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The deposition of Mayor Jerry Sanders in the Kessler vs. San Diego suit indicates that District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis had a meeting with Sanders to tell him she would not prosecute the thoroughly-researched case against Little Italy political powerhouse Marco Li Mandri and his associate, felon Paul (Joe) Mannino. After admitting that Dumanis had come to him, Sanders was asked by Josh Gruenberg, Kessler's lawyer, if Sanders had ever heard of a situation in which a district attorney had had a meeting with a mayor to explain why a case wasn't being prosecuted. Replied Sanders, according to the transcript of the Aug. 27 deposition, "I -- I -- I -- I had never heard of it. That doesn't mean it didn't happen." Gruenberg asked who had called the meeting. The mayor said Dumanis called it.

Kessler is suing the City for wrongful termination. He says he was fired because he cooperated with the police and FBI in the investigation of Li Mandri and Mannino.

As previously reported at length in the Reader, a police detective and FBI agent had done an exhaustive study of alleged corruption by Li Mandri and Mannino in a business improvement district. In their depositions, the detective and FBI agent had said "they were shocked that Ms. Dumanis didn't prosecute," said Gruenberg at the Sanders deposition.

Later, the report was distributed to a limited group. Asked Gruenberg to Sanders, "Would it surprise you to learn that you knew of Bonnie Dumanis's decision not to prosecute Li Mandri three months before the report was distributed?" Said Sanders, "I don't -- I don't recall any of that."

In 1980 in New York, Mannino was indicted on drug, firearm and racketeering violations. He was convicted and sent to prison. After getting out, he came to San Diego and became associated with Li Mandri in 2000. Under the Freedom of Information Act, activist Mel Shapiro asked for FBI information on the Mannino case. On the summary page were the letters OC/DI. Former FBI employees say that means "organized crime/drug investigation." There was also this acronym: "LCN - Genovese." Former FBI people say that means La Cosa Nostra -- specifically, New York's huge Genovese crime family.

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 12, 2010 @ 5:30 p.m.

, "I -- I -- I -- I had never heard of it. That doesn't mean it didn't happen."

LOL...KFC Sanders caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

As the the former TOP COP in this City, that slimeball dirtbag should BE ASHAMED of his conduct.

Sanders conduct is a disgrace to the badge, a disgrace to this City and the sooner that bloated whale of a scumbag gets kicked out of office the better for everyone in this City.


Don Bauder Dec. 12, 2010 @ 9:59 p.m.

He is not a bit ashamed of his conduct. Nor is Dumanis. Best, Don Bauder


Founder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 8:13 a.m.

I'm surprised we have not heard from Just Wondering or any of the Police Union Reps saying that they are 100% behind Sanders (no pun intended).

+ If convicted, Sander will be known afterwards as SD's Wrong Mayor instead of SD's Strong Mayor and I'd expect the City's voters to revisit the Strong Mayor concept on the next ballot; in fact I'm surprised that voters are not already talking about that now!


Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 10:10 a.m.

Again, the problem is money. It's all on the side of the strong mayor advocates -- basically, establishment plutocrats who control the mayor. Best, Don Bauder


a2zresource Dec. 12, 2010 @ 11:09 p.m.

Even for the blindly naive, the mayor's testimony here is a smoking gun on the level of self-protection that is business as usual for city and county elected officials.

Actually, it would be rather surprising if Bonnie Dumanis does not end up on the stand under oath if this goes to trial, given her central role in ALL of this.

At least I now know why Dianne Jacob (sitting as an APCD director) had to go around Dumanis and get County Counsel to file suit against SDG&E over the massively-botched asbestos abatement job in the 2000-2001 Encanto Gas Holder demolition. It figures that County Air Pollution Control District was also listed as an investigative agency in UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. SDG&E, but Dumanis' office was never heard from as the guilty verdicts were handed down:



Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 10:13 a.m.

Dumanis would never do anything against SDGE/Sempra. She is owned by that company and the others. Best, Don Bauder


Harmsway Dec. 13, 2010 @ 7:32 a.m.

SurfPuppy 619 is so right on - more than a City disgrace - Sanders and Bonnie-boy need to be prosecuted...BUT WHO is going to do it?


Founder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 8:17 a.m.

Great question, my uneducated guess is that since they were dealing with (no pun intended) State and Federal Money, it would NOT be anyone at the City level for obvious reasons!


Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 10:26 a.m.

Look at CCDC. By blatantly breaking redevelopment law, which was intended to create low-income housing and eliminate blight, it has managed to steer the money downtown for corporate welfare projects that don't help the people and line the pockets of developers, while stealing money from the schools, neighborhoods, infrastructure, and county. Best, Don Bauder


MURPHYJUNK Dec. 13, 2010 @ 11:47 a.m.

maybe they already tried each other privately

and decided if they were innocent or guilty.


Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 2:15 p.m.

I think you have something there, MURPHYJUNK. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 10:22 a.m.

You have just put your finger on San Diego's main problem. The place is corrupt. But the prosecutors who could clean up the corruption are part of it. Anybody who tries to clean up the corruption, such as Aguirre and Donna Frye, gets smeared in the media and run out of office. But this isn't the first corrupt city in which this has happened. Best, Don Bauder


Founder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 8:11 a.m.

I'm very interested in this case and not being a Lawyer, I'm hoping that you and some other Readers that are savvy about the law will continue to share your thoughts about what you think is happening.

I do know something about ReDev. and since all ReDev. money must be accounted for under the Brown Act, I wonder why anyone, especially the FBI or the Housing and Urban Development Inspector (HUDI) would have any trouble getting an accounting of every penny spent and or generated by interest; then as Deep Throat said, "Follow the money"...

The money is only the tip of the iceberg in this case as now it seems that the Mayor and other top Officials knew what was going on and for whatever reason failed the publics trust by not stepping forward... If as you say above, Bonnie Dumanis is also implicated in a "cover up," then I'm now guessing that there will be a very large City $ETTLEMENT to hush things up ASAP!

Were that to happen, I'd have to up my estimate of Kessler's settlement* from 1 million to over 2.5 million dollars, because he will have the City Leaders over a very big barrel + as I said before, When Scott wins, I suggest he ask for the FBI's witness protection plan and reemerge someplace warm and safe before spending one dime!

Question: If the City pays ALL the hush money Kessler asks for, will all of this just be swept under the rug or now that testimony has been given, will that lead to other complaints now being brought forward, in the hopes of getting to the bottom of this debacle, and if so, who at the City and or in the Private Sector will do the "bringing forward"?


Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 10:30 a.m.

The city does want to sweep this under the rug and hope the public forgets. A settlement would be one way to accomplish this. But I do not know that settlement discussions are underway. Best, Don Bauder


Founder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 2:32 p.m.

What's your best guess on the final Settlement figure?

... I'm now thinking a bit over 2 Million Dollars total, with Kessler getting at least a Million...


SurfPuppy619 Dec. 13, 2010 @ 5:10 p.m.

I could see 7 figures with lawyer fees easily.


Founder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 5:32 p.m.

At this time what is your "Sky High" estimate for total award to Kessler

How high can it go?

If the Mayor and the City is really in this Deep, what amount is totally too much?

Sort of guess the amount for bragging rights...


SurfPuppy619 Dec. 13, 2010 @ 6:43 p.m.

Good question. Depends on a number of factors.

1) How much was Kessler being comped?? 6 figures probably. 2) Was Kessler able to find a similar job?? 3) How old is Kessler-how many working years does he have left?? Depending on how many working years he had left in his life and if he could not find a new job that had similar comp-then those amounts can be calculated. Next would be if other damages can be added in-like punitive damages. If Sanders et al acted with malice-intentionally tried to harm Kessler (and it sure loosk like it), that could open the door to punitive damages-damages intended to teach the defendant a lesson. It could be multi millions if those factors are present.


Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 10:27 p.m.

Much depends on how badly the case reflects on the mayor and on his aides (one of whom, Kris Michell, is leaving.) Best, Don Bauder


Founder Dec. 14, 2010 @ 7:28 a.m.

As we have intuit'd before this is probably the first of several high level City employees that will choose to leave a GRAVY job in the middle of a record shattering unemployment period, to "escape" being around when the axe falls or worse, having to reluctantly testify in what is becoming a MAJOR case...

I've always thought that if those close to the Mayor start to leave then that is yet another BIG sign that Kessler will get an enormous settlement!


Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 10:18 p.m.

I just don't know a likely figure. As I have said, I have no knowledge that settlement negotiations are underway. Best, Don Bauder


MURPHYJUNK Dec. 15, 2010 @ 9:27 a.m.

the way things seem to work, to get media coverage ( the attention of the general public) the situation would have to involve some lurid sexual content ( aka the Acorn fiasco )

and not the screwing the tax payers are getting


MURPHYJUNK Dec. 13, 2010 @ 11:42 a.m.

"a police detective and FBI agent had done an exhaustive study of alleged corruption "

How much tax payer money down the toilet for this?

is Dumanis cowed by the little italy crowd, or in on their schemes ?


Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 2:17 p.m.

In my opinion, she knew that prosecuting the case would be highly embarrassing to Sanders. She also didn't want to ruffle feathers in the Little Italy community. Best, Don Bauder


Founder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 2:28 p.m.

If that is indeed the case, then one could make a good case that our City legal system is like a bully, pushing its weight around to threatening all the small fry while staying far away from anyone that might have some clout and or is connected!


