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San Diego Dismissed As Defendant In TMD Lawsuit

The city of San Diego will be dismissed as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the city's Tourism Marketing District against Mayor Bob Filner, who has refused to sign off on an agreement to release administrative funds to the agency, according to a settlement agreement released today.

The TMD was renewed by the City Council last fall, but ex-Mayor Jerry Sanders was unable to sign all the necessary documents before he left office in December. Filner, his successor, refused to sign the contract to provide funding because he wants higher pay for hotel workers and more money for public safety, among other things.

In exchange for the TMD dismissing the city as a defendant and waiving its rights to recover legal costs from the city, the City Council acknowledges that the mayor is obliged to sign the deal under the City Charter, according to the settlement released by council President Todd Gloria.


He said the City Council agreed to the settlement on Tuesday in closed session.

"This agreement demonstrates the City Council's belief in the tremendous benefit and value of the Tourism Marketing District,'' Gloria said. "We want the TMD to continue operating. I hope the entire matter is quickly resolved so the TMD can go back to publicizing our destination, and we can focus on other priority matters.''

Tourism officials said the TMD has been unable to launch a $5.4 million advertising campaign because of the hang-up with the mayor.

Separately, the San Diego Tourism Authority -- the former Convention and Visitors Bureau -- said it issued 85 layoff notices this week as a result of the TMD funding dispute. The authority said it might have to close by May 13 if the issue isn't resolved.

The TMD is funded by a 2 percent charge on hotel room rates. The resulting revenue is distributed to a variety of organizations that promote tourism in San Diego.