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The Centre City Development Corp. has suspended its internal investigation into former president Nancy Graham’s involvement in a developer’s proposed project at 7th Avenue and Market Street downtown.

In a statement, the agency said it was taking the cost-saving step after reviewing Graham’s sworn testimony. She testified last summer that she had received money from an affiliate of the developer behind the downtown condominium and hotel project around the same time that developer was working out a development agreement with CCDC.

She reaped almost $3 million from her deal with the affiliate, The Related Group.

The Florida development company is partly owned by The Related Companies, which has proposed the 7th and Market project. Public officials are prohibited from influencing projects that can financially benefit them or their business partners.

Graham’s testimony contradicts her public statements and raises questions about whether she violated conflict-of-interest laws when meeting with Related’s California affiliate about a CCDC-sponsored project. Graham never disclosed the income on her statements of economic interest, as required by state and local laws.

While testifying, Graham said she was due 50 percent of payments and described one $125,000 payment being made in mid-2007 as “just mine.”

voiceofsandiego.org reviewed that testimony last week. I read portions of it to CCDC Chairman Fred Maas late Friday and asked whether it would be necessary for CCDC to continue its investigation once it obtained the document. The investigation aimed to establish whether Graham had acted improperly and create a timeline of her involvement.

“If there’s a smoking gun, there’s no sense continuing looking for the bullets,” Maas replied.

The status of 7th and Market is questionable. The project had been suspended pending the investigation’s results; CCDC’s news release said the agency would discuss the $409 million project at a special meeting Sept. 10.

ROB DAVIS

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