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When I first spoke to Centre City Development. Corp President Nancy Graham in May about her previous business relationship with the affiliate of a downtown developer, she offered CCDC board chairman Fred Maas as a reference to verify that she’d had nothing to do with it.
Maas stood up for Graham. He continued that defense when she resigned. He said he took Graham at her word when she said she didn’t have an undisclosed conflict of interest regarding a proposed $409 million downtown development. “Transparency during her tenure has been without rival,” Maas said at the July 24 news conference announcing Graham’s resignation.
Yesterday, CCDC suspended its investigation of the circumstances surrounding Graham’s resignation, which came after questions were raised about her involvement in the developer’s downtown project. The suspension indicates that CCDC believed it was unnecessary to continue spending money on an investigation that aimed to determine whether Graham had a conflict of interest in being involved in the project.
She admitted under oath last year that she had received almost $3 million in income from a Florida developer — some of which came at the same time she was involved at CCDC in meetings about its affiliate’s project in San Diego.
I asked Maas whether he believed Graham had lied to him and whether his decision to defend her was a mistake.
“There were enough discrepancies as the layers of the onion continued to be peeled back that make me uncomfortable in retrospect,” he said.