3 p.m., Dec. 11
Filner rips hotel moguls as secret 8 a.m. lawsuit session looms tomorrow
New court battle possible against Democratic mayor as litigious luxury inn magnates set to meet behind closed doors at 8 a.m. tomorrow to ponder legal moves
Late this afternoon, San Diego mayor Bob Filner issued a statement ripping the city's hotel magnates on the eve of a meeting that may spawn yet another legal war against the Democratic mayor by San Diego's old line GOP tourism establishment:
I have had enough of the whining and complaining from the wealthiest hotels in America. It was only days ago that they submitted a bill! We will issue their money when they hold up their end of the bargain, for example, approving payments to the Balboa Park Centennial.
This idle and baseless threat is beneath them and I urge them to grow up and do business the right way. The City of San Diego will not be held hostage by such antics.
As previously reported, in February the city's top three hotel moguls, C. Terry Brown, Bill Evans, and Richard Bartell teamed up with U-T San Diego publisher, fellow Republican, and luxury hotel magnate Douglas Manchester, to lead a charge against the Democratic mayor in the form of a lawsuit and media campaign to force Filner to sign a lucrative city funding deal negotiated by Republican ex-mayor Jerry Sanders, a major beneficiary of the hoteliers' campaign money.
Besides U-T coverage and editorials, the moguls conducted their own well-funded lobbying effort, as well promoting a city council demonstration engineered by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, a downtown business lobbying group with close ties to Brown.
When the lawsuit failed, the moguls reached an accommodation with Filner, a key part of which was use of some of the fee money to fund the Balboa centennial.
But the truce appears not to have held. The latest turn came late today with a threat by the fee-supported tourism marketing agency to shut its doors because of what it claimed in a U-T San Diego story was a failure by Filner to release its city money.
And now the so-called Tourism Marketing District board, chaired by Brown and which allots the cash collected by the city, appears it may be preparing to sue Filner once again.
This afternoon U-T San Diego ran a statement from Brown:
Unfortunately, the amount of money available for disbursement was less than the mayor wanted and he indicated that he would continue to withhold the tourism funding.
Withholding the funding not only hurts the region's economy and tourism jobs, it also prevents funding of the centennial. Given the situation, the TMD board will consider its options at the Friday board meeting.
According to tomorrow's agenda, the TMD board - which will convene bright and early at 8 o'clock tomorrow morning in the Aviary Room of the Catamaran Hotel, owned by the Evans family - is set to immediately go into secret session at 8:05.
The prime topic listed for discussion: "Conference With Legal Counsel – Initiation of Litigation"