City Attorney calls for resignation of person who leaked memo to FS Investors

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The city attorney for San Diego is calling for the resignation of whomever leaked a confidential document to a local developer group. 

City Attorney Mara Elliott said a confidential memorandum sent June 15 to Mayor Kevin Faulconer and San Diego’s nine city council members was leaked to FS Investors — the group behind the proposed Qualcomm Stadium redevelopment project  — ahead of the city council’s vote on whether or not to send the SoccerCity initiative to voters during a 2017 special election. The city council ultimately decided to place the proposal on a November 2018 general election ballot. 

The memorandum was sent to San Diego leaders to outline what legal hurdles the city may face in negotiating the terms of the Qualcomm Stadium lease if the initiative were to pass and any potential risks involved, according to a statement from Elliott. The memorandum was requested by the Mayor and council members to better understand how to protect city interests during the negotiation. 

Elliott did not say who she believes may have leaked the document, but called it a betrayal to taxpayers. 

"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."

Wednesday, Councilman David Alvarez called on the City Attorney’s office to investigate how the memo made its way into the developers hands.

Nick Stone, Project Manager for Goal SD — the group behind the SoccerCity initiative — released a statement Thursday, calling the incident an "internal city issue." 

"This appears to be an internal city issue. The document did not come to me from a city employee. Had I been aware that the memo was not intended to be made public, I would not have shared it with my attorney — and he certainly would not have referenced it in a public letter," Stone said. "In our minds, this memo was consistent with an earlier public memo about the initiative from the City Attorney’s Office that was sent to the media even before it was released to the client, the City Council and the Mayor.  This is important information not typically kept secret from the public by its attorney, so we are pleased the public — who are the ultimate owners of the City Attorney’s work product — will have a chance to review it."

Craig Gustafson of the Mayor’s office said in a statement that no one in the Mayor’s Office released the confidential memo.

" … We are not aware of who distributed the document and it should not have been released," Gustafson said.

Read the leaked memorandum to Mayor Faulconer and San Diego City Council members here. The City Attorney’s statement on the leak can be read in full below

Categories: Local San Diego News