Byzantine hotel tax network funds mayor’s nonprofit

TV turkey handouts and check-giving backed by city fee-funded hotel lobby

Kevin Faulconer
  • Kevin Faulconer

Contributions from special interests coveting the favor of city hall continue to pour in to One San Diego, the nonprofit corporation run by Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Among other purposes, the money has been used to stage televised Thanksgiving turkey giveaways by the mayor and a check-giving TV appearance by the mayor's wife, Katherine Stuart, who has served as the nonprofit's honorary chair.

Bill Evans

Bill Evans

Latest to cough up for One San Diego is an affiliate of Evans Hotels, the old-line lodging outfit that holds lucrative leases from the city on the land beneath Mission Bay's Bahia Resort Hotel and the Lodge at Torrey Pines. Evans is expected by many to be a major player in Faulconer's efforts to revive the downtown convention-center expansion project.

Evans came up with $5000 on January 8, according to a January 16 disclosure by the mayor.

The company's top honcho, Bill Evans, is treasurer of the city's Tourism Marketing District, funded by proceeds of assessment fees levied by the city on the price of hotel stays.

The marketing district has drawn notoriety for its legal battle against clients of attorney Cory Briggs over the future of the room-fee assessment, with boardmembers tied to a series of controversial anti-Briggs allegations made by a San Diego State University–affiliated website.

The state-funded university has had a close relationship with Evans and his chief executive, Robert Gleason, "an Advisory Board Member of the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at San Diego State University, where he taught hospitality law and policy for many years," according to Gleason's online company profile.

In addition to the Evans Hotel cash, the San Diego Tourism Authority, which receives city-imposed assessment fees funneled through the tourism marketing district, gave the Faulconer nonprofit $5000 on January 4.

Dan Fullen, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Evans Hotels, is vice chairman of the tourism authority board.

Political spending disclosure records on file with the city show that Evans, Gleason, and Evans family members have so far given a total of $9250 to Faulconer's 2016 reelection campaign committee.

The mayor and Katherine Stuart (left)

The mayor and Katherine Stuart (left)

Other recent $5000 donors to the mayor’s nonprofit include EMS Management of Greenwood Village, Colorado, a paramedic services contractor. The firm contributed the same last year.

EMS is a longtime giver to many San Diego politicos, including Democrat Myrtle Cole.

Yet another previous $5000 donor to the Faulconer fund, Vulcan Materials, gave the same on November 12, the filing says, as did the "Padres Foundation General Fund" on January 4. Padres L.P. gave $5000 last year.

One San Diego’s largest contribution of the new year has come from AT&T, which has a wide spectrum of interests in city decisions, including the controversial matter of the placement of cell-phone towers in city parks.

The communications giant, which contributed $50,000 on January 11, had previously given One San Diego $22,500 on September 16 of last year, according to filings.

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Bernnie Sanders will fix it all. Hit piece of the day.

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