Kevin Faulconer Streateries
Kevin Faulconer speaks at a press conference in Kearny Mesa touting a new ordinance that allows local businesses to offer outdoor dining amid the coronavirus pandemic. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Former Mayor Kevin Faulconer will be listed on the September recall ballot as a businessman, thanks to a part-time role he plays for his former chief of staff’s government consulting company.

His job, providing “strategic advice” for the firm’s clients, has not been part of his pitch to supplant Gov. Gavin Newsom, but it became salient last week when a judge ruled that he could not describe himself to voters as “retired San Diego mayor,” since he did not retire from the job and is not retired at all. His experience leading the state’s second-largest city has been the basis of his campaign.

He’ll instead be listed on the ballot as “businessman/educator,” based on two jobs he’s held this year after leaving office.

The businessman part of that title owes to his gig with Collaborate for California, a company formed on Jan. 1 of this year, three days before Faulconer launched an exploratory committee for a gubernatorial run and a month before he announced he was running.

Collaborate for California belongs to Faulconer’s former chief of staff, Aimee Faucett, who is listed as every officer for the company. Faucett is also a listed officer for Faulconer’s ballot measure committee, Rebuilding the California Dream, formed to explore a potential 2022 ballot measure directed at alleviating homelessness.

In his statement of economic interest forms, Faulconer disclosed earning between $10,000 and $100,000 this year from Collaborate for California. In materials submitted to the secretary of state, Faulconer described himself as an adviser for the company, and listed Faucett as the person who could verify his employment.

The company has no physical location. It’s filing with the secretary of state lists a mailing address that is a P.O. Box at a Postal Annex in a Shelter Island shopping center; its physical address now belongs to Sigyn Therapeutics, a medical-device company that moved in this year after the lawyer who filed the company’s paperwork moved out.

We asked Faucett for a list of Collaborate for California’s clients, and a description of Faulconer’s role with the company.

“Collaborate for California provides strategic counsel to individuals, businesses and organizations that are interacting with all levels of government,” Faucett wrote in an email.

She said the company has just one client right now.

“At this time Collaborate has IQHQ-RaDD as a client,” she wrote. “Former Mayor Faulconer provides strategic advice when requested.”

She did not respond to an email asking her to estimate how many hours of work Faulconer has provided as an adviser this year.

IQHQ is a real estate company that specializes in building space for biotech firms. One of those projects is the so-called Research and Development District, a five-building, 1.7 million square foot development near the San Diego Bay downtown. It’s the site where developer Doug Manchester – the former owner of the Union-Tribune, investor in the 101 Ash St. high-rise that became a major scandal in Faulconer’s final year in office, and a long-time Faulconer donor and supporter – had been planning to build the Manchester Pacific Gateway in exchange for building the Navy a new headquarters as part of the project.

IQHQ bought the rights to develop most of the sight from Manchester in September, and began working on its $1.5 billion biotech campus. Manchester is still building a five-star hotel on part of the property that he didn’t sell to IQHQ.

Faulconer’s other paying job this year that will be part of his ballot designation refers to his role as a visiting professor at Pepperdine University. The university announced his hiring in December, just as he was leaving office, and said he would teach a graduate course in “innovative local leadership,” offer public lectures for the university’s school of public policy and help leadership shape coursework for the school’s Master of Public Policy program.

Faulconer served as mayor for seven years before his term ended in December. Term limits prevented him from running for re-election He was a city councilman for eight years before that. He couldn’t use his time as a public servant on the ballot, though, due to state requirements that bar candidates from listing former elected positions.

Faulconer sued the secretary of state, hoping he could use “retired San Diego mayor” as his title instead, but a Sacramento judge last week ruled against him.

Andrew Keatts is a former managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego.

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