Publisher Sues San Diego, Alleging City is Stonewalling Data on 101 Ash Debacle

Let me predict the future.  At this time the Democrat Mayor of San Diego is withholding the files on the corruption dealing with a building Mayor Kevin Faulconer used tax dollars to buy—and turned into a massive disaster financially.  It has caused the FBI and other agencies to investigate how this happened.  If it looks like Faulconer has a shot fo beating Gavin Newsom in the Recall, the new Mayor, Todd Gloria will release the files, the data, the tapes, etc.  That could be the need of Faulconer.  His fate is now in the hands of the Democrats—think they are not making him sweat?

“Based on a leaked document, Dorian Hargrove and Tom Jones of NBC San Diego published a blockbuster story alleging misdeeds by mayoral candidate Todd Gloria and City Attorney Mara Elliott.

Gloria and Elliott, along with attorneys who authored a report on 101 Ash, blasted the KNSD story, saying the footnote was fabricated, leading to a retraction and a suspension of the reporters.

On Oct. 12, 2020, Hargrove filed a claim against the city for an unspecified amount exceeding $25,000, saying he had “suffered damage to his reputation as a journalist, loss of income and likely the loss of his career as a journalist and severe emotional distress.”

Gloria won his point—now when will he release the files showing the actions of Mayor Faulconer?

Publisher Sues San Diego, Alleging City is Stonewalling Data on 101 Ash Debacle

by Ken Stone, Times of San Diego,  2/25/21 

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San Diego city officials are facing a lawsuit and a potential lawsuit over how they dealt with journalists seeking information on the 101 Ash Street scandal, especially a “fabricated” footnote.

On Feb. 18, Arturo “Art” Castañares, publisher of La Prensa San Diego, filed a state Public Records Act request for documents about the ill-fated and still-empty city building that became an issue in the mayor’s race.

When the city’s response was deemed unacceptable, former San Diego city attorney candidate Cory Briggs on Monday sued on behalf of Castañares in San Diego Superior Court.

The case, assigned to Judge Timothy Taylor, focuses on a purported Footnote 15 of an independent investigation into the city’s acquisition of the former Sempra Energy headquarters beset by asbestos and other problems.

Based on a leaked document, Dorian Hargrove and Tom Jones of NBC San Diego published a blockbuster story alleging misdeeds by mayoral candidate Todd Gloria and City Attorney Mara Elliott.

Gloria and Elliott, along with attorneys who authored a report on 101 Ash, blasted the KNSD story, saying the footnote was fabricated, leading to a retraction and a suspension of the reporters.

On Oct. 12, 2020, Hargrove filed a claim against the city for an unspecified amount exceeding $25,000, saying he had “suffered damage to his reputation as a journalist, loss of income and likely the loss of his career as a journalist and severe emotional distress.”

Besides the fabrication allegation, Hargrove said he was wrongfully threatened with criminal prosecution by Assistant City Attorney John Hemmerling.

Elliott and other city employees made “baseless, inflammatory and unsupported defamatory statements about Mr. Hargrove with the intent to discredit him and destroy his career as a journalist,” says the claim obtained by Times of San Diego.

City officials, it said, engaged in a civil conspiracy to conceal wrongdoing with respect to the 101 Ash St. deal; intentional misrepresentation; negligent misrepresentation; intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress against Hargrove.

“We are informed and believe that Ms. Elliott and other City employees made false, misleading and baseless statements to NBC in an effort to have him publicly discredited — again all to gain advantage in an election,” says the claim, submitted by Marlea F. Dell’Anno on Hargrove’s behalf. “Ms. Elliott and other city employees used the power of the City Attorney’s office to give credibility to assertions for which she had no factual basis.”

The Castañares suit seeks a court order to share more documents on an investigation by the Burke Williams Sorenson law firm.

He said he’d undertaken his own investigation into the accusations against other journalists to “figure out whether Mr. Gloria, Ms. Elliott, or both of them lied when they claimed that Footnote 15 had been fabricated.”

Castañares said he then discovered “irregularities” in the accusations made by Gloria and Elliott.

He alleged that the City Attorney’s Office falsely denied the existence of more than one version of the BWS investigatory report.

But a document shared with La Prensa suggested otherwise.

The city’s public records administrator on Sept. 30, 2020, wrote to staff that: “Per City Attorney’s Office, the actual memo/report provided by Burke Williams Sorenson is privileged in its original or edited version” — meaning it couldn’t be made public.

Hilary Nemchik, spokeswoman for the City Attorney’s Office, said Thursday that “we’ll review the [La Prensa] complaint and respond through the courts.”

Regarding the 4-month-old Hargrove claim — which is supposed to be addressed within 45 days — Nemchik said: “I believe the claim is still with Risk Management, so I’d refer you to City Communications.”

City Communications didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither did Mayor Gloria’s office nor NBC San Diego General Manager Todd Mokhtari.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. Karen L Dale says

    Why is there a photo of KF here? Although involved, he’s not mentioned in the story.

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