It was the biggest media event of the new year, and Elena Cristiano was in her element. A crowd of more than a hundred reporters, photographers, politicos, and sports fans, along with a bank of television cameras, had turned out on the bayfront steps of the County Administration Building to hear her boss, San Diego mayor Dick Murphy, announce a curious alliance with his erstwhile political foe, county supervisor Ron Roberts. Cristiano, a striking, 30-ish brunette who had been the mayor's press secretary since he took office in December 2000, stood just off camera, taking in the scene with mayoral chief of staff John Kern. As they surveyed the assemblage on that sunny morning in mid January 2002, Cristiano would periodically lean her head close to Kern's and whisper something in his ear. Murphy and Roberts took the podium to announce that they were working on a secret way for the county to save the troubled downtown ballpark in case the latest courtroom challenge succeeded in blocking Murphy's city funding plan. After the presentation, Cristiano, dressed in an elegant black coat and a stylish purple turtleneck, rushed to congratulate the mayor; she stood at his side as he answered questions from lingering reporters. Afterward, she, Murphy, and Kern huddled near the Donal Hord fountain before heading back to the mayor's dark green SUV.
As it turned out, the legal threat to the ballpark soon evaporated, and Murphy did not need Roberts's help. But the media event held that January 23 would be remembered for another reason. It was one of the last times reporters would get a glimpse of Cristiano. Less than four weeks later, on February 19, the mayor issued a three-sentence news release, headlined "Mayor Murphy Makes Staff Changes." It said that "Mayor Dick Murphy today announced that Colleen Rudy has been appointed Press Secretary in place of Elena Cristiano who has been appointed Director of Communications.
"Ms. Rudy will be responsible for all press inquiries and media relations. Ms. Cristiano will be responsible for speech writing and special projects. 'I am pleased to announce these changes. I think these new assignments will strengthen our ability to communicate with the press and the public,' Mayor Murphy said."
Since that day, Cristiano has not been seen around city hall. Though she is listed on the mayor's website under the title "Director of Communications/Speechwriter" and her photograph appears there, her successor, Colleen Rudy, will not comment on her status nor her whereabouts, referring all questions about her to the city attorney's office. "That is a personnel matter," said Rudy. Deputy City Attorney Michael Rivo, to whom Rudy referred all questions, said he also won't confirm or deny that Cristiano is still on the mayor's payroll. "It involves a personnel matter, and that, at this point, would not be disclosable."
Finally, last week, in a telephone interview from her home in Poway, Cristiano broke weeks of self-imposed silence to answer some of the questions surrounding her abrupt, secrecy-shrouded departure from the city's most prominent and coveted public relations job. Guardedly, she shared a story that she said involves unspecified "legal issues" she has with mayoral chief of staff Kern, an ex-newspaper reporter, political consultant, and Murphy intimate since the 1970s, when Kern served as chief of staff to then-city councilman Murphy. Cristiano said she's consulting a lawyer about the matter but can't comment more directly until she and her attorney have had more time to evaluate her options.
"I need to talk to my attorney about the situation with the mayor's office," she said. "As you know, there have been some legal issues that have to be resolved legally between myself and specifically John Kern. Absolutely none of this has to do with my past. I did a great job. My last communication with the mayor was that my job was secure, and there was no reason for me to fear losing it."
Cristiano said she hasn't been into her city hall office for weeks and that she stopped receiving her $65,000 salary on the first of March but still considers herself the mayor's employee. "I hope to go back. I'm on state disability right now, but it's not through the city. I filed a workers' compensation claim, but the city's self-insured, so not surprisingly the city denied the claim. [State disability] is something separate, that your doctor has to say that the stress has caused physical harm."
She adds that she still regards Murphy as a friend and remains his loyal staffer, even though the mayor no longer is talking to her. "Well, that obviously concerns me, but in light of the situation, I'm trying to understand. I've served the mayor very well," she said. "I've always gotten along with Mayor Murphy. I'm a huge fan of him personally."
How did the 36-year-old Cristiano, who had never before worked for an elected official -- let alone in the high-profile position of press secretary to mayor of America's sixth-largest city -- get her job at city hall? That, she said, is a long story. She describes a life of early hardship, full of tumultuous relationships with a series of men. Those relationships began with her violently abusive adoptive father in Ohio, where she was born on September 2, 1965, and continued in her college days at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she said she fulfilled the graduation requirements but didn't receive a diploma because she owed the school money, to waitressing at Seau's, barely surviving on welfare, and finally a job with the "Pad Squad," cheerleaders for the San Diego Padres, where she met Padres executive Charles Steinberg, whom she now calls "my mentor and dear, dear friend."
