Campaign disclosures: Developers help pay Mayor Bob Filner's debt

Feds expand questions at City Hall

SAN DIEGO - The Department of Justice has broadened the scope of its investigation into a pay-for-play deal made at the highest levels of San Diego city government.

Sources inside the DOJ told Team 10 agents are looking into deals made by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and his staff with private developers.

Sources inside San Diego city government confirmed they were questioned about why the mayor held up certain development deals and what the developers did to get their projects moving again.

Campaign disclosures released Tuesday reveal private developers helped pay more than $15,000 of Filner's $101,711 campaign debt -- second only to the San Diego County Democratic Party, which paid $45,500.

The DOJ has been investigating a $100,000 donation made to the office of the mayor by private developer Sunroad Enterprises. The mayor originally vetoed a plan to give Sunroad public land to complete an apartment complex in Kearney Mesa. After the donation, he removed his objection.

"I thought it was donations and I took it as that," Filner said when first asked about the Sunroad donation.

The mayor denied knowing anything about a deal with Sunroad. He said it was reached by his former deputy chief of staff.

A voicemail left at City Hall by Sunroad Vice President Tom Story suggested otherwise.

"We have reached an agreement with the mayor's office," the voicemail said. "We have paid him the money that was requested."

Sources inside the Department of Justice said federal investigators became interested in the Sunroad deal when the mayor returned the six-figure donation. The same sources said it showed he knew he did something wrong.

Filner has refused to address questions about the federal investigation.

"I'm not going to respond to rumors and anonymous sources," he has said.

Sources inside City Hall said the FBI has been asking questions about other development deals -- including an apartment development near San Diego State University.

The mayor put the project on "administrative hold." The developer -- Centrepoint -- has since made a $150,000 donation to improve a city park.

The mayor's campaign disclosures show since he was elected, employees of developer Pardee Homes donated $3,000 to his campaign.

The disclosures show a senior vice president of the Kilroy Realty Group -- which has a $650 million development under construction in Del Mar -- donated $500.

Senior executives at Sunroad Enterprises donated $3,000, according to the same campaign disclosures.

The mayor's spokeswoman, Lena Lewis, said Filner is unavailable to talk about the donations or the federal investigation.

To see a breakdown of development employees who contributed to Filner's campaign after he was elected, go here. (Mobile users: http://bit.ly/12Dpnft)

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