June 30, 2017 (San Diego) we have a mystery in the City of San Diego. Who leaked a confidential memo to FS Investors? This memo allegedly detailed the strategies the city would follow in negotiations over Soccer City and the Qualcomm Stadium property. Among other details, the memo contained legal strategies, and what would survive legal challenges.
This is not minor.
This has led to calls for investigations. Whether it is David Alvarez who released to the public the 2012 memo on how the city could deal with this property, to the City Attorney, Mara Elliot. Who has called for the resignation of whoever did it. Here is the statement in full:
City Attorney Statement on
Release of Confidential Memorandum
City Attorney Mara W. Elliott today issued the following statement on the unauthorized release to proponents of the Soccer City ballot initiative of a confidential City memorandum:
This week I learned that a confidential memorandum from the City Attorney to the Mayor and City Council, dated June 15, 2017, has been provided to FS Investors, the group behind the Soccer City ballot initiative that will go before voters next year. The 16-page memorandum analyzes the City’s position and risks as it negotiates the terms of the
Qualcomm Stadium lease that would be required should the Soccer City initiative pass. The Mayor and City Council members requested this analysis so they could best protect the public’s interest in their dealings with FS Investors. Nearly a dozen attorneys in my office devoted hundreds of hours toresearching and preparing this memorandum.
The person or persons who gave this confidential legal analysis to FS Investors did more than commit a crime. They betrayed the taxpayers of San Diego.
Make no mistake: this was not a “leak” to inform the public. This was a covert and strategic act that undermines the City’s position in negotiations. It was committed by a person or persons who clearly have greater allegiance to FS Investors than to the citizens they serve. I have asked Nick Stone of FS Investors, through his attorney Christopher Garrett of Latham & Watkins LLP, to explain to me how he came into possession of this confidential document. He has yet to respond. I ask him again to come forward and make a full accounting on the record.
Given this egregious breach of public trust, I further expect that the person or persons responsible will step forward, identify themselves, and resign their positions with the City.
Who would have access to this memo? The Mayor, all 9 council members and some of their respective staffs. This memo was not widely spread. There is more. The city attorney, if there was enough for a criminal prosecution, cannot do it. The office is supposed to defend the city, presumably, this will include this person or persons. So we expect this matter to be referred to the District Attorney for further investigation, and or prosecution.
On Tuesday Council Member Alvarez also released a non-confidential memo from 2012, that details the procedures the city could follow to sell the Q property. In the memo, Alvarez also stated that Mayor Kevin Faulconer has not followed the procedure stated by this memo. He cites a Union-Tribune story from May 19. The article detailed exclusive negotiations between the mayor and FS Investors. There were “25 private meetings between the Mayor, City Staff and FS Investors conducted between January 2016 and February 2017.”
Alvarez declares in that document that the property should be declared a surplus property. This will not only increase transparency but allow other stakeholders to openly bid for the property. He is also asking that this is docketed, which would start an open and transparent process.
We still have a mystery. One that might become a full-fledged scandal. One where special interests were put above those of the city at large.