California Department of Justice Finds No Mayoral Corruption During Sunroad Project

Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SAN DIEGO--California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today released the results of an investigation into allegations of “a corrupt course of action” that San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre leveled against San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. The department concludes that the record does not support the allegations made by the city attorney against the mayor.

On June 20, 2007, Mayor Jerry Sanders requested that the attorney general conduct an inquiry and evaluation of allegations of corruption made against the mayor by the city attorney in a letter to the editor published in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

In August 2006, the Federal Aviation Administration had determined that the Sunroad Centrum 12 building was an air navigation hazard due to its height and proximity to Montgomery Field Airport, which is owned and operated by the City of San Diego. Sunroad’s principal and the owner of Centrum 12, Aaron Feldman, is a campaign contributor of the mayor’s.

City Attorney Aguirre’s letter to the editor charged that Mayor Sanders “engaged in an embarrassing and corrupt course of action,” by allowing Sunroad Centrum 12’s construction by Feldman “in defiance of FAA safety standards and California state law.” Aguirre also charged the mayor with employing mayoral staff and a San Diego Regional Airport Authority executive to “lobby the FAA for changes to the routing of airplanes at Montgomery Field so that the illegal building could remain.”

Investigators examined the mayor’s handling of the Sunroad Centrum 12 building project after the hazard determination and the motivation for the actions by the mayor, his closest advisors and other city executives, directors and managers. The department also inquired into contacts that the mayor and his advisors and managers had with Sunroad’s representatives and with the FAA, CalTrans, the City Attorney’s Office, the Airport Authority, the press and the public.

The report, released today to the Mayor, City Attorney, City Ethics Commission, District Attorney, U.S. Attorney, San Diego City Council and San Diego Airport Authority, is attached.

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PDF icon Report1.88 MB