San Diego Details are sketchy so far, but word has it that the latest Pentagon sex scandal has a distinctly San Diego tinge. Fifty-four-year-old Rear Admiral John T. Scudi, whose title was director of shore installation management and privatization programs, was relieved of those duties in August after it was alleged he'd had a long-standing sexual affair with a government contractor. According to published reports, the contractor agreed to testify against Scudi after she found out that the married one-star admiral had been two-timing with yet another woman, a civilian employed by the Navy. It's alleged that Scudi steered at least $150,000 of Navy training contracts without competitive bids to the first lover and gave her inside dope on upcoming Navy work. Now the San Diego angle: Scudi spent several years stationed here, and some of the allegedly shady contracts were awarded during that time. Stay tuned. The identity of the alleged paramour has yet to be revealed but is rumored to be a local blockbuster ... Tony Curtis, the venerable, much-married star of Some Like It Hot, recently tied the knot in Vegas with Jill Ann Vandenberg, 27, a statuesque blonde horse trainer who ran Briarwood Riding Academy in San Diego's backcountry. None was prouder than Vandenberg's papa, Alpine physician David L. Vandenberg, who, at age 56, is exactly 17 years younger than his new son-in-law. Reached by phone and asked about the age differential, the doctor said, "I don't like that slant," and hung up.
A one-time San Diego stock trader will have to fork over $3.9 million in restitution for his role in bribing a deputy Oklahoma state treasurer. That's what a federal appeals court ruled in the long-running case of Joseph Patrick Kuhse, who, while working for Planners Independent Management in Rancho Bernardo, fleeced Oklahoma taxpayers of $7 million in 1993. After he was indicted, Kuhse fled his house in Scripps Ranch and went to Central America. He later turned himself in to the FBI, pled guilty, and got six years in prison. Kuhse argued that he would never be able to earn enough to pay restitution, but the court said he could find "gainful employment" after he got out of the pen ... That controversial San Diego-based charity, Help Hospitalized Veterans, has picked up another round of bad publicity. This time, South Carolina's secretary of state has put the group on his "Scrooge" list of the top ten charities that "fail miserably" in their mission. The nonprofit group, which distributes craft kits at V.A. hospitals around the country, has been attacked for spending too much on overhead, but Mike Lynch, the group's executive director, is striking back. "Whatever their guidelines are, frankly, I could care less," he told a South Carolina newspaper. "We'd be doing a disservice to veterans if we ran this charity based on what watchdogs dictated to us."
Electorate in exile
Should Mexicans living abroad be allowed to vote in that country's national elections? According to an advisory commission to Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute, the answer is a qualified yes. The question is more than academic for the estimated seven million Mexican citizens living in the United States. As of now, they can't, and that's the way the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) wants to keep it, since most of the economic exiles are thought to be sure votes for opposing parties. If the scheme is ever approved, plans call for hundreds of polling places to accommodate the expatriates here. Meanwhile, the exodus continues, and not just for economic reasons. The L.A. Times quotes Mauricio Lulka, head of the Central Committee of the Jewish Community in Mexico City, as saying that more than three dozen prominent Jewish families have left town for San Diego to escape crime.
Kroc or Memorex?
For a colorful bit of San Diego history, go to the newly opened Ray A. Kroc Museum in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, his hometown and headquarters of McDonald's, the hamburger empire he improbably built. Kroc's checkered career as a speakeasy pianist-turned-billionaire is on full display, including a special "Talk to Ray" room, where the late Padres owner answers visitors' questions through the miracle of videotape.
Contributor: Matt Potter