the same. The new employees, ...

U.S. audit rebukes improper UCSD spending

Costly Apple picking and post-dated five figure trip claims

Last-minute purchases of high-end Apple computers and a host of other questioned expenses has gotten UCSD into hot water with auditors for the National Science Foundation's office of Inspector General, who have called out the ...

Deep state GOP justice?

D.A. hopeful's husband, a federal judge, axed personal belief exemption

Some are calling it the deep state of San Diego Republican justice. A plan by incumbent District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to step aside in favor of her chief deputy Summer Stephan is accompanied by what ...

High-dollar Democrats

General Motors tapped for cash

San Diego City Council Democrat David Alvarez, who has already set up a campaign fundraising apparatus for a shot at the District One county supervisor’s vacancy opening in 2020, has tapped behemoth carmaker General Motors ...

Little San Diego intelligence

Calling all spies!

There’s a dearth of professional online spies at San Diego’s so-called fusion center, the costly, high-security law-enforcement complex set up in Kearny Mesa by the federal government to combat terrorism by sharing super-secret data between ...

Mr. Issa goes to Hollywood

And Bill Maher pays for it

North County congressman Darrell Issa made news when he appeared on liberal Bill Maher’s HBO talk show in late February, calling for a special prosecutor to investigate Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election. “We ...

Fisher bids adieu to $1.2 million annual compensation

SDSU basketball coach dictated school’s head coach-in-waiting

Given last month's abrupt demise of Balboa Park's Hall of Champions, retiring San Diego State University head basketball coach Steve Fisher will have to settle for the virtual Valhalla of the heart that the city's ...

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