Freedom of Information Is Supreme

San Diego

The dates at the beginning of each listing are approximate.  Go here for a list of all names in this site.

Access to the Los Angeles Times links may require the use of a library card.

2011-12: A mistrial was declared in the trial of Mario Sierra, former San Diego director of transportation and storm water, who was accused of child molestation. He was arraigned in February 2011 and tried the next year.

Seven jurors said Sierra was not guilty, three voted guilty and two were undecided. The judge said he did not think another jury would be able to reach a verdict either.

Lindsay Hood, “City Official Arrested for Alleged Child Molestation,” NBC San Diego, February 15, 2011 (with photo)

Mark Heaslet, “Mistrial Declared for Former City Official,” NBC San Diego, February 1, 2012 (with photo)

2011: Carolyn Smith and Dante Dayacap, two top officials of the city of San Diego’s Southeast Development Corporation , were charged with conspiracy, embezzlement and misappropriation of funds for allegedly fattening their pay with secret bonuses and other payments over a three-year period. Both pleaded guilty and were freed of prison time, but they were sentenced to repay the city of San Diego $435,018, at the rate of $100 a month each.

Will Carless, “SEDC Felons,” Voice of San Diego, April 30, 2012 (with photo)

2005: City Council Member Michael Zucchet, charged with extortion, wire fraud and conspiracy in “accepting campaign contributions from a Las Vegas strip-club owner and his lobbyist in exchange for relaxing city laws prohibiting dancers from touching patrons.”

The jury’s convictions on seven of the nine counts were reversed by the trial judge at sentencing, and the other two counts were later dismissed on motion of the U.S. attorney.

Greg Moran, “Corruption Case Against Ex-Councilman Ends,” Union-Tribune, October 13, 2010]

2005: Ralph Inzunza, City Council member convicted of extortion, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud; sentenced to 21 months.

Matt Potter, “A Guide to Ralph Inzunza’s Life in Prison,” San Diego Reader, February 6, 2012

2002–10: Charges were dismissed in April 2010 in the case of Ronald Saathoff, Cathy Lewin, Teresa Webster, Lawrence Grissom and Loraine Chapin, members of the City Retirement Board who were accused of wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy. Prosecutors claimed in 2006 and 2008 that the five schemed to have the San Diego retirement board pass a plan in 2002 to “underfund the pension system” in favor of special treatment for Saathoff.

A judge dismissed the complaint, calling the law under which they were charged a “model of vagueness.” Earlier, the California Supreme Court had dismissed conflict-of-interest charges against Lexin and Webster.

Charges Dismissed Against 5 Pension Officials,”, April 7, 2010

1986: Councilman Uvaldo Martinez, who did 400 days of community service and repaid $607.80 in restitution for using a city credit card for personal use, avoiding trial on 24 felony counts by accepting a plea deal.

Jim Schachter, “Martinez Sentenced to Community Work,” Los Angeles Times, November 14, 1986, page SD-A-1

1985–90: Mayor Roger Hedgecock, convicted in 1985 of one count of conspiracy and twelve counts of perjury related to failure to report all campaign contributions. The twelve counts of perjury were dismissed in 1990 after a series of appeals alleging juror misconduct. Hedgecock accepted conviction on the single remaining felony charge, which was reduced to a misdemeanor and then dismissed.

Alex Roth, “S,D. History Peppered With Untimely Exits, Many Amid Charges,” San Diego Union-Tribune, April 26, 2005

1967–71: Mayor Frank Curran, City Council members Allen Hitch, Mike Schaefer, Floyd Morrow and Helen Cobb, State Assembly member Tom Hom and County Supervisors Harry Scheidle and Jack Walsh, charged with bribery and conspiracy in the granting of a fare increase to the Yellow Cab Company in 1967 when all had been members of the City Council.

They were all acquitted, except for Hitch, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was fined $750.

Richard C. Paddock, “The Cab Scandal That Changed S.D. Politics,” Los Angeles Times, October 8, 1980, page SD-A-1

1925: Councilman Harry K. Weitzel, accused of agreeing to accept bribes to buy the Cuyamaca water system and bring about the annexation of East San Diego. Conviction reversed on appeal.

“This Day in Our Region’s History,”

“Defense Scores Point,” Los Angeles Times, December 3, 1926, page 10


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