Steinberg, she said, gave her the breaks she needed to help turn around her life, which had been marked by nasty physical confrontations with ex-boyfriends and a series of run-ins with the law, including, the record shows, two convictions for shoplifting in the early 1990s, allegations of personal battery, and a 1997 arrest by lifeguards at La Jolla Shores after a boardwalk donnybrook in which she allegedly struck a lifeguard in the head and questioned the size of his penis before being led away in handcuffs.
Her early years were so painful, she said, she eventually stopped using her maiden name of Myers and her married name of Price and began going by the last name of Cristiano, which she began using in order to remove all reminders of the stigma and shame she felt. "I was adopted and my adoptive father was extremely abusive, and I didn't want his name anymore. I didn't want my ex-husband's name anymore for my own reasons, which I'm sure you can look in the divorce records and see what that was all about.
"So I was really without a name, and I had already taken on the name Elena Cristiano as sort of a journalistic thing anyway, when I was an intern at KEYT [in Santa Barbara]. I thought it sounded good, I liked it, and it had the most appeal out of anything else. My birth name, I had no associations with that, and my adopted name, and then my married name, so I was really without a name."
She also changed the spelling of her first name from Elana to Elena. "I just changed the spelling of [Elana] because people always had the tendency to mispronounce it. Elana with an a in the middle tends to be pronounced wrong, and especially in Southern California people tend to say Elena the right way. But I always kept my same Social Security number. It wasn't a matter of really changing my identity; I just liked the name better."
Cristiano remembers the decade of the 1990s as a rush of violent, emotionally painful events and personal dislocations. According to court records, she filed numerous domestic violence complaints against male acquaintances and one female, alleging they variously stalked her, threw drinks in her face, slashed her tires, and threatened her life and those of her children. In a May 1989 divorce filing, her husband bitterly recounted his version of their married life together. "My wife has continued to threaten that if I use an attorney she would turn me in to the police for beating her up. She taunts me a great deal and has had me arrested for battery when in fact I had not hit her. My wife is continually talking about other men in front of me and telling me about her dates with them. This hurts me a great deal, and she will not stop. She brings other men with her when she leaves off the children for me to babysit."
In October 1994, her ex-husband filed another round of allegations during a custody and support dispute over their two children. "Respondent does not maintain a fixed address, has moved around from residence to residence with multiple boyfriends, and refuses to work or works in occupations that may be adverse to my children's best interest. Respondent has completed at least three years at UC Santa Barbara, is not disabled, and can work, and apparently has police problems of an unknown nature. Respondent uses several names and conceals her whereabouts making it difficult for me to keep in touch with my children."
Today Cristiano rejects those claims and said she was simply the unwitting victim of a series of abusive men that due to unfortunate circumstances she had allowed into her life. She was repeatedly forced to fight back in court, she said, seeking restraining orders against former acquaintances who posed a danger to herself and her family. She even appeared on the Judge Judy television show in early 1997 to argue her case against an ex-boyfriend who had been stalking her.
"As of 4-7-96 the respondent came to my house and would not leave," according to a 1996 complaint she filed in San Diego court regarding the man. "He started pushing me around, and he punched me on my head. I now have stiches [sic] in my head. I had to go to the emergency room. The police and the hospital took pictures, and I have a case # w/ the police. As I tried to call 911, his mother took the phone away from me & he took my car keys so I wouldn't leave. In the past the respondent has abused me, choked me, and has threatened to kill me. Please grant me this order to protect myself and my children from this abusive man."
Judge Judy, Cristiano said, sustained her allegations and awarded her damages in the case. (Contacted by telephone in Los Angeles, a spokesman for Judge Judy said that because records for the program during that period are in storage, he could not confirm Cristiano's account.)
Cristiano also filed for a protective order against the defendant's mother in the same case. "On 4-7-96, defendant came to my home and refused to leave. Her son...physically assaulted me while the defendant...watched. Furthermore, not only did the defendant fail to assist me, she prevented me from calling for help by holding the phone out of my reach. She then put the phone in her purse to prevent me from getting it and calling 911. The assault by her included throwing me to the ground. (Her son caused a gash in my head, which required stitches and other medical attention.) She proceeded to lie to the police, saying I had prevented her from calling the police. I need protection from this woman whom I believe to be unstable. Defendant lives within close proximity of plaintiff and plaintiff fears reprisal for this protective order."
