Feb. 9 2011 10:35 AM

Tour of old GOP HQ conflicts with Republican preaching

The GOP was here.
Photo by John R. Lamb

“It's not the tragedies that kill us, it's the messes.” —Dorothy Parker

After President Obama's State of the Union speech, there appeared on the conservative blog San Diego Rostra a blistering assessment from the chairman of the San Diego County Republican Party.

In amongst the right-wing blather, local Republican Party boss Tony Krvaric offered this suggestion: “We need to completely eliminate bureaucratic waste….”

Krvaric certainly has a funny way of practicing what he preaches, at least judging by a recent visit to the disheveled old party headquarters in Sorrento Valley that the local GOP abandoned in late December with six months remaining on its lease, only to relocate to office space in Krvaric's financial-planning business suite in Rancho Bernardo.

Now, Spin Cycle is no clean freak, but what was witnessed during that visit was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a pretty sight—certainly not by any known standards, particularly for a tenant who's requested that its security deposit be returned in full.

“I haven't moved a thing,” volunteered Antoine Georges, owner of the Oberlin Drive building that the local GOP called home for more than five years. “I wanted to preserve it for you just as they left it.”


In the reception area, a perfectly good, solid-wood desk sat empty, left behind presumably because it was too heavy to move. Another desk remained in an adjacent office. Several pristine file cabinets were left behind, most, but not all, emptied of their contents.

In the conference center, two unblemished storage racks were strewn haphazardly among the clutter on the burgundy carpet while a heavy-duty folding table leaned against a nearby wall.

Another near-new storage rack remained in a space marked “Server Room” that still held 16 boxes (each stamped “Qty: 350”) of folded handouts marked “Republican vs. Democrat”—presumably a right-leaning comparison of conservative and liberal values. Wouldn't be surprising if bureaucratic waste received some sort of mention, although Spin Cycle resisted the urge to cut open one of the sealed boxes to find out.

Nearby, the guts of a telephone system remained high on a wall with disconnected cords dangling down.

And then there's the clutter. A sports-car tire—a tire!—in one room. Empty packing boxes scattered throughout. Along the baseboard of the conference room, detritus of celebrations past—crumpled strips of red and blue crepe paper commingled with a stale potato chip, forgotten paper napkins and a unopened copy of the Citizens United DVD, HYPE: The Obama Effect.

Then there's the kitchen. Food remnants remained splattered on a baseboard or melded grossly into the carpet, including a piece of Christmas candy and what appeared to be a decaying pretzel.

“Pretty disgusting, isn't it?” Georges asked, and it was hard to disagree.

Since Spin Cycle broke the news two weeks ago that the local GOP had bailed on its headquarters while still under a lease that runs through June, Krvaric's defenders have hit the blogosphere, claiming that the conditions at the old office were so abysmal that the GOP had no choice but to flee for its own health and safety.

But under the lease, Georges said, the tenant is required to file complaints in writing, which he contends the GOP never did. Some complaints— like the condition of the bathroom next to the office—are now rectified. Georges proudly showed off the new state-of-the-art bathrooms, which include fancy Mitsubishi hand dryers and waterless urinals.

Then there's the claim about alleged toxic mold, which really gets Georges angry. He said he has documentation from an expert that no mold exists. “I will tell you that this is false, and only a diabolical mind like Tony Krvaric would come up with such an excuse to evade the responsibility that he has,” Georges said.

Leslie Eastman, a local Tea Party activist and author of the blog Temple of Mut, confronted Krvaric on the allegations of waste—including a claim by Georges and backed up by one of his employees that the GOP had filled a Dumpster with perfectly good office supplies before departing—and found his response troubling.

In an e-mail provided by Eastman, Krvaric argues, “One major flaw: you're assuming that the CityBeat article is true. We kept everything that was usable. Why would anyone toss out perfectly good stuff ? Doesn't make sense….”

Spin Cycle tried repeatedly to contact Krvaric for comment, to no avail. Not surprising, considering that he told Eastman in an e-mail, “… I don't care what CityBeat says/thinks.”

In a subsequent San Diego Rostra posting, however, Krvaric offered this assessment: “After our landlord's complete failure to respond to our escalating concerns about building security (following a well-publicized burglary back in August) as well as substandard and deteriorating facilities, we were left with no choice but to relocate. The health and safety of staff and volunteers was increasingly at risk.”

The “burglary,” which Georges argued was nothing more than a GOP employee sneaking in to retrieve a set of keys, remains unsolved. Georges also claimed GOP operators regularly hid keys in the outside landscaping just in case they needed access.

Whatever the complaints, Spin Cycle could find no commercial real-estate expert who would recommend handling the dispute as the GOP has.

“I would say it's never a good idea to walk away from a lease,” said Jason Hughes, a longtime tenant representative for the Downtown firm Irving Hughes. “And it's not a good idea, either, to leave a mess. It's just not professional.”

Recent filings with the Federal Elections Commission also indicate that three days after the local GOP wrote a check for $4,565.47 to Georges for office rent, it cut another check to Rancho Bernardo Courtyard in the amount of $5,175 for what it called “security deposit on new office.”

In the recent Rostra posting, Krvaric says the new setup has resulted in “a drastic reduction of our fixed costs by 41% for an annual savings of $164,000. I can proudly say that we are now as lean as we've ever been.”

The question remains: Is the county GOP subsidizing the office rent for Krvaric Capital, the chairman's consulting business that happens to occupy the same suite?

April Boling, the local GOP's treasurer, said she couldn't comment, adding, “This is an internal party matter that should be addressed by the chairman.”

Amen to that.

Got a tip? Send it to johnl@sdcitybeat.com


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