101 Ash St. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

There was a major development this week in one of the most dramatic stories VOSD has followed the last couple years. Say it with me: 101 Ash St.

On Tuesday, VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt broke the news that district attorney investigators were raiding the offices of Hughes Marino, Cisterra Development and the home of Jason Hughes. They executed simultaneous search warrants as part of a criminal investigation into the deals that led the city of San Diego to lease-to-own two downtown buildings, as orchestrated by Hughes.

On the podcast, Halverstadt joined hosts Scott Lewis and Nate John to recap all the steps that led us to this week — and where things may go next. You get a bonus explainer of the conflict-of-interest law most likely at the center of the investigation: Government Code Section 1090. This code essentially says if you’re a government official, you can’t work on a deal that you have a financial interest in.

Halverstadt revealed a few weeks ago that, while he advised the city on whether to buy, or lease-to-own, 101 Ash St. and Civic Center Plaza, Hughes had a secret contract with Cisterra. If the city made the deals, he got 45 percent of the profits. If the city didn’t, he would have to pay 45 percent of Cisterra’s loss.

Following the raids this week, we’re waiting to see whether this has criminal implications according to state law.

This segment of the show starts around Minute 26.

Trash Talk

Also on the pod this week, we discuss San Diego City Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera’s quest to end the People’s Ordinance.

Ending this century-old ordinance that ensures free trash pick-up for some San Diego residents costs the city tens of millions of dollars a year and, as Elo-Rivera argued, is inequitable and outdated.

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Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at nate@vosd.org.

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