Tuesday, December 23, 2008


By Leo E. Laurence • Copyright © 2008 by Leo E. Laurence for San Diego News Service

For over a decade, the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) has been a corrupt organization. It’s funded by taxes paid by every business in Hillcrest, yet those business owners have been totally apathetic about the HBA’s blatant violations of its own by-laws and state law.

For nearly 19 years, the HBA has operated with a board of directors that exceeds the number al-lowed by its own by-laws.

For many months, the HBA hired a private security firm, Off-Duty Officers (ODO), to “patrol” the streets, though even San Diego police officers assigned to the area confess they have “never” seen those security officers working.

And those ODO contracts were signed and paid for in alleged violation of the HBA’s contract with the city.

The HBA got away with these intentional violations because nobody objected, though the District Attorney’s office did investigate the organization last year for alleged violations of the state’s Brown Act, which requires open meetings.

Earlier this month, the HBA held a second “Annual Meeting.” Its first, held in October, failed to satisfy the quorum requirements of the organization’s by-laws, according to HBA’s attorney, Graham S. P. Hollis of Grace, Hollis & Hanson, LLP, in Hillcrest.

Nine members of the board had to stand for “re-election” on December 9. All but three were elected. Those removed were Scott Crowder, Sissy Isham and Leo Laurence. Each had protested the board’s corrupt ways in the past.

With the exception of two, members of the HBA board are not honorable people. They intentionally and knowingly violated their own by-laws regularly.

One of those who survived, but who has nonetheless challenged the organization’s actions, is Nick Moede, owner of Numbers and Rich’s.

During the report by Treasurer Cecilia Moreno, Moede repeatedly asked, “How much reserves do we have that is not budgeted?”

The HBA’s hired bookkeeper couldn’t answer the question.

“What are our reserves?” Moede asked again.

We have an average daily balance of $275.000, Moreno said. (This is about $100,000 less than re-ported last summer. Where is that missing money?)

“How much do we have available in reserves to spend on capital improvements (budgeted at $100,000)?, Moede asked yet again.

He never received an answer.

The board re-elected all of its officers to a new one-year term, so we can expect the organization to continue on its corrupt ways.

For comment, contact Leo Laurence at (619) 757-4909 or at leopowerhere@msn.com


Attorney Graham Hollis (in suit) coordinated counting the ballots of the “re-election” of the HBA board of directors. Photo by Leo E. Laurence