Todd Bosnich may or may not have sunk Carl DeMaio's hopes of unseating Congressmember Scott Peters. But the former policy director for the DeMaio campaign certainly gave it his all. Let's take stock of what we know about him:
When CityBeat first encountered Bosnich late last winter, the passionate conservative was sniping at us on Twitter in defense of DeMaio and on offense against Democrats like Nathan Fletcher. Then, in May, he seemed to disappear, at least from Twitter. He tweeted nothing from May 21 to Oct. 10, after the whole country learned that it was he who was accusing DeMaio of sexual harassment.
According to information in a police search-warrant affidavit, the San Diego Police Department first learned about Bosnich on May 28, when the cops responded to a reported break-in and burglary at DeMaio campaign headquarters and Alex Melendez, a campaign staffer, said he suspected Bosnich and another former staffer because they'd recently been fired for "poor performance." Roughly two weeks later, on June 13, DeMaio campaign manager Tommy Knepper told police that Bosnich had been fired for "gross negligence"—he'd been guilty of plagiarizing a National Journal report on congressional pensions, a minor scandal that made national news on May 12.
There's no dispute that Bosnich was fired, but there's plenty of disagreement over when and why. Melendez told police it was May 24. Knepper told police that Bosnich was banned from volunteering on May 26, 12 days after he was told he would no longer be paid for his work. Bosnich says it was May 19, soon after he confronted DeMaio on the harassment and turned down an offer, from Knepper, of $50,000 and a job with the Republican Party if he kept quiet.
In any case, Bosnich reached out to MaryAnne Pintar, Peters' campaign manager, via several emails, on May 29, offering up inside campaign information and telling of the harassment.
On May 31, police went to Bosnich's home and asked him if he did the break-in. He said he didn't. They also asked if he wanted to file a complaint against DeMaio for sexual harassment (Pintar had told them about it). He said he'd think about it, but he was worried that it would hurt his career. But on June 2, Bosnich did an interview with KFMB radio's Mike Slater, graphically detailing DeMaio's pattern of harassment. The interview never aired, but CityBeat got hold of it and posted it online. On June 4, Bosnich told police he'd decided against filing a sexual-harassment complaint. On June 5, he met with Pintar and gave her several mailers that the DeMaio campaign planned to send out, as well as a copy of the Slater interview.
On June 16, the police, at Bosnich's invitation, went to talk to him at his attorney's office. Bosnich showed them an email he received from an anonymous sender on June 2, saying that his claims would be rebuffed by his own words. Included was a forwarded May 23 email exchange between Bosnich and his mother, in which Bosnich says he was fired because he was responsible for "a huge fuck up." Bosnich claims he couldn't have sent that email from that account because he was locked out of it by then. His mother was later shown that email and said she didn't believe she participated in it, either. (Claims of phony emails from both sides have played a big role in the DeMaio-Bosnich saga. Scott Lewis of Voice of San Diego detailed it all.)
We don't know what Bosnich was up to between late June, when the search-warrant affidavits were filed, and October, when the harassment accusation surfaced and he started tweeting again. On Oct. 20, the District Attorney's office announced that there wasn't enough evidence to charge DeMaio with sexual harassment or charge Bosnich or anyone else for the break-in.
On Nov. 7, news reports of the search-warrant affidavits emerged, highlight new details of Bosnich's activities. At nearly the exact same time, police were called to a home where Bosnich and his mother allegedly got into a physical altercation. Bosnich was arrested four days later for assault. The DA's office has forwarded the case to the City Attorney's office, which prosecutes misdemeanor crimes.
After the stories about the search warrant came out, we asked Bosnich a series of questions. He was forthcoming with most of them. He sidestepped a couple, like how, if he didn't take the campaign-mailer proofs from the office, did DeMaio's handwritten notes end up on them? And he was angry about questions regarding his mom. Bosnich says he did file a complaint against DeMaio, but no record of one has surfaced.
Something major made Bosnich want to destroy DeMaio, who'd been a hero to the young man—DeMaio, like Bosnich, is a rare gay conservative. Maybe it was being fired for plagiarism, but the identity of the plagiarist wasn't made public at the time. Was that enough to risk a career in politics? DeMaio has not produced any proof that Bosnich was responsible for the plagiarized report. If folks were so sure that Bosnich did the break-in, why was he never arrested for it?
CityBeat got to know Bosnich pretty well in October; we spent time with him on a number of occasions. We found him to be smart, funny, engaging, likable and believable. But we also can't stand DeMaio, so we definitely wanted to like and believe Bosnich; there's no denying that. Honestly, not knowing if he's telling the truth is making us a little bit crazy.
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