Stacey Fulhorst, the San Diego Ethics Commission’s executive director, is urging the organization’s board to fine former CCDC president Nancy Graham $60,500 — not $25,000 — for failing to disclose income from a downtown developer and negotiating a deal that would’ve benefited it.

The $25,000 fine proposed earlier this week by three members of the five-member commission doesn’t account for Graham’s “intent to deceive and mislead … and the overall seriousness of her violations,” Fulhorst wrote in a brief to the commission.

Graham, who resigned as the Centre City Development Corp.’s president in July 2008, had undisclosed financial ties while there to the Lennar Corp., a partner in the $1.5 billion Ballpark Village project proposed adjacent to Petco Park. While at CCDC, she received income from a private business deal she’d earlier done with Lennar. She didn’t report the money on her annual financial disclosure forms.

Graham initially denied having any ties to that earlier project. Her income from Lennar came to light only after a investigation revealed it — contradicting what Graham had repeatedly claimed.

In all, Graham made $3.5 million from the deal with Lennar and another developer, records show.

Graham lied to Centre City Development Corp. chairman Fred Maas, Fulhorst writes, by telling him she didn’t know where her income came from. Graham misled the commission during hearing testimony, Fulhorst says, by claiming she had no idea that developers including Lennar would financially benefit from a hotel planned at Ballpark Village.

A $25,000 fine, which must be unanimously approved by the commission’s five members, sends the wrong message to other city officials, Fulhorst says: “That there are no consequences for failing to accept responsibility for their actions or for failing to cooperate with [Ethics Commission] investigations.”

Graham had faced a maximum $170,000 fine from the commission. Its largest fine to date was a $68,243 penalty issued to former school board member Luis Acle.

The Ethics Commission is scheduled to discuss Graham’s case when it meets Aug. 12 at 5 p.m.


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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