Azano Corruption Case Brings Political Fallout - NBC 7 San Diego

Azano Corruption Case Brings Political Fallout

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Political Fallout from Illegal Mayoral Contributions

    NBC 7's Gene Cubbison reports on how a Mexican businessman was hoping to benefit by contributing to San Diego mayoral campaigns in 2012. (Published Friday, Oct. 27, 2017)

    The federal corruption case against Mexican billionaire Jose Susumo Azano Matsura figures to stir up considerable political fallout in San Diego’s race for 4th District county supervisor.

    Azano claims former San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis knew he's a Mexican citizen, and still sought illegal campaign contributions from him.

    Dumanis denies it.

    Azano's claims are outlined in the prosecution's sentencing memo, which says he reimbursed dozens of "straw donors" who gave to Dumanis' campaign.

    The invoiced code name for her was "Betty Boob".

    At Azano's trial, Dumanis testified she never knew he's a foreign national.

    On Thursday she issued a statement calling his claims "a common Hail Mary tactic from defense attorneys."

    According to the memo, Azano told her he only had a Mexican passport and visa.

    While not a "target" of the grand jury, prosecutors listed her as a "subject" within the scope of the investigation.

    Azano's goal was said to be electing a mayor whose influence over "red tape” and permits could help him develop a resort known as "Miami West" along the downtown waterfront.

    And, bringing weight in a legal fight against Sempra Energy over land in Baja California.

    Dumanis has five opponents in the race for county supervisor.

    The County Democratic Party already has put out mailers attacking her involvement with Azano.

    "It seems clear that he wanted to generate a public and law enforcement movement against our largest company in town," said Scott Lewis, editor in chief of NBC 7’s media partner Voice of San Diego. "And that's an interesting story that if we could get more answers about, would be fun to update."

    According to the prosecutors' sentencing memo, after Dumanis lost in the primary, Azano's team switched political allegiance to Bob Filner.

    Some of them moved into the "war room" in Filner's campaign offices to handle social media work.

    In the runoff, Filner topped Carl DeMaio by five points.

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