Sources: Mayor Bob Filner's France trip cost taxpayers $22,000

Security detail missed flight

SAN DIEGO - Sources tell Team 10 Mayor Bob Filner's trip to France last month cost taxpayers at least $22,000. They said the money paid for two city police officers working as the mayor's security detail.

Sources also said the officers missed the mayor's flight from San Diego to Paris.  The officers were not with the mayor for the entire trip.

San Diego police Chief William Lansdowne did confirm the mayor's security detail did not fly with the mayor to France, because they missed the flight.

The chief said the security detail did protect the mayor once they arrived in Paris on a later flight.  He said the mayor was unprotected "for hours."

"They did miss the flight," Lansdowne said. "You just can't depend on flights anymore in this business."

This contradicts what Mayor Filner previously said when questioned about his security detail's role during the Paris trip.

Asked more than two weeks ago by Team 10 if his security detail was with him the entire time on that trip, Filner answered, "Yeah," and then was cut off by his chief of staff, Vince Hall.

"We're not going to have any more questions about security," Hall said. "They go straight to the chief of police."

Lansdowne would not confirm the dollar amount for the trip, and would only say it cost more than $10,000.

San Diego police have refused to release specific details about the trip including documents that would show the mayor's itinerary, the flight schedule for the security detail and the total security cost. Team 10 has been told releasing that information would compromise security.

"If I could have got on the plane we would have," Lansdowne said. "We couldn't do that, but we did provide the security once we got to France."

In the earlier interview with Mayor Filner last month, he said this trip to France was the only time he has gone with a security detail.

He has traveled to France on similar trips as a congressman, with no security.

"I couldn't do anything about," Filner said of the previous trips with no security. "I took the risk."

Mayor Filner was in Paris attending a rally for the National Council of Resistance of Iran - a pro-democracy Iranian resistance group he supported while in Congress.

The mayor has also denied the trip cost the city any money.

"There is no cost to the city for my going there," he said.

Team 10 also is investigating the group that has previously paid for Mayor Filner's trips to France.

A group called the Colorado Iranian-American Community paid for two of the trips when Filner was in Congress.

According to federal disclosures, in 2007, the trip cost $7,949. In 2011, the trip cost $6,589.

As mayor, Filner cannot accept more than $440 dollars in gifts in a year without violating state and municipal gift laws, unless the group is a non-profit organization.

The mayor said a non-profit organization paid for his most recent trip, but he has not yet named the group.

"I'd give you a name but it might be a word or two off so I want to wait until I see it in writing," Filner said when asked who paid for his trip.

The Colorado Iranian-American Community does not have non-profit status, according to the IRS.

Team 10 found it does have non-profit status in Colorado. But, according to Colorado's Secretary of State, the group is "delinquent" in providing updated information about its mission, funding and leadership.

Filner has said the Paris trip served San Diego because he was trying to bring jobs to the city.

"My trip to France, in summary, was a business trip," he said.

Watch Filner's speech in France from June 22 (mobile users: http://bit.ly/174VgLC)

 

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