Friday, September 26, 2008

CCDC's Nancy Graham charged with ethics violations and conflict of interest

Why didn't Bonnie Dumanis' Public Integrity Unit file charges in this case?

Criminal Charges Brought Against Nancy Graham
Sept. 12, 2008

City Attorney Mike Aguirre's office has charged former Centre City Development Corp. President Nancy Graham with three misdemeanors, alleging that she improperly used her position and failed to disclose her potential conflicts-of-interest.

The charges, filed Wednesday in San Diego Superior Court, say Graham participated in a decision in which she had a financial interest. Graham also faces two counts of violating local ethics rules. One count alleges that Graham influenced the negotiations of a downtown condominium and hotel project at CCDC, the city's downtown redevelopment agency, when she knew it could benefit a former business partner.

The other count says Graham failed to accurately disclose her economic interests. Before moving to San Diego in 2005, Graham worked as a developer in Florida, where she had a business relationship with The Related Group, a large Florida development company. Together, they built a mixed-use condominium project, a partnership that Graham estimated had paid her almost $3 million as of last summer -- including a $125,000 payment that came in mid-2007. Graham did not subsequently report that income on the annual conflict-of-interest form that public officials are required to submit to the city.

The charges say that Graham and her husband began receiving income on March 7, 2006 and continued receiving payments through April or May of 2007.

Graham received the money while she participated in negotiations at CCDC about a city-subsidized $409-million, 41-story hotel and condominium project proposed by The Related Cos., an affiliate and part owner of Graham's Florida business partner. CCDC selected the company as the project's preferred developer in March 2007.

The project at 7th Avenue and Market Street downtown would have been built atop city land and included an $8.7 million city subsidy for including affordable housing. CCDC's board unanimously voted Wednesday to kill that project, citing Graham's involvement and undisclosed business partnership.

State and local laws prohibit public officials from influencing decisions that can benefit themselves, their spouses or their business associates. The laws extend the prohibition for a year after receiving money from a source...

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