The resolution before the San
Diego City Council is:
"BE IT RESOLVED, by the
Council of the City of San Diego, that this Council, for and on behalf of the
people of San Diego, hereby expresses its desire to be a Sister City to the
Shannon Region of Ireland and accepts the shared desire of Shannon Development
to seek Sister City partnership with San Diego."
I am therefore
appealing to the San Diego City Council not to approve this project as an
official Sister City; not to make San Diego part of this "new departure" and not
to strip the Sister City concept of its traditional integrity.
- Mayor Murphy initiated this in March 2002 and has had
his staff working on it ever since. He is now recommending that you make
- To do so you must embrace a new departure, a new Sister
City program, whereby the traditional people-to-people affiliation, requiring
an elected body at both ends of the relationship, is replaced by two new
concepts: a "substantive area" and an "administrative
- In this case the "Shannon region" would be the
"substantive area" and Shannon Development would be the "administrative
partner", thus dispensing with the need for a jurisdiction and elected
officials at the Irish end.
- The Shannon region is not a jurisdiction.
- Shannon Development is an Irish government agency with a
loose remit for economic development in and around Shannon Airport. It is
incorporated as a private company, wholly owned by the Irish Minister for
Finance, ex officio.
- Shannon Development is a very large property owner in
the Shannon area. Although a government agency it can buy and sell property
without a bidding process.
- Shannon Development, with offices in San Jose
California, has a large company client list in San Diego and throughout the
State of California.
- As an agent of the Irish Government, Shannon Development
dispenses large cash grants as incentives to American companies who invest in
- Shannon Development, in conjunction with Ernst & Young
and under the sponsorship of this proposed Sister City organization, has
already given a seminar to San Diego
businesses regarding the use of Ireland as a tax shelter.
- San Diego Sister Cities International and Sister Cities
International in Washington DC, liked Mayor Murphy's suggestion for this "new
departure" from the traditional Sister City program so much that they created
a new affiliation program called their "International Partners" program.
I was told by a director of that organization that they
plan to recommend "The San Diego Model" to other American cities and other
countries around the world.
- Unlike Sister Cities International, San Diego City does
not have an "International Partners" program. Current San Diego policy
requires that: "A similar identifiable civic or official group must
exist in the city with which affiliation is proposed".
Please give us a real traditional people-to-people Irish Sister City. There are
so many wonderful Irish cities to choose from.
I became involved with Mayor Murphy's proposed Irish Sister City project the moment I
heard of it because I am an enthusiastic supporter of the people-to-people concept first proposed by Dwight Eisenhower in 1956. I was
particularly enthusiastic about a Sister City relationship
between my home city of 28 years, San Diego, with any city in my native
Ireland. I still am.
But I want San Diego to do it right. What Mayor Murphy is pushing is
wrong. He wants to twin San Diego with an undefined "region" of Ireland
called "Shannon", which does not exist as a jurisdiction, and he wants an entity
called Shannon Development to be his "administrative partner". It would be like
Dublin twinning with the "San Diego Region" and having CCDC administer it.
Like the San Diego region, the Shannon region consists of many jurisdictions
ranging from counties, cities, towns and villages spread out along the Shannon
river. Perhaps one could even include semi-autonomous bodies like universities,
airports, port authorities etc.
But the entity that Mayor Murphy has chosen as his Sister City partner is a hybrid body
known as Shannon Development. It is a development agency of the Irish
Government, something akin to the TVA, the Tennessee Valley Authority.
This body is incorporated in the Irish Companies Registry as a private
company, (not a non-profit company, an ordinary private company) wholly owned by the Irish Government, its shares being
held by the Minister of Finance ex-officio.
It is a grant-giving agency of the Irish Government with an official remit of
fostering economic development in and around Shannon Airport, the purpose for
which it was originally incorporated in 1956.
It has gradually extended its sphere of influence to where it now arrogates to
itself almost everything of an economic nature that occurs in what it describes
as the "Shannon Region". It still retains its private company status which
vastly reduces its accountability. A recent example of which is its
government-owned land to a private "partnership" without any public
advertisement or bidding process.