In June 1997, Cristiano sought a restraining order against another male acquaintance, alleging that "On March 8 [the defendant] spit beer in my face, sprayed me w/ hot water, bruised my foot, smashed my car. On March 20 he slashed tires on both my car & a friend's. On May 20 or so he wrote profane, threatening messages to me.
"On March 8th [he] stepped on my foot and ground down, bruising it. He later backed into my vehicle causing extensive damage -- this was a violent, intentional act. He has since slashed (3/20/97) the tires on both my car & my friend's... He stalks me, stealing my voice mail code, and leaving threatening messages. He is a crystal-meth addict and armed, and I consider him very dangerous."
In December 1997, Cristiano filed for a court order against yet another man, describing her relationship with him as "former dating." According to her statement: "On November 20, after trying to put his fist through my sliding glass door & repeatedly threatening to kick my face in & kicking my couch and walls & furniture, [the defendant] proceeded to kick my door in while I was on the phone with 911. Detectives with San Diego are compiling a stalking case against him & said they plan to arrest him after I file a new police report regarding this past weekend's 100+ phone calls including threats to 'cut' 'kick,' and 'rob' me (most are on audio tape). I fear for my/my son's safety & lives."
In a restraining-order case she filed in Santa Barbara superior court in June 1991, Cristiano, at the time known by her married name of Price, described a fight with Gina Carter, identified as an acquaintance. "On Friday, August 10, 1990, Gina Carter and myself were in Rosarito Beach, B.C. Mexico. We were on our first day vacationing together. That evening, after we had a couple of drinks (around 3-4) we got into a verbal confrontation. Gina got very violent, and with the help of a friend struck me repeatedly, pulled my hair, scratched up my face, smashed my rear window, my tail-light, cracked my windshield, and left me stranded in an alley alone.
"She threw my sole set of car keys into a drainage ditch, removed her belongings from my car, and left. When I finally retrieved my keys, I fled the area and took refuge in a hotel room with some sympathetic people. Later that night, my driver-side window was also smashed, and some locals said they saw a group of Americans, with a girl fitting Gina's description, in the parking lot when they heard the glass break. Since the incident, Gina has repeatedly attempted to reach me, had people lie and say they were my friends, harassed my roommates and my ex-husband. I haven't been able to go home where she can find me for fear of my own safety and that of my two young children.
"She somehow tracked down my ex-husband, with whom my children were staying, and lied to him about her reason for wanting to get a hold of me. I am supposed to get my children back and do not want them subjected to seeing the kind of violence she is capable of. I am in great fear for my families [sic] well being.
"I went to a San Diego hospital's emergency room and was treated for contusions and X-rayed on the 11th of August."
Carter denied Cristiano's claims. "I met Elana Price in a volleyball class we took this summer," Carter wrote in a declaration dated August 27, 1990. "On August 10, 1990, we were in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, on a camping trip. We drove down to Mexico in Price's car. We were in bar and she got drunk. She told me she was going to leave and come back later.
"I wanted to get my bike, which was locked in her car, so I walked toward the car. She started yelling obscenities and screamed at me to give her the car keys. Because of the way [she was] yelling I became scared, so I tossed her the keys. She missed them, and they dropped to the street.
"I kept walking to the car to get my belongings, and she attacked me from behind. Price bit me several times on the hand, cut my lips, and gave me several bruises on my head and body. I tryed [sic] to defend myself and may have hit her. Bystanders broke the fight up.
"She went to the car and began throwing some of my belongings on the street. I asked her to stop, and she tore my bathing suit top off, leaving me almost naked in the street. A police officer took me into the bar's office and gave me something to cover up.
"When we got back outside, Price was gone, along with my things. She still has a bike I borrowed from a friend, my tent, my Walkman and tapes, my camera, my address book, and miscellaneous clothing.
"She has not returned any of my things.
"I next saw her the next day but did not talk to her.
"I called her husband because his number was in the phone book and asked him to help me get my things back. He offered to come and get me out of Mexico because I didn't have a car and very little money.
"I had a friend come and get me and drive me home.
"I have never talked to Elana Price since that day. I have never called her home. I did not know her phone number and address until I was served with the court papers. I have never threatened her, her family, or her roommate, and in fact do not even know who they are.
