City Councilman Jim Madaffer this afternoon fired off a pointed memo to the Southeastern Economic Development Corp. board, warning that board members could be personally liable for any actions the lame duck board takes that are detrimental to the city of San Diego.

My colleague Will Carless detailed the raft of items the board has on its plate today and tomorrow, including a number of contracts and important lawsuits concerning the redevelopment authority and its outgoing president, Carolyn Y. Smith. Four members of the board, who have all been Smith allies, are slated for replacement at the next City Council meeting Sept. 2.

Madaffer asks the board to suspend any business that isn’t time sensitive so that it can be handled by the new board. Three of the five board members who will remain on the reconstituted board have been critical of the troubled agency.

He wrote:

You are well aware that replacement directors for the corporation have been docketed for approval by the City Council next week and if it were not for the current City Council recess, these replacement appointments would have already taken place.

I want to take this opportunity as a member of the shareholder body your corporation serves, to put you on notice as a fiduciary to the corporation that any steps that you may take prior to the new Board appointments that would bind or otherwise cause expense to the corporation that might later be determined to be detrimental to the organization could be assessed to you personally.

Madaffer added, “I will consider pursuing actions against you for any actions that you are obviously aware should be left to the next Board of Directors.”

Among the items up for discussion include an apparent request by Smith for indemnification for a lawsuit brought against her by City Attorney Mike Aguirre and a response to a lawsuit challenging the validity of Smith’s severance package because it was agreed on in closed session.

The SEDC board today ignored a similar, though less strongly worded, memo from the city’s chief operating officer, Jay Goldstone, asking that the board not take any action on its search for a new president and interim general manager.


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