On Thursday, we received a copy of an email Unified Port of San Diego board Commissioner Scott Peters said he received from U-T San Diego CEO John Lynch.

In it, Lynch threatened to use the newspaper to lead a campaign to disband the port.

But just what the email Lynch sent to Peters says has taken another turn.

Lynch claims it did not have a threat.

From KPBS’ story:

The CEO of U-T San Diego Thursday denied sending a threatening email to a port commissioner running for Congress, suggesting the email had been doctored and “somebody could go to jail” for sending it.

Commissioner Scott Peters, who received the email and released it to the Investigations Desk of I-Newsource/KPBS, said, “That’s a doozy,” when told John Lynch was contending the email “is not accurate.”

“You guys can come and examine my server,” Peters said. “I will turn my computer over and you can verify it.”

Here’s what the email Peters gave us says:


Do you intend to vote for the extension at the Dole lease? There should be a provision that the PORT of successor(if PORT is disbanded) should be able to move Dole to National City. Otherwise this will become a major issue in the campaigns and the UT will be forced to lead a campaign to disband the PORT.

I would appreciate your thoughts.


Lynch provided a different version of the email to KPBS:


Do you intend to vote for the extension at the Dole lease? There should be a provision that the PORT of successor(if PORT is disbanded) should be able to move Dole to National City.

Friday, Lorena Gonzalez, the secretary-treasurer at the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, released an email from Lynch to Tom Lemmon, the business manager at the Building and Construction Trades Council.

In the email Lemmon received, Lynch also says his newspaper will go after the port if the Dole lease is finalized:


This move by the Port will attempt to kill the development of TAMT (Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal). We have secured powerful backing to call for the breaking up of the PORT if this goes through as it is not in the best interests of the City. Any thoughts , and any ideas?…John

The dustup about Lynch’s email to Peters comes as KPBS and Investigative Newsource take an in-depth look at the relationships among Lynch, U-T publisher Doug Manchester and public officials, with the U-T’s vision for the waterfront as a backdrop.

Here’s more background from Scott Lewis on the contention surrounding the email in question:

A version of the email had previously been released to Investigative Newsource and KPBS …

But the threat to disband the port was not in the email KPBS posted because that was an email forwarded to the port by Peters seeking advice. He’d truncated it to edit out the threat so as not to distract port staff.

Then, Investigative Newsource obtained the port’s copy of the email through a public records request. Voice of San Diego asked Peters for the full exchange and he provided it. Manchester and Lynch have had no luck so far in their push, but they keep trying.

You can also watch what Lynch had to say in a KPBS interview on Thursday:

And a KPBS interview with Peters:

And what Lewis said about it Thursday night:

Scott Lewis is the CEO at Voice of San Diego and Dagny Salas is the web editor. You can contact them directly at scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org and dagny.salas@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0525.

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Dagny Salas

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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