"I just want her to return my belongings."
Asked about details of the Carter case last week, Cristiano replied, "To be perfectly blunt, I don't even remember." She said her problems with violent men began with her troubled childhood and later were reinforced by a bad marriage. "I've suffered from battered women's syndrome for a number of years, and that, obviously, has a huge part of some of the things I've been through. Lack of self-esteem and all of the things tied into battered women's syndrome that I struggled with for a number of years, beginning prior to my marriage all the way up through a few years ago, when I finally was able to overcome that."
Later she reflected, "I've had my share of challenges, Matt. But the reality is if you put it all into perspective and understand the things I've been through, I've done a very good job of overcoming a lot. It's unfortunate that there are what appear to be so many abusive people in the world, but I am certainly not guilty of anything but a couple of poor choices in terms of -- I've always thought that perhaps I have a 'jerk magnet' embedded in my forehead. I jokingly say that. But in reality, I believe that there's a set of circumstances -- including my physical appearance, my personality, my intelligence level -- that tend to be attractive to abusive men. And it's been a big struggle for me to try to overcome that, and it's unfortunate that I'm in the situation that I'm in now.
"I think that I have attractiveness to a certain type of man," she added. "I mean, I'm not bad to look at, so I wouldn't say that I'm not attractive to nonabusive men, but for whatever reason, abusive men do seem to find me appealing, and then it's taken me a long time to learn to read the signs and extricate myself from that kind of situation."
Asked if any of this related to her unspecified issues with mayoral chief of staff John Kern, Cristiano responded:
"Oh, I definitely think that it's related, yeah. I can tell you that, Matt. I definitely think that my situation with John Kern was personal; it wasn't professional. Because like I said, the mayor's last communication to me was that my job was secure and that I'd done a good job thus far, and that was late February."
Aside from any problems she might have had at city hall, Cristiano emphasized, her troubles with men are well behind her. "I made some really poor choices in the men I chose to date. But that, again, is part and parcel to the battered women's syndrome. Your self-esteem is low and you make mistakes; you get involved with people who have a negative influence on you, and that spreads, and the next thing you know, you just -- luckily my kids have come out okay; they're great kids, but we really struggled. "
The shoplifting incidents also occurred during a time of great personal struggle and hardship, Cristiano said. According to Ventura County court records, in March 1991 she was convicted by a jury on one count of personal property theft, sentenced to 48 hours in Ventura County Jail, and ordered to "stay out of May Company," a department store. In February 1992, Santa Barbara County records show, she entered a no-contest plea to charges that she "did steal, take, and carry away the personal property of another, to wit Nordstrom Dept. Store" and was given a 30-day suspended sentence with one day's credit for jail time served, along with a year of unsupervised probation.
"Obviously I regret what happened," she said last week. "It was a situation that occurred when I was financially destitute. It's certainly something I'm not proud of, but life situations come along, and sometimes you make poor decisions, especially when you're without a support system and struggling."
On the other hand, her 1997 confrontation with two city lifeguards on the beach at La Jolla Shores was another matter, she insisted. Describing his version of the incident, San Diego lifeguard Charles Wright filed a declaration in April 1997: "We then turned north and observed a female and two young boys with a Sharpe [sic] type of dog on a leash walking north along the houses in front of the white wall. I pulled up to the female on the passenger side of my vehicle in order that [lifeguard] Canale could make a warning.
"Canale explained to the woman that dogs were not permitted on the beach during the hours of 9 am and 6 pm. Canale also asked the woman where she was from, and she said that she was from Poway. Canale continued to explain that laws regarding dogs were uniform in San Diego County. The woman indicated that she didn't have time for this and became argumentative. She continued to say that there were no beaches in Poway. At that point the woman seemed to want no further contact with us and said she was visiting a friend and had to go. She immediately walked away.
"I asked her to stop, she refused. I continued to drive past her to the end of the boardwalk, where I stopped the truck, got out, and walked to her. I then commanded her to stop, but she continued to walk toward the parking lot. I reached out and attempted to physically hold her by the right arm to keep her from leaving. She mildly resisted, and we walked back to the truck. I asked her to stand at the truck while I issued her a citation.
"She immediately became very loud and aggressive. At that point she said she wanted the police and that I needed to read her rights. She asked if she was under arrest, I said yes. She then tried to leave again. I asked her to turn around so we could handcuff her. She resisted and one handcuff was placed on her left arm. As Canale and I tried to put the other handcuff on her other arm she swung her right arm and hit me in the back of the head with a glancing blow. I applied a wrist lock and forced her to the ground. At this point she was screaming at the top of her lungs.
