Supervisor Dianne Jacob, chairwoman of the county Board of Supervisors, said tonight that she doesn’t want to reappoint airport authority Chairman Bob Watkins when his term expires Jan. 31 and plans to talk to him about whether he should resign before then.
“Just reading the newspaper accounts, I’m extremely troubled by the chain of events, the pattern of misinformation, what appears to be a violation of disclosure laws,” she said. “There’s a violation here of the public trust. That in and of itself with a public official would tend to distract from the work and what the airport authority is supposed to be concentrating on.”
“It’s not just one event,” she said. “Something needs to be done.”
Jacob said she could use the three-strike-and-you’re-out rule.
Asked how many strikes she thought Watkins had, she replied, “Have there been three articles?”
Jacob said Watkins’ conflict-of-interest disclosure forms, which do not report property that records show he owns near Lindbergh Field, should be turned over to the state Fair Political Practices Commission to investigate. She said she wanted to have a “heart-to-heart talk” with Watkins and get his side of the story.
Jacob stopped short of specifically calling for Watkins to resign. “We’re going to talk about that,” she said.
Watkins has come under scrutiny as we’ve revealed inconsistencies in his explanation for a trip the airport authority sent him on to London last October. He initially said the trip was to support Zoom Airlines, which briefly provided direct flights between San Diego and London. But it had gone bankrupt by the time the trip happened.
He initially said he’d gone to the Chargers-Saints game in London with a member of Parliament involved in airport security issues. The airport authority later corrected Watkins and said he went with James Burrows, then the CEO of Litelogic, a British company that puts LED advertisements on buses and that had interest in doing business in San Diego. We later found out that Burrows is married to Watkins’ niece.
Watkins was appointed to the airport authority in late 2006. The sheriff nominated him and the supervisors confirmed him. Mayor Jerry Sanders appointed him chairman in July.
Darren Pudgil, a spokesman for Sanders, didn’t return repeated calls today inquiring about whether the mayor stands behind Watkins.