When Kevin Faulconer announced in January he was setting up a Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group, the Republican mayor insisted one thing was certain: there would be no tax money or city staff time spent on the group’s effort to come up with a strategy for keeping the Chargers in town. After that followed a period of confusion over funding. The task force, partly made up of Faulconer political backers, first said it would raise cash from unidentified private donors. As questions arose about prospective conflicts of interest created by such solicitations, the task-force members reversed course and said that they would personally come up with money for the work. So far, though, based on documents retrieved from city hall following a request made under the California Public Records Act, the taxpayers have been compelled to carry a portion of the burden.
The task force’s highest profile event thus far came on March 2 when it staged a three-hour public forum at Qualcomm Stadium’s Club Lounge, as well as a pep rally in the parking lot outside the stadium, that drew an overflow crowd of thousands. Admission was free and there was no mention by the task force of picking up the tab for use of the city facilities. A public records query regarding who would be billed for the event, sent to the city on March 1, was finally answered on April 15, with a copy of an invoice sent by the city to the task force five days earlier, on April 10. According to that document, the task force currently owes the city a total of $9491.56, including $5748.30 in staff expenses, $2493.26 for Aramark Janitorial Services, $950 for the Jumbotron scoreboard crew, and $300 for Custom Antenna Video Services.
The invoice, bearing a due date of May 17, was addressed by the city to the mayor’s stadium task force via its member Aimee Faucett, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, where she reports to ex–San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders, now the chamber’s head honcho. Reached by phone Monday, task force spokesman Tony Manolatos said, “That check is already in the mail.”