DeMaio’s Office Says No Record Of Communication With Lynch, Manchester
City Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio has not communicated with U-T San Diego’s publisher Doug Manchester or CEO John Lynch about anything — including the newspaper’s plan for a football stadium on the waterfront — on his city email, phone or any other city government device, his office said today.
DeMaio’s chief of staff, Felipe Monroig, was responding to a California Public Records Act request submitted by KPBS investigation’s partner I-Newsource on Sept. 4.
“We did not find anything in terms of communications between the councilmember and either Mr. Lynch or Mr. Manchester,” Monroig said in a voicemail message.
An I-Newsource/KPBS investigation published Wednesday detailed the long financial and political ties between the U-T’s principals and DeMaio.
It also quoted an email Lynch wrote to Port Commissioner and congressional candidate Scott Peters. In the email, Lynch claims to have “made significant progress” with “one of the mayoral candidates” in an effort to turn the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal into an entertainment complex with a new Chargers stadium.
Since publication, that email has become a point of contention. According to the version Peters released, Lynch said “the UT will be forced to lead a campaign to disband the PORT [sic].” Lynch asserts he didn’t write that sentence.
Speaking this morning at the “Distinguished Speakers Series” breakfast at the University Club, U-T editor Jeff Light said there is nothing wrong with Lynch’s actions or passion surrounding this issue.
He said Port commissioners and employees might “feel terribly violated by this idea that they may have people who disagree with them and think their entire government set up (sic) isn’t necessary. But that’s not an obnoxious or unpermissible (sic) view.”
“I think the way that was phrased was very pointed in an email between two guys so it doesn’t necessarily look great,” Light said to the group.
The records request, submitted three weeks before the investigation was published, asked for “any and all communication among (to, from, copied and any combination thereof) Councilman Carl DeMaio and Douglas Manchester and/or John Lynch.”
It further specified: “In this request, communication includes but is not limited to emails, faxes, letters, text messages and voicemails.”
Monroig said they did “a standard search” based on their Microsoft Outlook email and an archive system. When asked how they search for non-email communications, he said they “look through files, stuff like that.”
The day after the I-Newsource/KPBS investigation broke, DeMaio’s opponent for mayor, Congressman Bob Filner called for DeMaio, Manchester and Lynch to immediately disclose any email communication and any meetings regarding the proposed stadium on the terminal.
“Failure to provide this information will leave voters in the position of having to assume the worst regarding these clandestine dealings,” Filner said.
Lená Lewis, Filner’s communications director, said tonight the congressman is asking for any type of communication, “from text to email, landline, cell, anything personal, campaign or official.”
When told DeMaio’s office said it had no communications to turn over, Filner said, “Lynch’s own email makes clear that he has had communication with a mayoral candidate, and I can assure you it wasn’t me.”
In an interview with KPBS, DeMaio said Lynch briefed him early on about the stadium proposal, but he is not who Lynch referred to in the email that touted “significant progress” being made with a mayoral candidate. DeMaio is adamant that he does not support the plan.
DeMaio’s calendar, published online, shows he was scheduled to meet with the U-T editorial board for a half hour on January 20, 2012, two days before the newspaper published its vision for the waterfront stadium on the front page.
Monroig said the search included emails, phone records and files within the city’s system.
“We did a thorough search, and nothing came up within the parameters that you provided,” he said. “To my knowledge, there is no business that either of those individuals have before the city.”