Long-time City Hall watchers may recall San Diego's real-estate assets manager, Will Griffith, and wonder what happened to him after he resigned in 2005. I wasn't here at the time, but I've read a few Union-Tribune stories that discuss how Griffith came under criticism for his handling of a lease at Montgomery Field and how his department couldn't provide an accurate list of all the properties owned by the city. He quit shortly after three council members called for his dismissal.
Six years later, where's Griffith? In researching this week's news story about City Attorney Jan Goldsmith's investments, I learned that Griffith now works for Square One Development Corp. The company was founded by Mickey Cafagna, the late mayor of Poway, and attorney Mark Mandell. Square One also happens to be the managing partner in a business venture with Goldsmith in Mesa, Ariz.
In the story, I examined how Goldsmith's office faced a potential conflict of interest when a deputy city attorney represented the city in negotiations with Square One over a project at Montgomery Field. In a telephone conversation, Griffith confirmed that he had a hand in the selection process for the Montgomery Field project in 2004 and 2005, though he resigned before Square One was formally selected by a City Council committee in 2006.
Griffith said he doesn't have an employment contract with Square One, but works as a broker for the company.
I asked Griffith when he began work with Square One. At first he said two years ago, but later in the conversation, he said nine months ago. He called back to say that I should use August 2011 as his start date, because that's when his name was added to the Square One website. He's now the listed contact for many of Square One's properties, including the Thunderbird Executive Plaza in Mesa, the project Goldsmith is invested in.
According to City Attorney spokesperson Jonathan Heller, the City Attorney's office has no open cases involving Griffith as a witness. Such a case could have triggered a California State Bar rule that requires attorneys to disclose business relationships with witnesses.