The County of San Diego is asking a former employee of Supervisor Dave Roberts to return the personalized baseball cards with the supervisor’s face on them to the county.
County Spokesman Mike Workman confirmed to NBC 7 Investigates that county counsel asked Roberts’ former scheduler Diane Porter to return the cards to the county.
“Since they were paid for with county funds, we asked for them back,” Workman said in an email to NBC 7 Investigates.
Porter filed a wrongful termination claim against San Diego County earlier this month. In it she alleges, among other things, the Roberts used county funds to buy 10,000 'Dave Roberts baseball cards.'" According to the claim, when the cards arrived, some staff in the office expressed concern over whether they were an appropriate expenditure.
In the claim, Porter also accuses Roberts of carrying on an inappropriate relationship with 26-year-old staffer Harold Meza and retaliating against those who objected.
Expense reports show the cards were purchased in March for $999 with county money from a petty cash fund.
In a separate claim filed against the county, Roberts’ former Chief of Staff Glynnis Vaughan alleges she and the staff racked up hours creating the cards, and she spent time vetting them with county legal counsel to make sure they were not campaign materials. In the claim Vaughan alleges the cards were ultimately “watered down” so they could be used.
However, according to Porter’s claim, Roberts asked her to place the baseball cards in a drawer in his office on March 11. In the claim, Porter alleges Roberts then asked her to "make them disappear."
At a news conference last week, a public relations representative hired by the supervisor, Gary Gartner, said the personalized baseball cards were no different than cards former California Governor Pete Wilson made in 1999.
Gartner is being paid with Roberts' campaign funds.
Porter’s attorney Chris Morris confirmed Tuesday that the county has asked for the cards to be returned. Morris also said Tuesday was the first time he or his client have been contacted by the county to return the baseball cards. He added he contacted the County last Friday asking what should be done with the cards.
In an April 3 email, Porter informed the county's legal counsel she had the cards in her garage.
"Tom. I forgot that Dave had purchased 10,000 baseball cards with county money,” she wrote to County Counsel Thomas Montgomery, according to the email provided to NBC 7 Investigates. “After someone claimed they looked political, he asked me to take them home. They are in my garage."
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