Kessler Case May Be Headed for Settlement

The city attorney is scheduled to brief city council in closed session Monday on Scott Kessler's unlawful termination suit against the City of San Diego. According to rumors, the council may be considering a settlement of the long-running case. If there is a settlement, it could be announced Tuesday. I could not reach Kessler's lawyers.

This case reveals more about San Diego politics than any other recent one. As an employee, Kessler cooperated with an exhaustive study by the police and FBI on possible fraud by Little Italy power broker Marco Li Mandri and his close friend, Joe Mannino. In the 1980s, Mannino was convicted of drug, firearms and racketeering violations and went to prison.

Civic activist Mel Shapiro got more information under the Freedom of Information Act. On the FBI report on Mannino are these initials: OC/DI. Present and former FBI officials say that means "organized crime/ drug investigation." Also on the report were "LCN-Genovese," which, say FBI pros, means La Cosa Nostra, New York's Genovese crime family, one of the nation's largest. Mannino met Li Mandri around 2000. Kessler got fired and believed that his cooperation in the fraud study was the reason. Mayor Sanders was deposed in the case.

Despite the exhaustiveness of the FBI/police study, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis refused to prosecute, and, according to the Sanders deposition, met specifically with Sanders to tell him that she would not prosecute.

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WORKING ON SETTLEMENT: City records indicate that there will be a closed session to discuss the case Monday. I got to Josh Gruenberg, Kessler's lawyer, who won't comment but does say that both parties are working on an agreement. Best, Don Bauder

They have to settle now that the judge will not grant a summary judgment in favor of the city.

If SD goes to trial the odds are it would be a multimillion dolalr judgment, and ff SD appealed and lost that could double. Add in lawyer fees and SD could be looking at a $10 million plus global judgement.

That sounds high, but I believe if it goes to trial the City will take a helluva hit. Best, Don Bauder

OK, here is hwo iut could go-

There was a lawsuit against the Orange County Dept of Social Services over two employees improperly taking two children from her mother. The lawyer was a guy out of San Diego, and the only reason I remember him is because he graduated from that unaccreditied La Mesa law school-Sierra LS.

Anyway, they offered the County $500K to settle, County refused. Trial. $4 million judgment. County appeals to CA district court fo appeal-loses. County appeals to CA Supreme Court-loses. County appeals to US Supreme Court-who refuses to take the case-loses. $4 million turns into $10 million from accruing interest. Add in a few more milion for lawyer fees for the appeals process and it was $12 million.

So the costs on a trial can vary widely and the sjky is the limit, that is why most companies never go to trial, they will be BK if they go to trial and get hit with a whopper liability judgment. The opposite is true of gov and thei agencies/employees, they use OPM, and are not worried abotu goinng out of business.

BTW-the two OC social workers who cost taxpayers $12 million, one retired the other was promoted. Only in government.

That's a good lesson. The City of San Diego did everything in its power to stall the case -- hoping Sanders would get out of office before the day of reckoning. Personally, I would have preferred that this go to trial. Then other media besides the Reader would have been forced to pay attention to this case, and all it reveals about the slime in City government, which other media ignore. Best, Don Bauder

If they settle out of court and pay up that will have to be disclosed, all of it, because it is public funding. All someone needs to do is ask for the info!

I just filed a CA public records act/FOIA request today-the judge I sent this request to has 10 days to cough up the info and if she doesn't I will sue her- and she will lose. But local gov's do this all the time-they think they can do whatever they want to do, and the ones in charge think they are kings in little banana republics. Just look at all the public pension systems in CA-including SD- and their refusal to release the info on pensioners who receive $100K plus pensions.

There have been at least 15 lawsuits, and 4 appeals cases over this info, and the munis lose every singe time, yet they still keep stonewalling until a lawsuit is filed and a court forces them to turn over the info. Very common in Gov to try to with hold public info, until forced to turn it over.

The City may fool you and announce the settlement itself, possibly as early as Tuesday. Don't bet on that, though. Best, Don Bauder

I think the city will settle rather than go to trial. It would be embarrassing for the city to have Sanders in court. The current city attorney is interested in minimizing the city liability. Just look at the $1.9M settlement with the Axon case.

I think the city will settle rather than go to trial. == Yes!....of course that would be the prudent thing to do, and as I said earlier, in the real world this is what would happen 99% of the time, unless there was a super strong case, then you might want to step up to the table and roll the dice.

But you are still rolling the dice, even with a strong case because a jury is unpredictable.

But we are dealing with gov employees here. You are under estimating their stoopidity. Never under estimate the stoopidity, the arrogance nor the ignorance of a gov employee.

Li Mandri is not a government employee, although he works for governments. Mannino is not a government employee. The FBI agent and the police officer who did the excellent report on Li Mandri/Mannino alleged corruption are government employees. Beset, Don Bauder

Kessler is suing the City though, isn't that who the lawsuit is against?

I think a settlement is likely. If it goes to court, the slime becomes public (other than in the Reader). Best, Don Bauder

The city cannot afford any scandals in the news before the mayoral election in 2012. They also have a city attorney who believes that settlement is the way to go.

It's not just the city attorney not wanting this case to get to court. It's also the Sanders administration. Best, Don Bauder

I wouldn't call these perps stupid, but they might be too proud to settle. Sanders is a sociopath certainly, but he seems convinced of his righteousness, ditto Dumanis. I hope that Scott Kessler fights. In the long run the City will save money if this corruption is exposed, even if it costs the taxpayers eight figures.

Sociopaths, devoice of a conscience, generally consider themselves in the right. Best, Don Bauder

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