Car Dealer Hires Defense Attorney in Light of Scandal

By Paul Krueger
|  Monday, Jan 27, 2014  |  Updated 9:14 PM PDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
A La Jolla car dealer implicated in a campaign finance scandal has hired one of San Diego's best-known criminal defense lawyers. NBC 7 has learned that attorney Michael Pancer now represents Marc Chase, owner of Symbolic Motor Cars. Prosecutors say a Mexican citizen pumped more than $500,000 into local campaigns, a violation of U.S. election laws. He also loves fast, expensive cars, which may have cemented his relationship with the car dealer. NBC 7’s Megan Tevrizian has more.

A La Jolla car dealer implicated in a campaign finance scandal has hired one of San Diego's best-known criminal defense lawyers. NBC 7 has learned that attorney Michael Pancer now represents Marc Chase, owner of Symbolic Motor Cars. Prosecutors say a Mexican citizen pumped more than $500,000 into local campaigns, a violation of U.S. election laws. He also loves fast, expensive cars, which may have cemented his relationship with the car dealer. NBC 7’s Megan Tevrizian has more.

advertisement
Photos and Videos

Cortes Jailed After Campaign Finance Scandal

Today's campaign finance hearing revealed new information about city hall lobbyist Marco Polo Cortes, who's been in jail without bail since Tuesday. NBC 7's Mari Payton explains why the FBI had a big problem with that defendant.

Finance Scandal Aimed to Create Miami West

A federal prosecutor revealed that a Mexican businessman accused of using political operatives to illegally donate at least $500,000 to San Diego political campaigns wanted to transform San Diego into “Miami West." NBC 7's Gene Cubbison has the latest details on the scandal.
More Photos and Videos

A wealthy car dealer implicated in a campaign finance scandal has hired one of San Diego’s most experienced and respected defense attorneys.

NBC 7 has learned that attorney Michael Pancer now represents Marc Chase, owner of Symbolic Motor Cars, on La Jolla Boulevard.

Prosecutors say a billionaire Mexican businessman, identified as Jose Susumo Azano, funneled more than $500,000 into local campaigns. It is illegal for foreign nationals to contribute to U.S. elections.

Key Players in the Campaign Finance Scandal

Neither Susumo nor Chase have been charged in this case, but three others, including a former San Diego Police Department detective and a City Hall lobbyist, are accused of Conspiracy to Commit Offenses Against the United States.

Those criminal complaints indicate that Chase acted as a “Straw Donor” by funneling at least $180,000 of Susumo Azano’s money into independent campaigns benefiting mayoral candidate Bob Filner and congressional candidate Juan Vargas.

Prosecutors say Susumo Azano hoped his contributions would give him the inside track to develop high-rise buildings on the San Diego bayfront.

Former federal prosecutor John Kirby says Chase could face criminal charges for his alleged role in the scandal.

Those charges might not be as serious as the one used against the three named defendants, but Kirby told NBC 7, “Usually, when you’re talking about campaign contributions, you can find a statue that will work.”

Kirby says Chase might be cooperating with the FBI in hopes of avoiding those charges.

On Monday, Chase’s attorney, Michael Pancer was out of town and unavailable for comment.

Attorney Guadalupe Valencia, who is working on the case with Pancer, would not address the legal aspects of the case, but stressed that Chase is an upstanding citizen and very generous donor to local charities, including a fund for research into childhood diseases at the Scripps Research Institute.

Follow NBC 7 for the latest news, weather, and events: iPad App | iPhone App | Android App | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | RSS | Text Alerts | Email Alerts

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out