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City Attorney Jan Goldsmith won’t meet with the mayor’s stadium task force in private. But he has been meeting regularly with the Chargers’ special counsel Mark Fabiani.
The mayor’s group, which he calls the Citizens Stadium Advisory Group, or CSAG, asked Goldsmith to visit. Goldsmith told me in an interview that he responded that he would not meet with them in private. The group has met many times with dozens of potential advisors and partners but only once in public — and that was only to solicit feedback from residents.
Goldsmith said he was worried that whatever he said to the group would get misinterpreted.
“I said that if I’m going to talk to them there’s no attorney-client privilege. So I’ll do that in writing in response to legal questions or in public, the way I do at a Council meeting,” Goldsmith said. “But I don’t want there to be some misunderstanding or for there to be any question that I’m giving legal advice to somebody behind the scenes.”
The task force’s spokesman, Tony Manolatos, confirmed the request went out to Goldsmith. He declined to comment further.
Goldsmith has also been trying to broker a meeting between the Chargers and city leaders directly.
Goldsmith confirmed that he shared with the mayor guidelines on how the meetings should go forward. He would not provide them to me. I’ve requested them through the California Public Records Act. He said he gave the mayor guidelines because the NFL’s VP, Eric Grubman, made it clear the city needed to meet directly with the Chargers.
“So I think that’s where we’re heading and I just want to make sure both sides have a good understanding as to what the process would be for those discussions,” Goldsmith said.
I asked Goldsmith if meetings between the mayor and Chargers were breaking down or something. Is that why he felt he needed to get involved?
“No comment,” he said.
Even though he turned down the invitation to meet privately with the mayor’s task force, Goldsmith said he has regularly met in private with Fabiani. He said the difference is he’s not being asked to give legal advice to Fabiani. They’re just two lawyers talking.
I asked him if the two had met in the last couple of weeks.
“I have met with Fabiani many times since 2009. Have I met with him in the last two weeks? I don’t remember,” he said.
The mayor’s spokesman, Craig Gustafson, did not offer comment on Goldsmith’s decision or his effort to broker a meeting. He said in a statement that formal negotiations with the Chargers would begin after the task force makes its recommendations and a group of experts hired by the city and county vet them.