Councilmember Chris Cate announces he leaked confidential memora - KUSI News - San Diego, CA

Councilmember Chris Cate announces he leaked confidential memorandum on SoccerCity proposal

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SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The mystery over who leaked a confidential City Attorney's memorandum on the SoccerCity proposal in Mission Valley was resolved Tuesday when Councilman Chris Cate stepped forward to claim responsibility.

At a news conference, Cate said he came forward more than three months after the leak became known because City Council members were questioned as part of a lawsuit in the matter.

Cate said the City Attorney's Office released two memos on the SoccerCity citizen's initiative, the first of which was public and the second of which was marked for attorney-client privilege. He said he was seeking information just days before a crucial vote on the project.

"Following the release of the second memo, I sent a copy to a representative of the SoccerCity team,'' Cate said, referring to an email to Craig Benedetto.

"I was not seeking to undermine the City Attorney or the city,'' he said. "My goal was to seek from the proponents input and clarification regarding the points that were raised.''

The 16-page confidential memo was issued June 15, and after it found its way into the hands of the developers, it was published on the San Diego Union-Tribune's website.

The document raised multiple issues with the plan for the project, which the City Council ultimately decided to put before voters sometime next year.

At a City Council meeting after the memo became public, City Attorney Mara Elliott called the leak an "egregious breach of public trust.'' She called on the responsible person to resign.

At the news conference, Cate said he did not intend to step down from office.

He said he and Elliott met earlier Tuesday. The City Attorney's Office had not issued comment by early afternoon. City lawyers had been investigating the leak.

Former San Diego City Councilmember Carl DeMaio released the following statement, saying he's shocked Cate, "does not see the severity of his breach of trust." 

“Councilmembers are routinely entrusted with confidential information and expected to keep this information private.  Releasing this information to a private developer potentially compromises the position of city taxpayers.Given his unrepentant announcement today, the San Diego City Council should immediately vote to remove Councilmember Cate from any Closed Session meetings and the City Attorney should refrain from sharing any confidential information with Cate’s office.

Given his inability to handle confidential information and his willingness to jeopardize the position of city taxpayers, Chris Cate should resign his position as it is clear he cannot be trusted with confidential information.”

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