Corrupt
Kevin Faulconer

The jaded former Mayor has been involved in the disgraceful Ash Street disaster since the beginning. The failed real-estate project leaves a stain on his legacy.

Follow the timeline to uncover Faulconer’s shady wheeling and dealing.

Kevin Faulconer’s 2013 and 2016 Campaigns

Doug “Papa” Manchester donates hundreds of thousands to help Kevin Faulconer get elected.

Sources: IVN Network, CA State Campaign Finance Records 2013-2014, State Campaign Finance Records 2015-2016

November 2014

James Seifert, a consultant for Sempra Energy (a tenant of 101 Ash Street), testified in front of the Public Utilities Commission about Sempra Energy’s need to move from 101 Ash Street, citing the presence of asbestos and defects.

Source: NBC San Diego

“The functional obsolescence of the headquarters building, originally built in 1966, generated additional concerns, including remaining asbestos abatement”

– James Seifert, direct testimony to the San Diego Gas & Electric Company

February 2015 – July 2015

The City announces it’s in need of office space downtown. Sandor Shapery, the owner of 101 Ash Street, and city officials met to discuss using 101 Ash Street. Shapery and the city were unable to come to an agreement.

Source: NBC San Diego

July 2015

Doug Manchester purchases 49% ownership of 101 Ash Street.

Source: Press Release

“All Manchester wanted was to sell and get a nice profit … By the time the transaction closed, that’s exactly what he got.”

– Sandor Shapery, statement to NBC San Diego

June 2016

Manchester and Shapery use “Straw Man” Cisterra Partners to sell the building for $72.1 million. The purchase agreement shows that the city would lease the building from Cisterra for 20 years with an option to buy for a total of $202 million.

Source: NBC San Diego

Late 2016

City Staff presents City Council with a $127 million lease to buy agreement for 101 Ash Street. An independent report commissioned by the City to look into this matter concluded that the city overpaid by at least $30 million.

Source: NBC San Diego

September 2016

Faulconer’s staff organizes a meeting that Faulconer attends. A top staffer argued that a direct purchase of the building would have saved taxpayers $16 million. Mayor Faulconer pushed for the lease agreement so that Cisterra Development (acting as a Straw Man for Shapery and Manchester) would be the seller paid by the City rather than the city directly paying Manchester and Shapery. Everyone at the meeting was instructed to avoid using Manchester’s name in discussing the agreement to purchase the building.

Sources: IVN Network, Screenshot, La Prensa San Diego

September 2016

Emails obtained by NBC7 show that Ron Villa, the Chief Operating Officer, acknowledged that the City Council would never approve the proposal with a $62 million appraisal. City Staff then pushed the appraiser to increase its valuation to $67.1 million.

Sources: Email, IVN Network

December 2016

An independent report by Hugo Parker, LLP explains that right after the city takes possession, the building was riddled with significant maintenance issues including asbestos problems that were not taken into account when workers began to work on the building.

Source: Report by Hugo Parker, LLP

Almost Immediately After Closing With the City

Shapery writes Manchester a check for $25 million – netting Manchester $5 million.

Sources: IVN Network, Voice of San Diego

“Manchester is Mayor Faulconer’s largest contributor. My feeling is the city wanted a way around it, after all, how does it look to have the mayor enter into a major land deal with his largest contributor? I am not sure if it was ever spoken but I could see the mayor being reticent to do a deal, just the appearance of impropriety would be enough to make them want to avoid it.”

– Sandor Shapery, statement to NBC San Diego

August 2020

City’s Office of the Independent Budget Analyst report describes the deal as “horribly one-sided” in favor of the landlord.

Source: City of San Diego Report

Today

101 Ash Street sits unoccupied to this date. Whistleblower complaints that workers’ and employees’ concerns over asbestos were ignored to save costs. The building is costing the city approximately $18,000 per day and subject to numerous lawsuits, including from 22 contractors who claim they were unnecessarily exposed to asbestos as well as a lawsuit filed by former City Attorney Mike Aguirre for waste of public funds and fraud.

Sources: NBC San Diego, IVN Network