Wednesday, August 5, 2009 | As the saga of the private pledges to the Library Foundation for construction of the new downtown library drags on, in the words of Alice during her adventures in “Alice in Wonderland” things are becoming “curiouser and curiouser”. In fact, unless the Mayor’s Office has so far undisclosed information to the contrary, most or all the pledges totaling $37 million simply do not exist and appear to be a figment of the mayor’s imagination. This writer has examined three sets of official documents that should record the pledges and found none.

The first document, Form 990, is the required annual financial report filed with the IRS by the Library Foundation, a 501(c) (3) charity. The latest filing by the library foundation dated February 4, 2009 does not, as required by law if they exist, list the pledges in accounts receivable.

Similarly, the annual financial audits for the last three years of the foundation conspicuously lack any pledges close to $37 million in accounts receivable:

Recently, the city filed for an extension for the $20 million state grant to defray the costs of building the new downtown library. In the Section on Financial Information there is a line for private funds. Surely, the pledges would be listed there.

But no, the box is blank and the pledges, if they exist, are lurking somewhere in the shadows away from public view.

Put simply, this is not the way to conduct public business in San Diego especially given its current financial condition.

So two questions for the mayor: Can you provide the public with concrete evidence that these pledges exist? Second, how much is the public in the hole for if the pledges are just fantasy? If the pledges exist can you assure the public that none of the donors, directly or indirectly, benefit financially from the library project?

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