Media

92-Year-Old Former City Attorney Charged with Murder

A 92-year-old former city attorney received probation after murdering his son in his Old Town San Diego home.

Jury Awards Verdict Against Former Mrs. America

In 1981, Jill Scott and Plaintiff G.E. Scott were married.  In 1990, she was crowned Mrs. America.  In June 1998, a San Diego jury awarded $690,000 to Mr. Scott after his now ex-wife and her new husband Rick Chance hired bounty hunters…

Emmy Award Winning Producers Acquitted

For years, two Los Angeles television producers told authorities they were unwitting pawns in a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of millions of dollars…

FBI to Pay Man $190,000 to Settle Wrong-Arrest Case

A San Diego man wrongfully arrested by an FBI agent in May 2000 will get $190,000 from the federal agency in a federal court settlement…

Otay Water Report Faults Inspectors

A cascade of errors by Otay Water District inspectors, contractors and others caused treated sewage to flow into the drinking water of an Eastlake business park instead of drinking water, according to a district report…

Verdict in Belmont Park Shooting

A 23-year old youth counselor who was shot twice by an off-duty National City police officer working as a security guard at Belmont Park in Mission Beach has been awarded $1.6 million by a jury…

 

‘Bumfights’ Participant Sues

Anna Gorman — Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Lawyers for a homeless man who appeared in the controversial “Bumfights” video have filed a civil suit against the filmmakers for violating the man’s privacy.  Peter LaForte, 31, alleges in the lawsuit that the filmmakers did not get his permission to videotape him fighting with a 275-pound woman in October 2001 or to use the video for commercial purposes.

Attorney Mark Quigley said the video — which was sold underground on the Internet and in stores for $20 — caused his client “constant shame, embarrassment and humiliation.”

The defendants “should not be allowed to profit from their wrongful conduct,” said Quigley, who filed the suit Tuesday in San Diego Superior Court.

According to the suit, the woman approached LaForte and asked if he would participate in a videotaped fight. He declined, but the filmmakers taped them when the woman attacked LaForte and a fight ensued, the suit said. LaForte refused to sign a release.

Doug Gilliland, who represents the filmmakers in the civil suit, said, “I think that when the [filmmakers’] side of the story comes out, the civil case is going to go the same way of the criminal case.”

In January, a San Diego Superior Court judge ruled that the filmmakers, Ryan McPherson, Zachary Bubeck, Daniel J. Tanner and Michael Slyman, would not face felony charges. They now face misdemeanor charges and are due in criminal court today.

 


Otay Water Report Faults Inspectors

By Ann Krueger — San Diego Union Tribune

Chula Vista — A cascade of errors by Otay Water District inspectors, contractors and others caused treated sewage to flow into the drinking water of an Eastlake business park instead of drinking water, according to a district report.  The report concludes that Otay inspectors – including one who admitted soliciting bribes on other projects – didn’t follow regulations or missed signs that pipes weren’t properly connected during construction of the Fenton Business Center on Fenton Street.

The report will be presented to the Otay board today, along with an update on steps taken to ensure a similar incident won’t happen again, General Manager Mark Watton said.  The water district has been investigating what went wrong at the business park since Aug. 17 tests from a private laboratory showed the tap water was recycled – treated sewage intended for irrigation, not drinking.

Otay officials say a pipe carrying recycled water was mistakenly connected to a meter for drinking water two years ago. The engineer on the project, Irvine-based Hunsaker and Associates, submitted “inaccurate, incomplete and confusing” construction plans, the district said. The plans Otay received did not show recycled water pipes, although grading plans submitted to the city of Chula Vista showed the pipes.

An Otay inspector should have noted the inconsistency in his inspection records and asked to see plan revisions, the report said. The inspector is identified only as “Inspector A” in the report. Watton confirmed the inspector was William Cooper, who resigned in August 2004 after he was charged with accepting one bribe and soliciting another on Chula Vista residential projects. Cooper pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year in a work-furlough program and three years’ probation. The report noted that Civil Constructors Corp. of El Cajon, a contractor on the Fenton project, was the same company involved in the Cooper case.

Officials at Hunsaker and Associates and Civil Constructors Corp. could not be reached yesterday.  “Do I wish our inspector would have highlighted that (problem at Fenton)? Absolutely,” Watton said. “Is it sensational in the fact that our inspector was arrested for accepting bribes on another project? I don’t think so.”

Because Cooper was no longer working for the district, a consultant served as the inspector during a final walk-through in December 2004. Cooper’s records were “very poor,” the report said.  The project was later accepted by the district. An inspection supervisor didn’t ensure the construction records reflected what was actually built.

Another Otay inspector caught one mistake but made a key error in the treated sewage mix-up. The inspector discovered a drinking water pipe incorrectly connected to a recycled water meter in July 2005. He had that meter replaced.  But that same day, he ordered a new meter for another pipe without checking whether the pipe carried recycled or drinking water, the report said. The meter for drinking water was placed on a recycled water line.

Watton said disciplinary action is being considered against Otay employees who didn’t follow procedures.  The district is focusing now on preventing a similar incident, Watton said. It is making sure recycled-water connections are more clearly marked, with purple designating the attachments between a purple recycling pipe and the meter. Otay employees will also now test the water at the meter and at a new customer’s tap, he said.

In the meantime, employees in the business park are visiting their doctors. Joe Padilla, who owns a computer repair store, said that although his water was declared safe Aug. 24, Otay employees returned to his store last week and replaced his faucets. He said he’s not sure whether to drink the water.  “They need to be a little more clear on what the situation is. Is it safe or not safe?” he said.  The district said it fixed the problem, and state officials declared the water safe in late August.