The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
Nancy Graham, the former Centre City Development Corp. president, is due in San Diego Superior Court Friday.
It’ll be Graham’s first personal court appearance in the cases stemming from her undisclosed financial relationships at CCDC, San Diego’s downtown redevelopment agency. And it will be her first public appearance in San Diego since resigning from CCDC last summer.
If Graham does appear — and a judge said he expected her to — she’ll have to explain why it’s taken her six months to provide records that the San Diego Ethics Commission has asked her for. The ethics commission subpoenaed the records in April as part of its investigation examining whether Graham violated city laws prohibiting officials from influencing decisions that can benefit their business partners.
At a Tuesday hearing, a judge told Graham’s attorney, Paul Pfingst, that Graham should answer in person — not through her attorney — to the commission’s request for the judge to hold her in contempt for ignoring the subpoena.
The commission, which enforces city ethics rules, subpoenaed copies of Graham’s financial records from a Florida business deal she did with two developers, The Related Group and Lennar Corp. Graham has admitted receiving $125,000 from the deal while she worked at CCDC.
Graham did not report the money on annual conflict-of-interest statements despite city laws requiring her to. Her lack of disclosure led to the cancellation or delay of more than $1.8 billion in downtown redevelopment projects.
Graham initially refused to provide records the commission sought. She pleaded the Fifth Amendment, saying that they could be incriminating. A judge rejected her argument.
Graham has since provided some records, the commission’s court filings state, but they’ve accounted for only about $1.1 million of the more than $3 million she earned from the development deal.
The ethics commission’s attorney, Alison Adema, said in filings that Graham and Pfingst had ignored straightforward court orders, offered “patently false” statements and provided a limited number of records only after the commission sought to hold them in contempt of court.
“[Graham] and her attorney have been willful in their reckless disregard of the Commission’s subpoena and the Superior Court’s orders,” Adema said in an Oct. 19 court filing.
Adema has asked the judge to fine Graham $2,500 for not following court orders and require her to pay the commission’s court costs and attorney’s fees, which total $21,354.
The judge, Ronald F. Frazier, chided Pfingst during the Tuesday hearing for delaying the commission’s investigation but put off any ruling until Friday. “With all due respect, this is a delay,” Frazier told Pfingst. “The court feels there’s a strong effort to delay.”
Pfingst said there was no attempt to delay. He said Graham had provided all the relevant financial records. The unaccounted-for $2 million didn’t go to Graham, he said, but straight to someone who sold a home she purchased in Tennessee, where her family lives. Those records haven’t been provided yet, though. Graham has until Friday to do so.