SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has seen his share of controversy since he took office last December. On Friday, he responded to the criticism surrounding his administration.
Because of a memo regarding a Kearny Mesa building development, Filner has returned checks totaling $100,000 given to the city by developer Sunroad Enterprises.
"This is not what I had in mind. I thought it was donations and I took it as that. We deposited them in the city account as donations, and that's what we thought it was," Filner said.
The mayor says he did not know that former deputy chief of staff Allen Jones had signed the memo saying that the money was in consideration for the city's granting the developer easements at the Centrum Park site.
"My staff signed it, which brings me into it. And I said that's not the way I saw it so you get the money back…if that was how you saw it, that's not how I saw it," Filner said.
The developer left a voice mail message for Councilman Kevin Faulconer June 7 acknowledging the payment was made.
Meantime, the mayor also addressed concerns about the cost of his recent 5-day trip to Paris, France, where he addressed members of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and where he also spent some time in Lille to hear how officials are dealing with renewable energy ideas he would like to bring to San Diego.
SDPD Chief William Lansdowne says the cost for at least two officers to go with Filner on his trip to France exceeded $10,000.
As far as the development issue, Sunroad Enterprises issued a statement Friday saying they just did what they were asked to do by city staff.