In late May 2012, when District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis was running for mayor, this flyer hit the streets, promoting Dumanis' election on one side and, on the other, "Coed Thursdays" at Belo, a now-closed Downtown nightclub. ---
The flyer-featuring Dumanis' official campaign logo-didn't make much sense until this past January, when the U.S. Attorney's office announced the arrest of two men who'd helped a Mexican foreign national, Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, illegally contribute money to Dumanis' mayoral bid. One of those men, retired San Diego Police Det. Ernesto "Ernie" Encinas, handled security for Belo.
Today, Ras Marcus, vice chair of the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access, tweeting as @NotDumanis, posted a 45-second video showing an electronic billboard, urging folks to vote for Dumanis for mayor. Marcus says he shot the video sometime around May 31, 2012, from the northbound lane of the San Ysidro border crossing (on the Mexico side). He says there were two billboards showing the video, one on each side of the road, but he was able to film only one.
Jen Tierney, Dumanis' spokesperson for her mayoral and DA campaigns, says she knows nothing about the billboard.
May 2012 is also when Azano, via his company Airsam N492RM, LLC, donated $100,000 to an independent-expenditure committee supporting Dumanis. When CityBeat's Dave Maass asked about the donation, a campaign spokesperson said Azano had a green card, making the donation OK (that turned out to be false). According to the U.S. Attorney, Azano used a straw man to ultimately donate $200,000 to Dumanis' mayoral bid. This, despite the fact that polls showed Dumanis trailing far behind Carl DeMaio, Bob Filner and Nathan Fletcher for the June 5 primary.
Why Azano spent so much money backing someone who didn't stand a chance of winning still isn't clear. Encinas, who did security consulting for nightclubs and strip joints, wanted then-Police Chief Bill Lansdowne out, to be replaced by someone of Encinas' choosing, according to the U.S. Attorney. And, yesterday afternoon, Dumanis challenger Bob Brewer's campaign revealed that earlier that day, Brewer had appeared in court to ask a judge to unseal a letter of recommendation that Dumanis wrote in September 2012 to University of San Diego president Mary Lyons on behalf of Azano's son, Edward Susumo Azano. The letter had been sealed as part of the U.S. Attorney's Azano corruption probe. The judge declined the request. (For more, see the U-T's story.) KPBS reported that the younger Azano-who goes by the name "Mr. SuSu" and who got the attention of TMZ after he dropped $130,000 at a Las Vegas nightclub in May 2012-attended USD from January to December 2013.