4 p.m., Dec. 5
U.S. investigating $100,000 donation, Channel 10 says
Will it also investigate Sunroad?
Channel 10 has just reported that the U.S. Attorney's office will look into the $100,000 donation made to the City of San Diego in exchange for public land. The TV channel quoted unnamed sources within the Department of Justice. The station's report seemed to indicate that investigators are most interested in the actions of Mayor Bob Filner. But will the U.S. Attorney's office investigate Sunroad? It made the payment.
This whole incident appears to stink, but I suspect it is common, and may well be legal. On June 30 on this blog, I reported how Manchester Financial Group, which is building a luxury hotel in Austin, Texas, in seeking a favorable rezoning agreement from Travis County, agreed to donate $750,000 to one of three nonprofit entities: Waller Creek Conservancy, Austin Parks Foundation, or "another nonprofit entity or organization with a similar mission," according to the county's declaration that recorded the deal. This appeared to be a quid pro quo that was made official in county documents. Since as far as we know none of the money went into Filner's pocket, what is the crime? Some say that under federal law, even if the recipient of quid pro quo money does not pocket it himself or herself, it is still illegal. What we need to know is how common such deals are.