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City Attorney Candidates Accuse One Another Of Misleading Ballot Statements

Shown above are San Diego city attorney candidates Cory Briggs and Mara Ellio...

Photo by Zoë Meyers / inewsource

Above: Shown above are San Diego city attorney candidates Cory Briggs and Mara Elliott. Elliott is the incumbent.

San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott has filed a lawsuit accusing her opponent in the November election — private attorney Cory Briggs — of making false claims in his ballot statement regarding his source of income, while Briggs alleges she touted a false endorsement in her ballot materials.

Elliott's lawsuit filed Friday in San Diego Superior Court alleges Briggs misidentified his sources of income by listing his occupation as an attorney/taxpayer advocate. Elliott's lawsuit seeks to have the "taxpayer advocate" portion removed.

"Aside from two rental properties, he derives 100% of his income from the practice of law as an attorney," the lawsuit states. "To the extent Briggs might advocate for taxpayers and others, he does so only in his capacity as an attorney, and therefore it is false, misleading, and/or inconsistent with the law for him to call himself 'Attorney/Taxpayer Advocate."'

Briggs, who said he has not yet seen Elliott's lawsuit, denied any misrepresentation.

"I had the exact same ballot designation in the primary. Why is Ms. Elliott worried about it now?," Briggs said in an email to City News Service. "I am an attorney advocate for taxpayers; it's what I've been doing for over 20 years. During that time, I've saved San Diego taxpayers more than $1 billion; however, in less than four years on the job, Ms. Elliott has cost the taxpayers over $300 million."

Briggs leveled similar accusations of misrepresentation at Elliott, claiming that her ballot statement included a false endorsement from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

While the newspaper endorsed Elliott in the March primary, that endorsement did not carry over to November.

Dan Rottenstreich, Elliott's campaign consultant, said the endorsement inclusion in Elliott's statement was "an honest mix-up" regarding the Union-Tribune's practices regarding its endorsements.

Briggs said he is planning to file a lawsuit to have Elliott's statement changed.

"Sadly, going to court is the only way to fix her fraudulent statement of qualifications," Briggs said.

Lawsuits have also been filed alleging two San Diego City Council candidates — Noli Zosa and Joe Leventhal — falsely listed Union-Tribune endorsements in their ballot statements.

A campaign consultant for both candidates told the newspaper that — similarly to Elliott — the endorsements were only listed out of confusion over the Union-Tribune's endorsement policy. Both candidates were endorsed by the newspaper in the March primary.

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