I was surprised to hear just now that I made a cameo in the AG’s report exonerating the mayor for any “corruption” in the Sunroad matter. Actually, the AG got my name wrong — it’s Scott Lewis, not “Fred Lewis” — but, hey, it’s just the attorney general, he’s got a lot on his plate.
Some background. When the Sunroad matter was really heating up, there emerged a rumor that the mayor had hired an executive from the airport authority to help him deal with the matter.
At the time, I called the mayor’s spokesman, Fred Sainz, to ask whether Sexton was hired for that purpose or not. In typical Sainz fashion (no way the mayor would ever use foul language!), he immediately and without hesitation said no and explained that Sexton was hired merely to help the administration evaluate the management of the airport assets it held. He described it as some kind of macro, comprehensive evaluation of the city’s airfields.
I didn’t print that because I wasn’t so sure what to believe. Later when the truth of the matter emerged and the mayor was forced to acknowledge Sexton’s true mission, I was on the radio and made a point of my conversation with Sainz as an example of how poorly the situation had been handled.
Even if nothing nefarious happened in the whole Sunroad debacle, the mayor deserved to be politically punished for it because of how he and his staff handled the fallout. Whether these were outright lies or mistakes that led to not-quite-truths, they made a bad situation look truly ugly.
If the mayor wasn’t doing something corrupt, it would have been a lot easier just to deal with what he was doing rather than to try to explain it away when people like me called.
Anyway, here is the AG on what happened after I called Sainz (note emphasis added at the part where my first name is erroneously replaced with an imposter).
On June 7, in the midst of the city attorney’s accusations against the mayor, a member of the press (likely Fred Lewis of the Voice of San Diego) asked the mayor’s spokesman, Fred Sainz, about Sexton’s role respecting the Centrum 12 building. Attachment 13. Unaware of the March letters between the mayor and Bersin, Sainz contacted Ronne Froman, who signed the MOU for the Sexton executive loan on behalf of the city. Froman provided Sainz with various documents concerning that agreement, none of which directly refer to the Sunroad building issue. Using these documents, Sainz prepared a Fact Sheet which he released to the press. Attachment 9. In pertinent part, the Fact Sheet stated, “Mr. Sexton was not brought on board to manage the Sunroad building issue.”
Later that day, Sainz briefed the mayor in advance of his weekly appearance on the Roger Hedgecock radio program, and the mayor made a similar statement about Sexton in response to a question from the host. On the following week’s show, the mayor corrected the record.
(A quick note: Yes, I know another Fred Lewis was famous in the local media world. His show, “The Heart of San Diego,” was a local staple. Unfortunately for all of us, Lewis and his well-known voice passed on in September 2007.)
Finally, you might also remember an e-mail I shared from Sainz around that time.
So here’s my question with that: According to this new report, Sainz told the AG’s office that Aguirre had tried to basically extort the Mayor’s Office — that unless the mayor supported Aguirre’s budget, Aguirre would call him corrupt.
This is an amazing accusation, and one that we’re going to be talking about for a while here. If true, it would be an absolutely despicable action by the city attorney.
But my question is simple: In that e-mail Sainz sent over to me last year when this supposedly happened, he did not hold back at all about what his and the office’s feelings were toward Aguirre. He basically called Aguirre a child.
If he wasn’t holding back, why wouldn’t he have also shared the fact that Aguirre had tried to extort them?
I’d have been interested in that.