With the Chargers safely out of town, Kevin Faulconer’s allies have been upping their post-game attack on team owner Dean Spanos and special counsel Mark Fabiani for setting up the mayor for political failure.
“Throughout 2015, Fabiani worked tirelessly to sabotage any stadium progress in San Diego,” charges public relations maven and ex–Faulconer city hall aide Tony Manolatos, who staffed the mayor’s so-called independent stadium task force two years ago. “He did so because Spanos needed to prove to NFL owners that a deal could not be reached in San Diego.”
Not mentioned by Manolatos was Fabiani’s February 17, 2015, letter to Faulconer, calling out a series of alleged ethical and legal missteps by the mayor’s top political aide Jason Roe, commonly referred to in local political circles as the mayor’s brain. “What legal and ethical issues are raised by Mr. Roe’s dual role as an apparent de facto Task Force member and as a registered lobbyist for the Delaware North company, which is bidding to become the new concessionaire at Qualcomm Stadium and, potentially, at any new stadium in San Diego?” queried Fabiani.
“Putting the legal and ethical issues aside for a moment, what sense does it make to have someone who is your chief advisor on political matters, and who advises a potential stadium vendor on business matters, play any sort of role with the ‘independent’ Task Force?”
The mayor subsequently awarded the contract to Roe’s client, shortly after which Roe quietly exited the city hall influence-peddling business. “Spanos and Fabiani did leave us with a parting gift,” groused Manolatos. “They dropped their news on the same day as the mayor’s State of the City address. That wasn’t by accident. They wanted to step on the mayor’s news.”
With Roe seemingly destined for a big role in any bid by Republican Faulconer for higher office — including a putative race for California governor in 2018 — stepping on the mayor’s news is regarded as a high crime and misdemeanor by his brain trust, including staffers who revolve on and off the public payroll as politics demand.
An example is Anthony George, onetime intern at Roe’s Revolvis Consulting and a former Faulconer campaign aide who in early 2014 went to work at city hall as the mayor’s “community representative” for Mission Valley, including Qualcomm Stadium. Last February, as the Fabiani controversy kicked into high gear, George mysteriously left city employ for what the mayor’s spokeswoman Jen LeBron Kuhney would only call a “leave of absence.” Soon thereafter George surfaced as Faulconer’s deputy campaign manager, before returning to his tax-funded city gig following the mayor’s June 2016 reelection.
Faulconer’s chief of staff Stephen Puetz is another Roe veteran. “Puetz was named campaign manager of the year by the American Association of Political Consultants for his role in electing Mayor Faulconer,” says his LinkedIn profile.