Nancy Graham, the former Centre City Development Corp. president who resigned nearly two years ago, is due before the San Diego Ethics Commission this week and next.

The commission has alleged that Graham broke city laws by improperly making decisions in office that benefited her business associates. It has proposed a maximum $170,000 fine against Graham. While at CCDC, Graham sat in on negotiations about a downtown hotel with Lennar Corp., her former business partner. She hadn’t disclosed the more than $3 million in income she received from a business deal with the company.

Graham, who has since pleaded no contest to a failure to disclose her economic interests while president, has a hearing on a narrow set of issues Thursday before the commission.

Her attorney, Paul Pfingst, is contesting the commission’s jurisdiction in the case and arguing that the 34 counts filed against her should be condensed to one. He argues that her many meetings with Lennar — each charged as separate counts — constitute one event, not many.

The commission argues that Pfingst’s questions about jurisdiction amount to a “hypertechnical distinction” in the law. In a legal brief, its attorney, Alison Adema, dismissed Pfingst’s argument for condensing the charges as “absurd,” and noted that Graham’s involvement in the hotel project over a two-year period constituted multiple violations of city law. The law, she wrote, is designed to punish all efforts to improperly influence municipal decisions — not just the first.

That will be heard at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Graham is also due before the commission for an administrative hearing next Thursday, May 20, at 9 a.m. That hearing will allow both sides to present and argue the full case.


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