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Ethics Panel Recommends $25,000 Fine For Former Head Of CCDC

— A panel of San Diego Ethics Commission members is recommending a $25,000 fine for the former head of the Centre City Development Corp. for an alleged conflict-of-interest with a downtown developer, it was announced today.

The Ethics Commission was investigating Nancy Graham, the former mayor of West Palm Beach, for failing to disclose her economic interests in dealings with a Florida-based developer, whose parent company, Lennar Corp., was looking to build a skyscraper in downtown San Diego.

In its 18-page recommendation, the Ethics Commission wrote that Graham was a "sophisticated, experienced government official, and should have been aware of the high risks posed by her improper participation in a large-scale project.''

However, the Ethics Commission also found that any money Graham made occurred before she came to CCDC, and there is "no claim that anything Ms. Graham did in San Diego made her one penny more.''

Graham resigned as head of CCDC -- San Diego's downtown redevelopment arm -- in July 2008 after coming under scrutiny for her relationship with the developer. She cited personal family reasons for her departure.

Last year, in a separate action brought by the City Attorney's Office, Graham pleaded no contest to a charge of failing to disclose her economic interests in dealings with the developer. She did not admit to violating any laws, but agreed to pay a fine of $3,300.

A three-member Presiding Authority of the Ethics Commission is recommending a $1,000 to $1,500 fine for each of 17 violations of the city's municipal code. The fine will be considered by the full Ethics Commission on Friday.

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