I first met the new Irish Consul General, Donal Denham1
21, 2002, at an event at SDSU. The event involved the RUC, the Northern Ireland police force. Mr. Denham had only arrived in
California the previous November, 2001 and we were all eager to meet him.
I had worked very closely with his predecessor two years earlier
when I reported for various Irish newspapers on a case involving a Northern
Ireland loyalist paramilitarist arrested in Riverside County on weapons and drug
charges. I also produced a current affairs segment for RTE (Irish Television) on
that story. Mark Little, their US correspondent, flew out from Washington to
So Mr. Denham and I had something to talk about. That case had also involved the
British Consul as Northern Ireland is part of the UK.
We talked for a while and then he told me that the Mayor of San Diego was going
to announce a new Sister City in Ireland at the upcoming St. Patrick's Day
Parade celebrations in March. I gave him my card and told him I would like to
On March 16th 2002 the Mayor did indeed announce a new Sister City at the 2002 St. Patrick's Day
Parade celebrations - Shannon.
On April 19, 2002 I received this email from a Mr.
whom I had briefly met at the UCSD event. He seemed to be Mr. Denham's
driver that night.
I later learned that they were much closer and had known each other for many
years. Apparently Mr. Mullally had arrived in San Diego about the same time Mr.
Denham had arrived in San Francisco. Mr. Denham had spent the previous three
years at the Irish Government's Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
while Mr. Mullally had spent the previous twenty years in Jamaica.
Shannon Development is administered by the Trade department
in which Mr. Denham had recently served, so he would have known all about Shannon
Development. According to the Mayor's assistant Mr. Ben Marchant, it was he who
had suggested Shannon to Mayor Murphy.
April 25, 2002 Organizing Committee meeting:
The first organizing meeting was held at the Imperial House on 6th Ave., San
Diego. Mr. Marchant from the Mayor's Office knew about the Imperial House from
his duties at the St. Patrick's Day Parade breakfast in March when he had
assisted the Mayor.
Mr. Mullally took the chair and announced that he was
being put in charge of this undertaking by the Irish Consul General, Mr. Donal Denham.
Mr. Marchant approved and told us that Shannon was the Consul General's idea.
Mr. Marchant: a City employee, Deputy Chief of Protocol, announced that he was the Mayor's
representative to this undertaking; seemed to have already done a great deal of
work and to be guiding Mr. Mullally.
Bernadette Cashman: runs San Diego Irish Outreach.3
She receives funding from the Irish Consul General.
She sees herself as the unofficial Irish Consul in San Diego. Mullally announced that she would be
Tim Hushen4 had
obtained the US Government funding for the highly secretive RUC presence
in San Diego, as part of the Irish peace process. The Federal funding required
one public event which
was what Mr. Denham attended on February 21st 2002.
Hugh Constant: (happens to be an Englishman) runs the downtown
San Diego World Trade Center5
and was probably invited by Mr. Marchant. His business is to organize
meet-and-greet international business events.
Monica Murphy: was newly arrived from Dublin and in the travel business.
She was probably invited by Bernadette Cashman as they were friends.
Kathleen Roche-Tansey6 represented the San Diego
Sister Cities Corporation. Mr. Marchant explained that she was present on behalf
of the City to give advice on setting up a Sister City organization.
Finnegan: is the Sister Cities coordinator for the
City of Carlsbad7 and a colleague of Ms. Roche-Tansey.
So the dual personalities of this undertaking were already apparent:
international business in the person of Mr. Constant of the WTC and Sister
Cities in these two
This email8 is the only record, as
minutes were not provided by Bernadette Cashman.
Who is Mr. Mullally and why Shannon?
By now the word had got around that Mayor Dick Murphy was twinning San Diego
with Shannon and that a complete newcomer to town, a Mr. Mullally was heading it
I had a meeting with a member of the IDA, the
Industrial Development Agency9, which is the main Irish development agency, to
see if he could shed any light on it.
