Mexican businessman José Susumo Azano Matsura is in court, defending himself against allegations by federal prosecutors who say he illegally funneled more than a half-million dollars to San Diego political campaigns.
But as former VOSD reporter Liam Dillon reminds us, Azano’s story leading up to the trial is plenty fascinating.
Dillon, who’s now covering California state politics for the Los Angeles Times, joins hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts this week to break down Azano’s backstory, which he covered in-depth for VOSD.
The road that led Azano from being a wealthy Mexican businessman who lived in a mansion in Coronado to an accused money launderer takes a lot of strange twists and turns. As Dillon tells it, Azano, who amassed his money through the international surveillance market, inserted himself into a land dispute in Ensenada between a rancher and San Diego-based Sempra Energy. Azano was beginning to lose his battle with Sempra, and Dillon says he likely turned to local politics looking for help.
“It was my conclusion based on the reporting that I had done that his interest in getting involved in San Diego politics was an effort to try to turn the tide back against Sempra, sort of a last-ditch effort to get some political pressure in his favor,” Dillon said.
Also on this week’s podcast, Lewis talks about how he got his exclusive story about the Padres’ beef with the Chargers’ downtown stadium plan and Keatts quibbles with Petco Park’s No. 1 baseball stadium rating from USA Today.
Hero of the Week
Slain San Diego Police Officer Jonathan De Guzman and his partner, Wade Irwin, who was injured in last week’s shooting, are the heroes this week.
The interview segment of the show starts at the 22-minute mark.