"As we waited for the unit, Ms. Cristiano said that I must have a little penis because I wanted to be a big man. She continued to demand that I read her rights to her. I said that I was not asking her questions and didn't need to read her rights.
"Her actions prevented me from continuing with my patrol duties to make warnings of potential rescues. Had she complied with my requests, the situation would have been completed quickly and without physical detention. Her demeanor was aggressive and confrontational."
Last week, Cristiano, who ultimately paid a $100 fine for the infraction, said the incident was another example of how she sometimes rubs some men the wrong way. "But in terms of the lifeguard situation, I just think that there happened to be two jerk lifeguards on the beach that day, and I do tend to speak my mind; I'm pretty straightforward. And when I feel like I'm being wronged, I'm not one to shy and back down, and I think that that can tend to incite a certain type of person, especially somebody who, say, doesn't really like strong women. I think that that can also play a key in it. I say strong women, and that's obviously an oxymoron to battered-women syndrome, but I can truly say I'm both."
She added that she did not remember making the remark about White's penis. "No, but that being said, they were very abusive," she said. "The only thing I would make a comment about someone's penis would be if it was something to do with their ego, but I can't imagine. I wouldn't obviously know the size of the lifeguard's penis. Like I said, if somebody feels the need to assault a single female with two small children and a little dog, they obviously have ego issues."
Cristiano said her relationship with Charles Steinberg of the Padres, beginning in the late-1990s, marked the beginning of a fresh start for her. After leaving Santa Barbara, moving briefly to Ohio, and arriving in San Diego, she said, she had worked in a series of jobs, including one at Seau's restaurant, which at the time she recalls was being run by John Walter Gillette, Jr., then-personal manager and investment advisor to Junior Seau, a member of the San Diego Chargers football team, as well as many other professional sports stars, including San Diego Padres pitcher Greg Harris, Buffalo Bills quarterback Rob Johnson, Mark Kotsay, a former outfielder with the Florida Marlins, and six-time triathlon champion Mark Allen.
It turned out Gillette was a con artist supreme, and his investments were fraudulent, costing the athletes millions of dollars. A onetime stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Bros. and a partner in Seau's, Gillette pled guilty in December 1997 to 38 counts of grand theft and forgery and was sentenced to ten years in state prison.
Cristiano said she knew Gillette when she worked at Seau's. Asked whether she had a personal relationship with him, she responded, "No, other than he was fond of me. He tipped me well, but never..." She left the sentence dangling. Asked how long she worked at the restaurant, she said, "I don't really recall. Probably the better part of a year, but it was just too difficult. I was without transportation."
She met Steinberg, she said, sometime after she went to work as a member of the Pad Squad in 1997. "Early on. We didn't become friends until a little later, but early on we met. He was part of who hired me...the panel," she recalled. Being a member of the Pad Squad opened doors for her, according to Cristiano. At the time she was also a news writer for Channel 39, the local NBC affiliate, she said.
"I started out with the Pad Squad. That was a part-time job while I was writing for 7/39, and then I went to writing for them [Padres] and producing ballpark-related promotional things." Eventually, she said, she ended up with a job at Stoorza Communications, the public relations outfit hired by Padres owner John Moores to run the campaign for Proposition C, the ultimately successful 1998 bid to convince San Diego City taxpayers to finance a new downtown ballpark.
That experience with the Padres, she said, explains how, in December 2000, she was able to jump into the job as Murphy's press secretary while seemingly having little other relevant experience at city hall or local politics. "At Stoorza I did a lot of media relations. My position with the Padres allowed me to have good working knowledge of the ballpark situation, so that was helpful."
Steinberg has assisted her in other ways as well, Cristiano said. Several times she had faced eviction from apartments she had rented. In August of 1999, according to county records, Steinberg purchased a Poway condominium for $130,000, borrowing $107,415 from a bank. In April 2000, the records show, he quitclaimed a 50 percent "tenants in common" in the residence to Cristiano. "Charles owns the condominium, but I'm on the deed because he used my money as a down payment," she explained, "and he basically came into the situation to help me keep the property when I was renting it, and the landlord was selling, and it's now a rented property." Cristiano added that she no longer lives in the unit.