He told me that Shannon Development shared an office with them in San Jose and
that the Consul General must have some purpose in this otherwise it made no
Why would a city the size of San Diego want to twin with "Shannon"? There is a
town called Shannon Town, which
according to its web site had a population of 8,561 at the 2002 Census, not
exactly the best match for America's seventh largest city. It was built as a
"company town", owned and operated by Shannon Development. The historic
relationship between Shannon Development and Shannon Town has been - "strained".
He was as puzzled as I. But he wanted to stay out of it. And I
didn't blame him.
We knew that
Murphy had looked at the towns of Drogheda10 and
Waterford11 the previous year. Everybody knew that Mick Ward, who owns
The Old Sod12, was very disappointed
that his native Drogheda got dumped for "Shannon". In fact he was flabbergasted and wanted to know who the heck was this guy Mullally.
Even if Shannon was a suitable twin, the fact that the Consul General in San
Francisco was dictating not only which Irish city San Diego should twin with but also deciding who chairs
the committee, was creating quite a stir. The Irish in San Diego particularly resented the fact
that somebody nobody had ever
heard of before was now their representative to the Mayor and the Consul
I caught a lot of "stick"
from Mick Ward and others for getting involved with it at all and lending it legitimacy. Mr. Mullally
was the main focus of resentful at that early stage.
June 27, 2002 Organizing Committee meeting:
Mullally called this meeting the day before with this email13.
This left little time to invite others. It later became evident why - he wanted
to keep this to a "core group".
Francis Killgallon: owns the
Blarney Stone14 in
Clairemont. Mr. Mullally had started to frequent his
Cathy Cawley-Barry: was invited by me as she was Chairperson of the San
Diego St. Patrick's Day Parade.
This email15 is the only record as
minutes were not provided by Bernadette Cashman.
Mr. Mullally attended a meeting of the San Diego
International Sister Cities Corporation on July 16, 2002 and met the then
President of San Diego-Vladivostok Sister City Society, David Edick.
David is now
President of San Diego International Sister Cities Inc.
He seemed to have had
some doubts about anybody trying to twin with a government agency back in 2002, as he put the word
"city" in quotation marks in
this email16 to Mr. Mullally.
July 18, 2002
There were no new attendees. Inviting any seemed to be discouraged.
announced that he would open an
account in our name at the San Diego State University Foundation and solicit
afterwards is the only
record as minutes were not provided.
Donnie O'Sullivan meets Mr. Marchant regarding Mr. Mullally:
Donnie O'Sullivan, a Professor who visits from Ireland
every year about this time to lecture at USD, asked to be introduced to Mr. Marchant.
I arranged a lunch meeting the following day.
Mr. O'Sullivan wished to let Mr. Marchant know that he and
others, particularly Mr. Pete Smith, a
substantial downtown San Diego property owner (he owns the
Blarney Stone Pub Downtown18, The Callan Hotel downtown,
The Field Irish Pub & Restaurant19 and many other properties
around San Diego).
Mr. Smith really resented
the fact that Mr. Denham in San Francisco had put his own personal friend Mr. Mullally in charge of
something in San Diego that involved the Mayor. He resented the fact that when something
official and prestigious came along a complete outsider got the job. He was
determined to change that.
Smith wanted his friend Mr. Tim Hushen in that job. He also wanted his friend
involved, so Mr. O'Sullivan recommended them both highly to Mr. Marchant.
this report to the group.
According to this email21
from Mr. Mullally b
oth he and Mr. Denham seemed to agree that Mr.
Murillo would "open doors"
It seems that Mr. O'Sullivan had already introduced him to Mr. Denham even before
he introduced him to Mr. Marchant.
Meanwhile Mr. Marchant had commenced working with Mr. Murillo as per this
They were to tackle the Mullally "problem" later as we will see.
August 1, 2002
I had been working on a web site and drafting a Mission Statement. I needed
some input from Mr. Mullally but he was unreachable in Jamaica. I sent this email23
to the group asking
for help and a special meeting for that purpose on Thursday August 1st. We
were still an ad hoc group who met on Thursdays.
