Garrett Harris 4 p.m., June 19
Hotel moguls spent $19,000 lobbying in Filner funding war, report says
Same lobbyist used by billionaire Irwin Jacobs for failed Plaza de Panama makeover employed in battle to force mayor to sign Sanders-negotiated deal
Another major San Diego controversy has paid off big for MJE Marketing Services, Inc., the influence peddling firm that was paid in excess of $100,000 during last year's ultimately unsuccessful quest by Qualcomm billionaire Irwin Jacobs to make over Balboa Park to his liking.
According to a first quarter lobbyist disclosure report filed April 12 and posted online by the San Diego city clerk's office, MJE received $19,000 from the San Diego Lodging Industry Association to lobby city hall for "continued support and advancement of the San Diego Tourism and Marketing District."
The CEO of the lodging industry group, according to a report published in February, is Michael Harris McDowell, whose other gigs have included a tenure as executive chef at Remington's in Del Mar and a recent three-year stint as chairman of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, a business lobbying group pushing the attack on Filner.
All the while, McDowell has also been executive vice-president for corporate affairs for Mission Valley based Atlas Hotels, Inc., run by C. Terry Brown, the leader of the legal battle to force Filner to sign off on the promotional funding deal cut last year by Sanders, who was a major beneficiary of the hoteliers political largesse.
According to last week's disclosure, MJE lobbyists Lauren Bogart and Dave Nielsen had contacts with thirteen city officials, including Filner, Democratic city councilman Todd Gloria, a backer of the hotel magnate's cause, and fellow city council Democrat David Alvarez, as well as council aides.
The disclosure also shows that MJE got $3,000 from Verizon Wireless to lobby for approval of "wireless communications services for City of San Diego."
According to a spreadsheet analysis of campaign finance disclosure data posted online by the San Diego city clerk's office, donors identified as employees of MJE have given a total of $3969 to city candidates since 2008.
Nielsen is listed as giving a total of $875, including $250 to GOP city councilman Scott Sherman, the same to Democrat Alvarez, and $375 to Sherri Lightner, also a Democrat.