Doctored Money

— Medicine is very lucrative for physician Jim Dunford, part-time medical director of the City's Emergency Medical Services. According to his statement of economic interests, filed March 15, Dunford, professor of clinical medicine and surgery at UCSD, received outside income from a raft of clients for whom he serves as "medico-legal consultant," including Norcal Mutual Insurance Company of San Francisco, Mission Valley's Belsky & Associates, and MedAmerica Mutual Risk Retention Group of Walnut Creek. Each paid him between $1000 and $10,000.

He also got between $1000 and $10,000 for providing "medical content expert review" to the San Diego State University Research Foundation and picked up between $10,000 and $100,000 from the City as a "physician leader" deployed with California's Urban Search and Rescue Team to the Hurricane Rita disaster area. That expense was reimbursed by FEMA, according to Dunford's filing.

When it came to getting free meals, Dunford was a champion. He got ten free lunches totaling $100 from Sharp HealthCare. The American Heart Association gave him four "board dinners" worth $100. Biosite, a San Diego-based biotech firm, gave him two meals valued at $60 each. ESP Pharma of Menlo Park also kicked in a $60 meal; Genentech provided three meals worth $100. Bristol-Myers Squibb and UCB Pharma of Brussels, Belgium, each contributed a $60 meal. ... In a hint of more action to come from city attorney Mike Aguirre, an April 12 report from his office to the city council notes that "the Auditor's Office has recently referred for legal action a matter where their audit determined a hotel operator had significantly under paid TOT [transient occupancy tax]." The memo adds that Aguirre plans to use the False Claims Act to go after the back taxes. "In a False Claims Act action, the city can recover treble damages and civil penalties."

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