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At an afternoon press conference, Mayor Jerry Sanders said the Securities and Exchange Commission’s civil charges against five former city employees represented a step toward closing the city’s sordid financial past.

Sanders said he believed the SEC action put the city at the brink of closing a “shameful chapter of San Diego city government history.”

“I don’t think there’s much left for them to investigate,” Sanders said. “It sounds like we’re pretty close to a close, if not there.”

The mayor, who is running for reelection on a platform centered on his financial reforms, characterized the charges as an opportunity for the city to move forward, highlighting his reforms as a way to shed the city’s “shameful past.”

Jay Goldstone, the city’s chief operating officer, said the SEC took stronger action here than it had in Orange County, which declared bankruptcy in 1994 after a string of financial mismanagement decisions.

“This is unprecedented in my experience, where they’ve come after a municipal (bond) issuer,” Goldstone said. “They’re clearly trying to send a message to all municipal issuers, whether cities, counties or states, that they have to take more care in the disclosure of public bond offerings.”


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