A legal opinion issued this week by City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to the mayor and the City Council states that eliminating the city’s two nonprofit redevelopment corporation — the Southeastern Economic Development Corp. and the Centre City Development Corp. — is the best way to protect the city from legal liability.

Boiled down, the memo says this: The city doesn’t have adequate control over CCDC and SEDC, given that it’d have to pay the agencies’ legal bills if there was “evidence of wrongdoing” at either.

CCDC and SEDC are structured as nonprofit agencies outside of the typical City Hall bureaucracy, an arrangement that is unique statewide. While they function as arms of the city’s Redevelopment Agency, which oversees projects in areas such as Grantville and North Park, the structure does not adequately protect the city, Goldsmith’s memo states.

The memo reads:

This office leaves to the policymakers consideration of policy reasons for maintaining the two corporate entities. However, the best way to protect the Agency’s assets is to eliminate the corporate entities, transfer their redevelopment functions to the Redevelopment Agency, and institute internal controls.

The memo is the latest indication from City Hall that the city’s leaders are seriously considering restructuring the city’s redevelopment efforts — a step that could include eliminating CCDC and SEDC and folding their duties into the existing Redevelopment Agency. Mayor Jerry Sanders is also considering whether to consolidate the two agencies into one nonprofit, as well as whether to amend the operating agreements between the city and the agencies to include more oversight.

CCDC is not searching for a replacement for Nancy Graham, its former president, because of concerns that the job may change significantly in the future. SEDC has been urged to similarly delay its search.

The organizations have been in turmoil in the wake of voiceofsandiego.org investigations into SEDC and CCDC.


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