Where did the Balboa Park Centennial Celebration money go?

SAN DIEGO - A Hillcrest man told Team 10 he has documents that money that was supposed to go towards Balboa Park's Centennial Celebration was "misdirected" and wasted.

Officials are trying to get the 2015 Centennial Celebration back on track after the board that was in charge of planning the 365-day celebration went out of business.

However, Hillcrest resident David Lundin said he filed a public records request with Balboa Park Celebration, Inc., asking to see financial records.

 "They basically told me that they were exempt from the Public Records Act and that they weren't going to give me any, so I threatened to sue them," Lundin said. "They hired a good, smart lawyer, and the good, smart lawyer apparently gave them some advice and they started producing records. We still only have seen the tip of the iceberg, but we've seen some."

Lundin claimed those records show most of the $3 million of taxpayer money was spent on consultants, business coaches and fundraising firms.

"They were spending nearly a half a million dollars to two different public relations companies for design work, graphics, little videos that they used to sell the project moving forward," said Lundin.

Lundin said the "little videos" did little or nothing to help organize the centennial.

He also said the financial documents showed a cozy relationship between board members and their friends and relatives, some of whom were given payments to promote the yearlong event.

"Nothing of value to the park, nothing of value to the taxpayers," said Lundin.

Lundin told Team 10 the money should have been spent on projects to spiffy up the park and add to its legacy.

"They not only spent the money and wasted it, but they wasted an opportunity and they lost time, so there's no turning the clock back, and changing all of that, we have to deal with what we have now," he said.

The board was scheduled to have its final meeting Friday, but members did not show up at the Hall of Champions for the 2 p.m. meeting.

Next week a City Council committee will formally dissolve Balboa Park Celebration, Inc., and will hear from San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer's office on what's being done to salvage the event, which begins in 2015.

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