101 Ash St. / File photo by Adriana Heldiz

The city’s high-profile civil lawsuits against a former city real estate adviser, who was paid millions of dollars by its ex-landlord, were hit with a legal setback late Friday.

Our Lisa Halverstadt reports that Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor last week ordered the city refile its conflict-of-interest suits against ex-real estate adviser Jason Hughes. He decided that a controversial settlement with the city’s ex-landlord wasn’t explicit enough in excluding the broker.

Taylor ruled that lacking settlement language made it necessary for the city to clarify in new complaints that it isn’t arguing that Hughes was an agent of ex-landlord Cisterra Development, which paid Hughes $9.4 million for his work on the city’s 101 Ash St. and Civic Center Plaza leases. 

Refresher: The city alleges that Hughes violated a state conflict-of-interest law barring officials from financially benefiting from contracts they work on. Hughes’ attorneys have argued he isn’t covered by the law and that he told multiple city officials he wanted to be paid for his work on complex city lease deals. Cisterra and its lenders were also named in the two civil lawsuits until the City Council approved a controversial settlement in July allowing the city to buy out the two leases and collect some of Cisterra’s net profits. 

You can read the latest update here.

Politics Report: Early Tension in New All-Dem San Diego Council 

Council President Sean Elo-Rivera at a press conference in April 2021. / File photo by Adriana Heldiz

The new all-Democratic San Diego City Council unanimously chose to keep Councilman Sean Elo-Rivera as council president. But there already seems to be some tension. 

What happened: On Thursday, Elo-Rivera released committee assignments for the other eight members. It’s the first major decision the Council president makes each year. 

Councilwoman Marni von Wilpert was not happy. 

Elo-Rivera put her in charge of a new committee and appointed a new member to the council to the city’s infrastructure committee, which she used to chair. 

The Politics Report has what von Wilpert and Elo-Rivera had to say on the matter.

Plus: Get ready for another chapter in the story of We Should Get a New City Hall, Right? Read it here. 

The weekly politics newsletter is available to Voice of San Diego members only. Support our work here by becoming a member today. 

VOSD Podcast: This week on the podcast, Voice journalists Jesse Marx and Will Huntsberry unleash an authoritative account of Covid: Year Two. They sit down with pod hosts Andrew Keatts and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña to discuss their findings. Listen to the episode here. 

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. 

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