"He still pays the payments," she said of Steinberg, who has since left the Padres and now works for the Boston Red Sox under ex-Padres president Larry Lucchino. "He was helping me out. I was in a situation where I was renting the property, the landlord wanted to sell it, so his credit was able to help me basically purchase the unit. So I retain some interest in it because I put up the money, but he pays the mortgage, the loan is in his name, and the rent goes to him."
Asked whether she or Steinberg had given any consideration to selling the unit since she doesn't live there anymore, Cristiano said: "Seeing as there's no conflict of interest because it's in the county, not the city, there was never an issue, so the property remained as a rental."
She said she fully disclosed the investment to Lisa Foster, a deputy in the San Diego city attorney's office, who, she said, declared that owning a home with Steinberg did not represent a reportable interest under the city's conflict-of-interest code. "You sign a statement of economic interest with the city. One of the stipulations is that you have to disclose any property that you own within the city of San Diego, and obviously it's not. It's in the county, so it doesn't fall within the reporting structure."
"That would have been obviously impetus to sell it, but since there was no conflict of interest it wasn't necessary, and of course, all of this I went through with the city attorney's office before I filed my statement of economic interest."
Cristiano reported on the statement of economic interest she filed in April of this year that she received several gifts from Steinberg last year, including opening-day Padres tickets valued at $148; admission to an opening-day party valued at $50; and a leather purse, valued at $98. She said she took pains to avoid any conflict between her work as Murphy's press secretary and Steinberg's job as a Padres' staffer. She said she particularly protected any confidential city information she was privy to that might affect financially lucrative amendments to the ballpark deal that Murphy was negotiating with the Padres throughout 2001.
"In fact, Charles always used to tease people and say, 'I can't get anything out of her,' " she said, "Not that he really tried, but it was definitely a situation where we were extremely careful that we were very professional, and I would never disclose anything to him that I learned within the confines of city hall that would not be appropriate public information. I was just really careful with that because I knew it was sensitive."
Whether by coincidence or not, the end of Cristiano's tenure at city hall came just as the Padres and the city were able to reach a final legal agreement to sell the bonds needed to build the new ballpark.
In a telephone interview from his Boston office this week, Steinberg responded to Cristiano's characterization of him as her mentor: "It's a compliment for her to say that, but I understand what she means." Their friendship is "not a romance," he continued. "Mine was more to teach her that good things happen when you surround yourself with good people. I admired that from a tough background and a tough set of cards that she had been dealt, she believed in goodness as a way to get to the top. I was inspired by that, and I saw that she was very bright, a brilliant writer, a gifted writer, and I encouraged her to go to the highest levels of what she could do.
"And so she moved up a marketing ladder and went to Stoorza, but I wasn't even in the country, I remember, when she decided to go pursue something with the mayor's office, and she did that without any participation by me. I didn't know the mayor, and I was involved in a zero way, and was proud that she saw that when you do surround yourself with good people, good things happen, and the mayor's been good to her, and he has validated her faith in human decency."
Steinberg insisted he never attempted to lobby Cristiano about Padres issues and that they were both careful to avoid conflicts of interest and giving gifts to each other while she was on the city payroll. "Once she started working for the mayor's office, I know that whatever we did, there was very little [gift giving], because we were scrupulous about the rules that you have about being a city employee. So during the friendship, there might have been more gifts, but once she started working for the city, that changed radically."
Steinberg added that despite the current situation, he felt the mayor had always been on Cristiano's side. "He's done nothing to change how good he's been to her. I don't know whether he's allowed to [talk to her], whether he's not. I don't think it's like when two friends say, 'I'm not talking to him anymore.' I don't think it's that kind of thing at all. If there are reasons that there have to be [for] this episode, while she's on leave, that may be, but she's been terrifically rewarded by his goodness. I think she would hope to return upon the resolution of some legal issues."
Murphy's office declined to respond to repeated requests for comment regarding Cristiano, her background, how she was hired, her relationship with Steinberg and the Padres at a time the ballpark deal with the city was still pending, her relationship with Kern, and her future in the mayor's office.
Meanwhile, as she bided her time at home last week and considered her next moves regarding the city, Dick Murphy, and John Kern, Cristiano said she had briefly considered getting a job with Steinberg's new team, the Boston Red Sox, but then decided against it. "I suppose I could try, but Boston's a long way away, and to be truthful, baseball just doesn't pay very much. It's something you have to be able to afford to do or just love so much that you're willing to get paid a minimal amount. Baseball doesn't pay very much."