Phyllis Orrick 8:30 a.m., Sept. 21
Did Sanders Order Detective Reprimanded?
New filings in the case of Scott Kessler versus City of San Diego suggest Mayor Jerry Sanders played an even bigger role than earlier reported. On March 3 and March 17, The Reader carried columns about an FBI/police investigation of alleged illegalities by Little Italy powerhouse Marco Li Mandri and felon Paul (Joe) Mannino. Kessler, a City employee who had given information to the investigators, was fired, and Sanders's lieutenants consistently took the side of the politically potent Li Mandri. The district attorney refused to prosecute the case and Sanders generally protected Li Mandri. A Superior Court filing by Kessler March 23 states flatly that Sanders had the police department detective who co-authored the investigation reprimanded. Kessler says he got that information from the FBI investigator. We had earlier reported that Sanders called in the police chief and then later the detective was reprimanded. "We got that information subsequently," says Josh Gruenberg, Kessler's lawyer. Also, the new filing says the mayor played a key role in having Kessler fired. Earlier, we had said that the mayor's office played such a role.
The City has asked the court to throw out the suit. Gruenberg asked for a delay in the hearing on the matter so Sanders could be deposed. But there has been a delay in that. Now the hearing will be July 9. Gruenberg is still hoping to depose the mayor in mid-May.
The city attorney's office asked Kessler to state the damages he has suffered. Kessler has done so, but Gruenberg has no reason to believe the City will settle.