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I just chatted with Craig Benedetto, a lobbyist and spokesman for Cricket Communications, who contested a North County Times story we wrote about last week.

The story included these graphs:

New details about a meeting between county Supervisor Bill Horn and the chief executive of a wireless company with a controversial cell-tower project before the county government have cast doubt on the supervisor’s credibility and raised questions about the legality of the meeting. …

[L]ast week, the supervisor defended his meeting and criticized the North County Times in an e-mail to constituents and in a new feature on the county’s Web site called “The Whole Story.” Among other things, Horn said all four of his fellow supervisors had also met with [Leap Wireless president Doug] Hutcheson.

However, county supervisors Ron Roberts, Greg Cox, Dianne Jacob and Pam Slater-Price all said through their top aides this week that they had not met with either Hutcheson or Benedetto.

Not so, Benedetto said. Hutcheson met with Roberts on April 16, 2007, Benedetto said, and with land-use aides for Cox, Jacob and Slater-Price on March 28, 2007.

The meetings were not illegal, Benedetto said. They didn’t discuss specific projects, which are prohibited under county rules, but instead talked about Leap’s launch of Cricket Communications, and the cell-phone carrier’s demographics and expected San Diego presence.

“We never talked about any site-specific issues,” Benedetto said. “I know the county’s parameters. I don’t put my clients in that position.”

ROB DAVIS

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