The Morning Report
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Minutes after he declared victory in last nights election for city attorney, Jan Goldsmith mused on the last few months of the election campaign and on Aguirre’s tenure as city attorney. Most of all, Goldsmith said, over the last four years, Aguirre has lacked judgment when it came to deciding when to push and when to hold back in taking on legal fights.
He cited as an example Aguirre’s handling of the bonus scandal at the Southeastern Economic Development Corp.
After it was revealed that the president of SEDC had been paying herself and her staff hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses that had not been approved by the City Council or the agency’s board of directors, Aguirre remained uncharacteristically reserved, Goldsmith said.
“SEDC was a good example. I think he was too timid, which was so out of character. I would have appointed a financial receiver a long time ago. It was our money that was in the hands of a group that was doing things that were appropriate. I would have been more aggressive than him,” Goldsmith said.
Aguirre filed a civil lawsuit against SEDC’s president, Carolyn Y. Smith, seeking to recoup some $250,000 she had approved in bonuses for herself, but he later dropped that lawsuit after Mayor Jerry Sanders asked District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to investigate the agency.
When he dropped the lawsuit against Smith, Aguirre promised that he would revive it if and when Dumanis failed to take action against the SEDC president. So far, there’s been no action from Dumanis and none from Aguirre either.
Goldsmith didn’t want to elaborate on his plans for SEDC, saying only that he will take a close look at the issue. The city attorney-elect has said several times that he will not be announcing investigations before they are conducted, and will only go public with the findings of such investigations once they are complete.