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Day Nine of Petty Watch, which officially began last Monday, and there’s still no response from Southeastern Economic Development Corp. Corporate Counsel Regina Petty about whether she will make her legal bills available.

As anyone who’s been checking our site knows, I put in a California Public Records Act request to Petty early last month asking her to produce detailed invoices of her legal bills to SEDC. Because SEDC is a taxpayer-funded public agency, Petty’s invoices are public records that must be made available by law.

On Thursday, Sept. 25, three weeks after I had submitted the request, I called Petty’s office to find out when the documents would be available. (By law, SEDC had 10 days to respond to the request). I spoke to Petty’s assistant, who told me that she had just spent five hours collating the records, and that they were ready for me to view, except that Petty had to look at them first.

Then the assistant told me Petty was going on holiday to France the next day and wouldn’t be back until Thursday, Oct. 2. As soon as Petty got back, I’d get the documents, I was told.

My wife had a baby on Oct.2, so I wasn’t in the office until Monday, Oct. 6. On that day, and on every business day since, I have called Petty’s office. Each time, the person answering the phone has told me that neither Petty, nor her assistant, is available.

That was the case again today. The person answering the phone said she’d been instructed to put me through to Petty’s voicemail, and did. Petty’s voicemail message said the mailbox is full, so I called back and left another message.

It’s important to note that, in addition to representing SEDC, Petty is also the attorney for the San Diego County Employees Retirement Account and the San Diego Convention Center Corp.

Both of those organizations, incidentally, handed over Petty’s invoices within a week of me asking for them. The invoices show that Petty often charges tens of thousands of dollars for a month’s work.

In January 2007, for example, Petty charged SDCERA $53,418 for a month’s work. The next month, she billed taxpayers for $38,584.50 and in March 2008, she charged the taxpayers $32,277.

I’d like to know how much SEDC has paid for Petty’s services, but she won’t answer the phone and she won’t produce the documents.

WILL CARLESS

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