Intrigue surrounding the June 24 city council vote for Campland, LLC's five-year sweetheart leasehold extension for choice Mission Bay frontage has deepened with a $4000 fine levied against Kevin Faulconer by the city's ethics commission on August 2
The resort’s principals, battling to renew their lucrative deal with the city, have long been major Faulconer political givers. Lead owner Michael Gelfand was one of the first special interests to max out to the mayor's 2013 election fund with $1000, and that was only the beginning.
More than $10,000 of Gelfand family cash has since streamed into the mayor's political coffers as the lease extension quietly made its way through city hall towards approval.
“We’re working our tails off to be able to stay where we are,” Campland general manager Marshall Wiseman told a reporter for the San Diego Community News Group in November 2012. “Campland (which opened in 1969) is the perfect use for land in Mission Bay Park. [Whatever the outcome], we will be on Mission Bay somehow.”
Part of Campland's "somehow" has turned out to be making a sizable charitable donation to Faulconer's tax-exempt corporation, One San Diego, which funds his annual Thanksgiving turkey handouts in poorer parts of town and other charitable giveaways, garnering the mayor favorable TV coverage.
That saga began on February 9, 2018, when Campland came up with a $10,000 contribution for One San Diego at the mayor's behest, according to a stipulated agreement between Faulconer and the ethics commission released August 8.
The document says the mayor failed to disclose Campland's 2018 contribution until August 2 of this year, a full 16 months after the legally mandated 30-day deadline to reveal payments over the city ethics law's $5000 threshold and safely after Campland bagged its deal in June.
Faulconer was tardy in reporting a bevy of other special interest money for his charity, the stipulation says, including $5000 on August 2, 2018, from Prime Steaks, run by mogul Dan Shea of Rancho Santa Fe. This was disclosed by the mayor six months late on December 4, 2018. Plus there were two $7,500 payments from U Stor It last September 18, but not reported until December 4, 2018, two months late.
"Seidler Kutsenda made one $10,000 payment to One San Diego," at Falconer's behest, the stipulation says, but the mayor " did not file a Form 803 to disclose these two payments until December 4, 2018, six weeks late." Peter Seidler is the is the General Partner of the San Diego Padres and the lead investor in the ballclub, which leases the city-owned downtown ballpark.
On October 3, 2018, the San Diego Association of Realtors made one $15,000 payment, disclosed by Faulconer a month late on December 4, 2018.
The mayor's emailed statement reported by the Union-Tribune that the late filings were "were the result of an unfortunate administrative error," have failed to dispel suspicions of Campland lease foes that the ethics stipulation was released to the public only after the final council vote to extend the resort's lease.
So-called charitable behests by city officials with varying degrees of power over a range of issues regarding the welfare of special interests are not limited to the mayor, recent filings with the city clerk's office show.
Council Democrat Vivian Moreno disclosed August 7 that she had caused Pardee Homes to come up with $5000 for the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center on July 31. The same day, according to another August 7 Moreno filing, San Diego Gas & Electric kicked in $7000 for the project.
On August 6, Moreno disclosed a July 26 contribution of $5000 to the museum from CR Lumina Group, LLC, partnered with ColRich development in an 85-acre Otay Mesa land deal, according to the San Diego Business Journal.
On August 8, the mayor's fellow Republican, Sixth District councilman Chris Cate, reported giving $5000 from Vulcan Materials Company to One San Diego to fund a back-to-school backpack giveaway. The company is the midst of seeking city approvals for Stone Creek, a massive development of 293 acres in Cate's district.
The company employs influence peddler and former Civic San Diego board member Phil Rath, who ran afoul of the ethics commission in August of last year, agreeing to pay an $11,000 fine for "failing to timely disclose the income his firm received from Affirmed Housing, and for participating in Civic San Diego matters that financially benefited Affirmed Housing," per a commission news release.