Local watchdog group suing city attorney

SDOG wants emails from his private account

SAN DIEGO - A San Diego watchdog group is suing the city attorney, saying he is using his personal email account to do the city's business.

San Diegans for Open Government is accusing Jan Goldsmith of hiding behind his private email account so he will not have to turn over certain emails.

Attorney Cory Briggs is suing Goldsmith on behalf of SDOG, or San Diegans for Open Government.

"We would like to know what public business he is conducting from his personal email account," he said.

Briggs told 10News this lawsuit is a last resort. SDOG said they tried everything to get emails about city business that Goldsmith sent and received from his personal email account at JGsandiego@yahoo.com but that Goldsmith refuses to hand them over.

The city attorney has acknowledged receiving work emails at his personal account but he told U-T San Diego that his policy was to forward them to the city's email account so there would be a public record. Briggs said in the past Goldsmith has provided media outlets copies of those emails but that now he is refusing to do so.

"Most likely it's because there's something highly embarrassing in there and if it's embarrassing for a public official, it probably means that it's something that hurts the public," Briggs said.  

Goldsmith is not required to provide any personal emails but is required to turn over public emails regarding city business that he is sending and receiving at his personal account.

Separate email accounts for elected officials may be more common than we think. Team 10 recently uncovered drbob@sandiego.gov, a secret email account that disgraced former Mayor Bob Filner used only with his inner circle.

One email from that account talks about a lunch with now-indicted San Diego lobbyist Marco Polo Cortes, stating the two were lunching at the Westgate Hotel and said "no staff."

10News called the City Attorney's Office and emailed them twice for a comment regarding the story but have not heard back.

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