Dean in UCSD money "laundering" case to step down

Email discussed using mayoral candidate Fletcher to raise cash from billionaire Jacobs

Jeffrey Elman
  • Jeffrey Elman

UCSD dean of social sciences Jeffrey Elman, whose widely publicized email about using ex-assemblyman and mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher to raise money to pay for his own part-time professorship first came to light here in October of last year, is quietly stepping down from his position.

The saga began in January 2013, when the university announced that it was naming Republican-turned-Democrat Fletcher as its first so-called professor of practice.

“Professors of Practice will contribute to the academic program at UC San Diego by providing students with a deeper understanding of the practical application of a particular field of study, and help promote the integration of academic scholarship with practical experience from applications professionals,” said Suresh Subramani, UC San Diego executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Documents subsequently obtained from the university under the California public records act included an October 12, 2012, email from Elman to assistant dean Joanna Mancusi discussing ways of raising funds from billionaire Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs, a longtime Fletcher political patron, to pay Fletcher's university salary.

Kristi [assistant vice chancellor Kristi Larsen] suggested that, since the campus now can move monies around much more freely than before, one might engage in creative financing.

The other strategy, which I'd like to pursue, is getting Fletcher and [redacted] to help us identify potential donors — people who have served as angels for them in the past — whom we could approach and who might cover their salary.

The salary range is from $80,100 to $281,000. The actual percent effort is adjusted to back into the amount we have available.

For example, if Fletcher were to teach 3 courses a year at the $7,500/course rate (just using the Lecturer scale for convenience), and he were appointed at the $80,100 base salary level, that would mean an annual % effort of 28% (and would cost us $22,500).

Those monies would have to come from development funds (e.g., Friends), or else we'd have to do some laundering.

However, my guess is that there are people like Irwin Jacobs and others who have contributed to Fletcher [redacted] and they might be willing to provide these monies — or even more. For example, a gift of $50,000 would allow us to appoint the person at 28% effort with a base of $178,500.

The story was subsequently picked up by U-T San Diego, which ran a series of excerpts from the Elman email on November 16.

Slightly more than two weeks later, following Fletcher's defeat in San Diego's mayoral primary, a brief, largely unnoticed announcement of Elman's resignation as dean was issued without fanfare by chancellor Pradeep Khosla. No mention of Elman's email regarding Fletcher was made.

Dr. Jeffrey Elman has announced his intention to conclude his tenure as Dean of the Division of Social Sciences, effective June 30, 2014, to devote his full attention to teaching, research and service as a Distinguished Professor in the UC San Diego Department of Cognitive Science.

According to an online database of university compensation maintained by the Sacramento Bee, Elman was paid a $300,000 base salary as dean in 2012. The university has hired the headhunting firm of Isaacson, Miller to conduct an "international search" for Elman's replacement.

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Excellent reporting. The first story, and this follow-up.

This looks like criminal activity to me. Where is DA Dumanis on this one? Maybe because she is being investigated for her Mayoral campaign donations involving the Mexican National and her PAC. Oh stupid me, this isn't the South Bay, white people involved in this one.

Who wrote the U-T story? We always want to give credit where it's due. Thanks for connecting the dots. I doubt that former Dean Elman will be pulling down a base salary of $300,000 when he turns back into a pumpkin, um, regular UCSD prof.

He ought to be going to jail. Anyone stupid enough to put into writing that he wants to engage in money laundering with public funds does not deserve to continue working at the university..

We can only assume that those who express such ideas and sentiments in email form think that those messages will just vaporize. They don't. The sort of thing he was engaging in was would be best exchanged on park benches with plenty of background noise present. Who says that a PhD and/or an academic appointment demand average intelligence?

So, Matt, this time you actually got a few comments on a posting that involved UCSD. I think that deserves congratulations.

Wow! Democrats running a money-laundering racket... who would have expected that?

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