SurfPuppy619 Dec. 13, 2010 @ 4:37 p.m.

If that is indeed the case, then one could make a good case that our City legal system is like a bully, pushing its weight around to threatening all the small fry while staying far away from anyone that might have some clout and or is connected!


You nailed it Founder- a PERFECT description of what our legal system has basically turned into.

No average person can afford to engage in our legal system for a legitimate dispute.

85% of ALL people charged with crimes get represented by the public defender. That says the system is broken, or only poor people commit crimes.

In fact our entire country (where the wealth now concentrated in the top 1/10 of the top 1%) looks identical to a Banana Republic.


Founder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 5:36 p.m.

Yes, our "Legal System" for most folks is now the "Small Claims Court"...


SurfPuppy619 Dec. 13, 2010 @ 6:36 p.m.


I will say "Small Claims Court" is usually a very good place to solve legal disputes, a good solid alternative 95% of the time. Fast, cheap and usually the judges (commissioners) are on the mark.

The two things I hate about "Small Claims Court" is that 1) the Plainitff is bound by the decision, cannot appeal-which would be fine if that also applied to the defendant, BUT the defendant gets top APPEAL any loss to the Superior Court for an entirely new trial. That is one big flaw IMO.

And 2) in "Small Claims Court" they limit you to $7,500. Used to be $5K a few years ago. That is too low. I would raise it to $25K.


a2zresource Dec. 13, 2010 @ 9:13 p.m.

If it were $750K, then someone might actually see justice for a botched foreclosure and the subsequent humiliation of forced eviction?


Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 10:25 p.m.

Good ideas on Small Claims Court, SP. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 10:30 p.m.

I don't foresee much justice for victims of botched foreclosures and forced evictions. Remember, the government is on the side of the banks -- another sign of a banana republic. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Dec. 14, 2010 @ 7:47 a.m.

The government certainly took big chunks of major banks to bail them out, although these positions are diminishing, supposedly. Best, Don Bauder


MURPHYJUNK Dec. 14, 2010 @ 8:39 a.m.

At least we don't need a pound of bills ($) to buy a pound of bread ( yet)

think of rhodesia as a true banana republic that got out of control.


Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 10:24 p.m.

There is some truth to that. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 10:22 p.m.

You are correct on both points: the concentration of wealth and income in the upper 1% smacks of a banana republic, and our legal system is friendly to the upper 1%-2% and generally hostile or frigid to the rest, but not always. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2010 @ 10:16 p.m.

C'mon Founder, you are not just figuring that out now. You've known that for a long time -- just as the rest of us have. The small fry get fried, the big fish aren't even pursued. Best, Don Bauder


Founder Dec. 14, 2010 @ 7:38 a.m.

Yes as any Flounder knows, the BIG fish eat lots of the tiny fish but once in a while the BIG fish learn they are surrounded by Giant Predators themselves...

Mayor, Kessler and East Coast Family, FBI & HUD

Remember the line from Apocalypse Now: "Don't get out of the boat"...



Don Bauder Dec. 14, 2010 @ 7:50 a.m.

I do think that there are many in city government who realize that the Kessler case could hurt some reputations. Best, Don Bauder


Founder Dec. 14, 2010 @ 8:32 a.m.

I think City insiders are worried about much more than their reputations getting hurt, if this case runs its course, but time will tell...


Don Bauder Dec. 14, 2010 @ 11:41 a.m.

I guess I was being euphemistic when I used the word "reputations." However, these city employees will NOT get what they deserve, because the justice system in San Diego preserves the corruption. Best, Don Bauder


Founder Dec. 14, 2010 @ 2:56 p.m.

I was not referring to the SD Legal system since there are other more powerful groups potentially affected by Kessler's and other employee's testimony!


Founder Dec. 14, 2010 @ 10:45 a.m.

For all those that are "JUST" discovering this topic, here in order, are the great blog that lead up to this post: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...

A bit more:

A short one with some links to Kessler's Suit & Court Doc.'s:


Don Bauder Dec. 14, 2010 @ 11:52 a.m.

You missed the first and most important column: "Too Much Conflict, Too Much Interest," March 3, 2010. With this column, the Reader posted the entire study by the FBI and police detective, as well as Kessler's entire suit. Those posts are still up. Go to the Reader Search box and put in "li mandri" + "bauder" and you should get most if not all of the columns and blog items on this topic. Best, Don Bauder


a2zresource Dec. 14, 2010 @ 1:04 p.m.

... and for those of us who want a direct link and want it NOW...


Don Bauder Dec. 14, 2010 @ 9:56 p.m.

Might as well start at the beginning. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Dec. 14, 2010 @ 9:55 p.m.

That's the first on, which linked to the Kessler suit and the FBI/police study of Li Mandri/Mannino. Best, Don Bauder


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