The list of real estate and other investments on San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio’s financial disclosure forms is a little longer than most of his colleagues. On that list, you won’t see one of DeMaio’s newest ventures: a business called DeMaio Consulting.
DeMaio Consulting first caught our eye when his mayoral campaign staff included the company on a resume it sent us, saying DeMaio began at the company in 2007. We asked about it and DeMaio’s campaign spokesman said it was an investment and property management business. There is no record of the business on DeMaio’s disclosure forms, and we had no idea he was doing any consulting work for anyone.
After we did some research, we spoke to DeMaio directly. He said there was a miscommunication with his staff. DeMaio said he told them the business was managing the investments he’s held since selling his government consulting company four years ago. Business tax records also show the councilman founded DeMaio Consulting this January, not in 2007.
In essence, DeMaio said, the business will be merely managing his assets, not running an investment and property management company for other people.
“In anticipation of running for mayor I had to take stock and say, all right if I’m running the seventh largest city in the country, what is my bandwidth?” DeMaio said. “I wanted to be proactive about it so I want to create an umbrella entity to take over the things that I’ve been doing kind of on my own.”
The kind of business DeMaio is running is important.
State law says, essentially, that because DeMaio is an elected official, we’re entitled to know his business. Ethics rules require elected officials annually to disclose their investments, outside sources of income and gifts so that the public can see if politicians’ decisions might benefit them personally. Failure to disclose is a big deal, and it’s part of the scandal that plagued the former president of the city’s downtown redevelopment agency.
DeMaio said he’s listed all his reportable assets on his financial disclosure forms and DeMaio Consulting won’t be managing anyone else’s money but his. He expects to hire someone to run the business by the end of the year. That means on next year’s disclosure form he’ll have to report it.
On his most recent form, DeMaio reports owning two rental properties worth less than $1 million in the city’s Clairemont and Rancho Peñasquitos neighborhoods. He also says he owns between $10,001 and $100,000 of stock in each of nine large companies: General Electric, International Paper, Intel, Time Warner, Merck & Co., Dupont, Microsoft, Cisco and Verizon.
Asked why he called his business DeMaio Consulting, which implies that DeMaio would be, you know, consulting, the councilman said he didn’t give it much thought.
“It’s a catch-all name,” he said. “It’s not like it’s something that I’m really going to be out there branding and marketing. I could have called it DeMaio Holdings, I guess. I thought that was a little stupid.”
Update: San Diego is the country’s eighth largest city, per the most recent census data, not the seventh as DeMaio said. San Antonio is to blame.