Not all Fletcher's campaign support is from Irwin

DermTex prez, Jack in the Box lawyer, Democratic New York moneyman

Irwin Jacobs
  • Irwin Jacobs

As previously reported, billionaire Democrat Irwin Jacobs, who's made seven-figure contributions to backers of Barack Obama, has so far not put all that much of his own money into the cause of his personal pick for mayor of San Diego, ex-GOP assemblyman Nathan Fletcher.

Campaign funding disclosure records have shown that San Diego's richest man and his wife Joan have given a total of $75,000 to an independent expenditure committee called "Restoring Trust in San Diego - A committee to support Nathan Fletcher for Mayor 2013."

They also have made direct contributions of $1000 each, the maximum allowed by law.

Now, with various polls showing Fletcher's early momentum possibly sagging, local big-money watchers are waiting for Jacobs and his son Paul (CEO of Jacobs-founded Qualcomm) to show up this week with sufficient funds to get their man over the primary hump and into the runoff election.

In the meantime, according to multiple financial disclosures filed by the Fletcher campaign with the city clerk's office on November 10, donors with financial ties to the family have been doing their part.

An example is La Jolla's John Dobak, CEO and president of DermTech, a San Diego start-up that hopes to market a diagnostic test for the skin cancer known as melanoma. Dobak forked over a total of $1000 in three contributions made in September, October, and early this month.

As reported by August 21, closely held DermTech has recently received $5.6 million in angel funding from an investment arm of the Jacobs family.

Jacobs Investment Co., the Del Mar, CA-based investment arm of Qualcomm scion Gary Jacobs, led the new round of financing, which was joined by new and existing individual investors who were not identified.

The funding will be used to complete the development and validation of the company’s quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) assay. DermTech said it also is establishing a clinical laboratory in San Diego to analyze skin samples and provide the results to patients’ physicians.

Gary Jacobs is chairman of the DermTech board.

Steve Pigeon of Buffalo, New York came up with a total of $1000 for Fletcher on October 5 and November 1. Called by Wikipedia "one of the most controversial figures in contemporary Western New York politics," Pigeon reportedly had a big role in Bill Clinton's 1992 New York presidential victory.

Now affiliated with the Buffalo law firm of Underberg & Kessler, Pigeon is a big-money player in New York state politics, backing Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and others, as reported last week by the Buffalo News:

The attorney and political consultant is taking a page from the playbook of his mentor and pal — billionaire Tom Golisano.

Pigeon’s political contributions may not yet approach Golisano-esque proportions, but he dropped more than $150,000 of his own money in the past 12 months on Cuomo and the WNY Progressive Caucus alone.

That qualifies him as an official big-time donor, and leads to the conclusion that things are going well in the world of whatever it is that Pigeon does.

In an article it ran last month, the paper said Pigeon has been accused by his political foes of misdeeds, but never charged.

Pigeon may have gained his greatest statewide notoriety for helping engineer a coup that briefly ousted Democrats from the State Senate majority in 2008 with the support of billionaire B. Thomas Golisano, for whom he worked several years as a political adviser.

New York City media reported in 2010 that he was involved in a probe of then-State Sen. Pedro Espada Jr., for whom he worked in Albany, though no charges were ever filed.

And Erie County’s Democratic and Republican elections commissioners filed a joint complaint in 2008 alleging that Pigeon was illegally coordinating campaigns with Golisano’s independent committee, Responsible New York, although that complaint was never acted upon.

Jacobs and his wife gave heavily to the cause of both Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary. On March 27, 2000, according to an itinerary preserved at the Clinton presidential library, the then-First Lady stopped by the Jacobs La Jolla manse at a 50-person fundraiser for her senatorial campaign.

Most recently, Irwin and Joan Jacobs gave $50,000 to the Ready for Hillary presidential PAC earlier his year.

In addition to Jacobs-related donors, Fletcher also picked up money from a representative of a controversial local special interest. A total of $1000 was given by Mark Brigandi, listed as a lawyer for the Jack in the Box fast-food chain. According to the corporation’s website, Brigandi "directs government relations and community affairs activities" for the firm.

The chain has repeatedly clashed with North Park neighbors over a controversial drive-through opposed by now toppled Democratic mayor Bob Filner.

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