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Chicken lobby still roots for Fletcher

As campaign cash mounts in unusual San Diego mayoral battle, friendships of the past continue to pay off big for former Republican legislator

You might say the chickens have come home to roost for newly minted Democrat and Qualcomm executive Nathan Fletcher.

Or at least some of the money they make for a big poultry processor in the California industrial town of Vernon has.

According to a campaign disclosure report filed yesterday and posted online by the city clerk's office, George V. Saffarrans, chief executive of Rogers Poultry, kicked in the maximum $1000 contribution to the Fletcher cause on Saturday.

When Fletcher was in the state legislature as a Republican Assemblyman, he was among the top twenty poultry and egg industry backed members, according figures posted online by OpenGovernment.Org, getting a total of $10,500 in campaign contributions.

In June 2011, when Fletcher was still in the Assembly and running for mayor here for the first time, Saffarrans gave the Republican’s local campaign fund the then-maximum $500.

Another $1000 Fletcher donor is wealthy La Jollan Norman Blachford, chronicled in a September 1997 Vanity Fair profile of Gianni Versace killer Andrew Cunanan by author Maureen Orth.

Cunanan was last kept with lavish indulgence—in a seaside condominium and a hillside house in La Jolla—by Norman Blachford, a conservative retired millionaire in his 60s who made his fortune on sound-abatement equipment.

Blachford allowed Cunanan time with his friends, reportedly gave him $2,000 a month, and provided him with a 1996 Infiniti I30T to tool around in. They went to Paris and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat in the South of France in June 1996, and they would fly to New York to see Broadway shows.

At Cunanan’s reported urging, Blachford had sold his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, and moved into the La Jolla house once owned by Lincoln Aston, a wealthy, older friend of Cunanan’s who in 1995 had been bludgeoned to death with a stone obelisk. A “mentally troubled loner” whom Aston had picked up was convicted in California for the crime.

Blachford is a member of Gamma Mu, the extremely private fraternity of about 700 very rich, mostly Republican, and often closeted gay men, which twice a year sponsors posh “fly-ins” to cities around the world.

At Gamma Mu’s last Washington, D.C., fly-in, two years ago, members were treated to a private party in the Capitol Rotunda and a brunch on the roof of the Kennedy Center. According to one member, “The annual Starlight Ball in D.C. attracts 250 of the highest echelon of closeted Washington.”

Through Blachford, Cunanan—as Andrew DeSilva—briefly became a Gamma Mu member, and his contacts in the group afforded him access to a storehouse of privileged information.

There are reports that certain members were alerted by the F.B.I. this past June and July to be on the lookout for Cunanan, who was in a position, it was feared, to blackmail them.

Meanwhile, over on the still-Republican side of the aisle, the California GOP still owes U-T San Diego publisher Douglas Manchester $15,000 for a fundraising event held at the real estate and development mogul's Grand del Mar resort in the north part of the city.

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You might say the chickens have come home to roost for newly minted Democrat and Qualcomm executive Nathan Fletcher.

Or at least some of the money they make for a big poultry processor in the California industrial town of Vernon has.

According to a campaign disclosure report filed yesterday and posted online by the city clerk's office, George V. Saffarrans, chief executive of Rogers Poultry, kicked in the maximum $1000 contribution to the Fletcher cause on Saturday.

When Fletcher was in the state legislature as a Republican Assemblyman, he was among the top twenty poultry and egg industry backed members, according figures posted online by OpenGovernment.Org, getting a total of $10,500 in campaign contributions.

In June 2011, when Fletcher was still in the Assembly and running for mayor here for the first time, Saffarrans gave the Republican’s local campaign fund the then-maximum $500.

Another $1000 Fletcher donor is wealthy La Jollan Norman Blachford, chronicled in a September 1997 Vanity Fair profile of Gianni Versace killer Andrew Cunanan by author Maureen Orth.

Cunanan was last kept with lavish indulgence—in a seaside condominium and a hillside house in La Jolla—by Norman Blachford, a conservative retired millionaire in his 60s who made his fortune on sound-abatement equipment.

Blachford allowed Cunanan time with his friends, reportedly gave him $2,000 a month, and provided him with a 1996 Infiniti I30T to tool around in. They went to Paris and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat in the South of France in June 1996, and they would fly to New York to see Broadway shows.

At Cunanan’s reported urging, Blachford had sold his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, and moved into the La Jolla house once owned by Lincoln Aston, a wealthy, older friend of Cunanan’s who in 1995 had been bludgeoned to death with a stone obelisk. A “mentally troubled loner” whom Aston had picked up was convicted in California for the crime.

Blachford is a member of Gamma Mu, the extremely private fraternity of about 700 very rich, mostly Republican, and often closeted gay men, which twice a year sponsors posh “fly-ins” to cities around the world.

At Gamma Mu’s last Washington, D.C., fly-in, two years ago, members were treated to a private party in the Capitol Rotunda and a brunch on the roof of the Kennedy Center. According to one member, “The annual Starlight Ball in D.C. attracts 250 of the highest echelon of closeted Washington.”

Through Blachford, Cunanan—as Andrew DeSilva—briefly became a Gamma Mu member, and his contacts in the group afforded him access to a storehouse of privileged information.

There are reports that certain members were alerted by the F.B.I. this past June and July to be on the lookout for Cunanan, who was in a position, it was feared, to blackmail them.

Meanwhile, over on the still-Republican side of the aisle, the California GOP still owes U-T San Diego publisher Douglas Manchester $15,000 for a fundraising event held at the real estate and development mogul's Grand del Mar resort in the north part of the city.

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