San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor has tentatively batted back an attempt by lawyers for ex-city real estate adviser Jason Hughes to halt the city’s conflict-of-interest cases against him via summary judgment.
City Hall was rocked last year by the public revelation that the city’s 101 Ash and Civic Center Plaza landlord paid Hughes, who in 2013 volunteered to advise on city real estate issues, $9.4 million for his work on the leases.
Attorneys for the city have argued the city only learned of the payments to Hughes amid litigation last year and that they have a strong conflict-of-interest case against him.
Hughes’ attorney had argued Hughes – who did not have a formal contract with the city – was not covered by state conflict-of-interest law, Government Code Section 1090. He also argued a four-year statute of limitations had lapsed and noted that Hughes’ statements to multiple city officials about seeking payment put the city on notice and could have triggered further investigation.
Taylor tentatively ruled that there are triable issues of fact on when the city did or should have discovered the alleged conflict-of-interest, the nature of Hughes’ role with the city and whether the real estate guru reasonably believed he didn’t need to “subordinate his financial interests’ to the public’s.”
Taylor will hear arguments from attorneys for Hughes and the city at 1:30 p.m. Friday before issuing his final ruling. The cases are for now set to go to trial in January.