FBI eyes San Diego mayor; his biggest risk may be perjury rap

Happy 237th birthday, America. No, that is not a reference to “The Shining.” Now, onto the news:

Well, that didn’t take long. Multiple news outlets are reporting that the FBI and/or the U.S. Justice Department is looking at a San Diego scandal in which first-year Mayor Bob Filner’s administration conditioned a permit for a project on the developer’s gift of $100,000 to two of Filner’s pet causes. The U-T San Diego has details:

“Federal agents are asking questions about a $100,000 donation to the city made by a developer seeking San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s approval for revisions to a project in Kearny Mesa.

“FBI officials visited more than one city official this week inquiring about the $100,000 in checks, which Filner said last week he returned to the developer, Sunroad Centrum Partners.

“The money was to go to two Filner pet projects, a veterans memorial in Ocean Beach and a daylong bicycling event. According to a voice mail obtained by U-T Watchdog last week, the developer made a connection between the donations and Filner’s support of an easement for the project at Kearny Villa Road and Lightwave Avenue.”

sergent_schultzFilner’s Sgt. Schultz defense: I know nothing

But the mayor’s defense is that this was all news to him.

“On Friday, Filner told reporters he was unaware that a top-level administrator in his office had accepted the contribution as a consideration for the mayor’s support of the project changes. Filner said he thought it was just a good-faith gesture.

“’I thought they were offering a voluntary donation,’ Filner told reporters.

“The official, deputy chief of staff Allen Jones, is no longer with the city, over unrelated disagreements over Filner’s policies and management style.

“Jones [told the U-T] after Filner’s news conference that the mayor knew full well that the payment was given in consideration for approval of changes to a Kearny Mesa project. Jones said he had recommended the money go to parks in Kearny Mesa and did not know how or why the money changed purposes.”

Robin Hood shtick won’t shield mayor if his testimony is false

Will this scandal bring down Filner? Normally, I’d say no way. His Robin Hood shtick — he’s just pushing/prodding/forcing the rich to do what they should anyways — plays well with a lot of people. It’s especially potent in San Diego — a city where most insiders, including some Republicans, believe that downtown GOP-allied business interests have long had more influence over how City Hall works than one would expect, given the clear dominance of Democrats in voter registration.

But will Filner’s belligerent belief that the rules don’t apply to him come back to haunt him in the federal probe?

The chances seem unusually high. If, under oath, Filner continues to deny awareness of the shady deal with Sunroad, he could be in a world of trouble. Literally no one I have talked to in the five days since the mayor denied knowing about the shakedown believes Filner is telling the truth. It’s not just that he is a “notorious micromanager,” in the words of the Voice of San Diego. It’s that no one in his administration makes a big decision without his OK because they know that if it goes wrong — or even if it hits some minor speed bumps — they will be personally villified. It’s the Filner way.

So get ready for a stormy ride. We’ll see a few weeks of headlines that focus on the fact that the U.S. attorney for the San Diego region should recuse herself because of her past issues with Filner.

‘You don’t get free things’ comments hard to explain away

But sooner or later, Filner will be deposed under oath. And if he says that his aide engaged in a classic Filner maneuver — bullying someone without any leverage or power to stand up for themselves — without his knowledge, well, that could produce a political paroxysm in San Diego.

Last month, when the scandal broke, in an interview with 10 News San Diego, the mayor basically 99 percent admitted the Sunroad permit was a pay-for-play situation:

“When Filner was asked whether he was extorting money from developers, this is what he said: ‘That’s a ridiculous word. What we’re trying to do is make sure that people that get things from the city understand that they also have to give things back. You don’t get free things.'”

So it seems to me that the Sgt. Schultz act will be a hard sell with federal prosecutors. We shall see. But after Filner’s seven months of insanity at San Diego City Hall, what’s happened in recent days sure feels like karma.

“You don’t get free things.” Wow.


Write a comment
  1. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 4 July, 2013, 08:34

    “people that get things from the city understand that they also have to give things back. You don’t get free things.”

    Sounds like a classic political shakedown to me. Maybe Skippy can drop by and give us the Filner spin on this mess if he’s not too busy groveling for the nearest Fascist Overlord.

    Reply this comment
  2. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 4 July, 2013, 09:07

    Why isn’t te FBI and US Attorney looking at the developer, Sunroad????

    Reply this comment
  3. Hondo
    Hondo 4 July, 2013, 09:14

    Filner was right in the 60’s. But power corrupts. Always has. I believe in term limits in public office. Filner has spent too much time in the public gravy train. Because the dems in Kali have absolute power, the abuse will happen. The problem is is that he doesn’t think he is doing anything wrong. It’s what everyone else is doing.

    Reply this comment
  4. Tomkat
    Tomkat 4 July, 2013, 12:20

    I couldn’t stand Filner when he was on the School Board and I like him even less now. He desecrated Bob wilson’s congressional seat and now the mayor’s office. Bring back Pete wilson or Jerry Sanders!!

    Reply this comment
  5. Rick S
    Rick S 4 July, 2013, 12:53

    Someone at Sunroad Centrum Partners should be fired. When you bribe someone with $100,000.00, you better make sure he knows he’s be bribed!

    Reply this comment
  6. Queeg
    Queeg 4 July, 2013, 21:17

    Why do you worry about this stuff?

    CWD throws you a bone….there you go again…

    Frankly…SF and San Diego are both predictably boring!


    Reply this comment
  7. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 5 July, 2013, 10:13

    CWD throws you a bone….there you go again…

    Reply this comment
  8. Ocean Beach VFW Post 1392
    Ocean Beach VFW Post 1392 7 July, 2013, 11:41

    Kevin Faulconer has done grave damage to the Local San Diego Veterans community.

    The OB Planning commission was losing bar money so they pushed the VFW Post away from the Bar district on Newport. when we tried to re-establish the Post else where in OB Kevin Falconer denied us the right to have a Liquor licence which drained our resources. then Kevin Faulconer starting hanging out with The Post Quarter Master and going to lunch with him and the lawyers, and next thing you know our Quarter Master stopped paying the dues and we were dechartered. Now the local Veterans of Point Loma no longer enjoy the support and help we gave each other. Faulkner killed us off for a little bribe money.

    Kevin Falconer has betrayed the San Diego Veterans community which is disgraceful for a Man who never seed his Country in Uniform, yet has received so much.

    Reply this comment
  9. Bill Gore
    Bill Gore 10 July, 2013, 16:26

    It’s beginning to look as if Filner might actually be (gasp): “DIVISIVE”!!
    Remember, that was the cross on which Aguirre was crucified

    Reply this comment

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