Nathan Fletcher confronts questions and concerns on his Qualcomm job
Candidate answers questions in interview
Last Updated: 94 days ago
SAN DIEGO - Information from inside Qualcomm headquarters obtained by Team 10 is raising questions about mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher’s work at one of the county's largest private employers.
Fletcher, a democratic San Diego mayoral candidate, is the senior director of corporate development at Qualcomm. Sources told Team 10 he makes more than $400,000 a year.
"I'm not confirming that dollar amount," Fletcher replied. "But being mayor would be a pay cut, but I've never been in this for money."
Fletcher said he works on projects that use technology to make the world a better place.
"I worked on a lot of projects related on how to use our technology to protect the environment, how to use our technology to better educate kids, how to use our technology to better deliver health care," Fletcher said.
He further described his secondary role as a Qualcomm representative.
"I represent the company," Fletcher said. "I sit on boards, I give speeches."
Team 10 sources supplied screen shots of an internal Qualcomm system that shows Fletcher had not logged on in weeks.
On Tuesday, the day Fletcher formally announced his new run for mayor, the internal database showed he hadn't been logged on for 31 days.
Fletcher said the screen shots were an inaccurate representation of what he does for the company, and when he does it. He said he has been working, and simply has not logged onto or used that particular system.
"This is reflective of politics where one takes an internal database that I don't use, and has no tie to my job, and tries to create a story," Fletcher said. "I think people are frustrated by that and I think they're tired of that."
One Team 10 source inside Qualcomm, sees it differently.
"A lot of the senior directors that I know they eat, breath, and sleep Qualcomm," a source said. "It's their lives - 80, 90 hours a week."
Fletcher said he has begun using vacation time from Qualcomm, but did not say when the vacation time started. He also said he is working out how to take a leave of absence with reduced pay and reduced responsibilities while he campaigns for mayor.
Qualcomm staff also questioned why Fletcher does not have direct reports despite a senior director title. Fletcher said his job is collaborative, not managerial.
"The fact that you have somebody with that level with that kind of title with no people underneath is strange to say the least," said a Team 10 source who has had professional interactions with Fletcher, and wanted to remain anonymous for fear of losing their job.
"There's nothing about Nathan that I don't like," a source said. "I think he's a good man. I think that he's a career politician and I think Qualcomm was a stepping stone for him."
Team 10 asked Fletcher if he is elected, would he be beholden to leaders at Qualcomm.
"No," Fletcher said. "Look, if you're elected mayor you're not beholden to anyone. You're not beholden to people who support you in your campaign... You have an obligation to the people of San Diego to do what's in their best interests."
Fletcher's relationships with the Qualcomm top executives could mean money for his campaign.
Qualcomm Chairman Dr. Paul Jacobs sent an email to potential Fletcher donors on Friday, and Team 10 obtained that email shortly after it was sent out.
"I can tell you without equivocation there is no one better to run our city," Jacobs wrote.
"Some people will reasonably ask about his party switch. Personally, I think it's great," Jacobs wrote. "I am a pro-jobs Democrat and so is Nathan. He was never a good fit in the Republican Party..."
Jacobs also asked email recipients to "reply to this email and let me know if I can count on your support for him," and that there would be a fundraiser announced soon.
The message states at the bottom, "Paid for by Fletcher for Mayor 2013."
Qualcomm sent a statement by Executive Vice President & General Counsel of Qualcomm Don Rosenberg, who is Nathan's boss:
"Since joining Qualcomm earlier this year as senior director of corporate development, Nathan has become a valued employee. Qualcomm has relied on Nathan to forge stronger relationships with key stakeholders in the communities in which we do business, including veterans and NGOs. In addition, he has played a lead role in advancing the company's efforts to use mobile technology to improve social and economic opportunities in developing countries. He is also part of our corporate social responsibility team that promotes the company's corporate citizenship efforts."
A spokeswoman told Team 10 there are thousands of employees who do not use the internal system, including herself. She also said Dr. Jacobs hasn't been online for 1,100 days, yet he has been working.
According to a review of public political disclosures, Qualcomm spent at least $4.5 million lobbying politicians and political causes in 2012.
The state of New York sued Qualcomm in January 2013, demanding it disclose all of its political spending. The New York state employee retirement fund invests hundreds of millions of dollars in Qualcomm and state leaders wanted to know where that money was being spent.
Qualcomm said it has since disclosed the information on political expenditures that was requested and the state of New York dismissed the complaint.
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