Aftermath of August 1, 2002
Mr. Mullally was later to make much of my "calling" this meeting and
characterized it as some sort of coup. His unexpectedly strong reaction seemed
to betray his sense of vulnerability as a newcomer.
I had innocently suggested the meeting and there
seemed to be no problem as Mr. Marchant (despite going on vacation the
following morning) was able to attend.
Mr. Marchant lived up in Temecula
yet he actually brought his wife along that night, despite their vacation
plans. It was the first real clue of how enormously important this "Sister
City" project must be to his boss the Mayor.
Mr. Mullally contacted us a few days later and I requested he call a real
meeting25 for the following Thursday
Aug. 8th as there was much to be done.
He said he would not be able to
. I don't know whether he knew about
the August 1st meeting at that time or not. It didn't seem important. I was anxious to talk to him as he was close to the Consul General and I wanted his input, but he
seemed to be always away.
I tried for a
lunch meeting27 with
him. I particularly wanted to discuss the Mission Statement, also the web site I was
creating. I wanted to avoid any problems later with the Consul General as I
knew from Mr. Marchant that this was important to him and that Mr. Mullally
was his friend. I
needed a sense of where we were going with this.
I had the strong impression that there was a lot going on that I was not part
It seemed that Mr. Marchant was managing the whole affair for the Consul General
out of the Mayor's Office. It had seemed OK to go ahead and have a meeting
without Mr. Mullally on August 1st but not OK without Mr. Marchant on August
8th. Mr. Marchant, a Mayoral employee, was clearly in charge of organizing
Mr. Mullally's very informative memo:
Mr. Mullaly contacted me to say he was still having problems finding time for
either a lunch or a
Committee meeting (while Mr. Marchant was away) but otherwise his email28
was very informative.
It confirmed that Mayor Murphy had been
interested in an Irish twinning "with Donal's predecessor" (note the
familiarity). This led me to believe that Mayor Murphy may have got into this
innocently enough at the beginning but that Mr. Denham had made it into
something altogether different.
I knew who Shannon Development were and I knew
they would never be interested in entertaining "Sister City" people on a junket.
There had to be something more to this and as the IDA employee had said, the
Consul General must have a reason. But it didn't feel good. I knew that
Shannon Development was all about money, not people-to-people.
Shannon Development are in the economic development business. They own and operate hotels, castles, golf courses, business parks, office
buildings and much more. They give huge cash grants to foreign investors on
behalf of the Irish Government.
Kevin Thompstone, their CEO, was not the Mayor of Shannon Town or any other
jurisdiction. There was big money involved here. Mr. Denham had just
spent the last three years in the Irish Government Department that manages Shannon Development.
I was ready to back out but Pete Smith continually urged me to "hang in there" as "God only knows what
they will do if I didn't". He wanted me involved, so I stayed.
Mullally's informative email also confirmed what
he had already told me: that he was a longtime friend of the new Consul General
- while Mulally was in Jamaica and while "Donal" was in Canada.
Mr. Denham had been Acting
Ambassador in Ottawa, according to his resume29,
which position also has charge of Irish affairs in the Caribbean.
And finally his email intimated a policy that they wanted to keep this to a
My idea of making this a
big San Diego/Ireland cultural group was to prove "difficult".
Mr. Mullally had been away from Ireland for over 20 years. He had already told
me that he had not been back in all that time. Yet all of a sudden
he had made a trip there in April - to Shannon Development!
I had made several long telephone calls to Mr. Marchant since April urging him to
drop the "core group" idea and bring in the heads of the various Irish cultural organizations
in San Diego.
I thought Sister Cities should be people-to-people organizations.
August 22, 2002 Organizing Committee meeting:
Suddenly Mr. Marchant was back and the next meeting was immediately on!30
Mr. Marchant circulated this article in the NY Times31 by
This "very relevant article" as Mr. Marchant described it, seems to have found its relevancy in that it described an
opportunity opening up for Ernst & Young32 to use Ireland as a replacement for its faltering Bermuda
Mr. Marchant, Deputy Chief of Protocol at the Mayor's Office, had been reading
the financial pages and recognized
the relevance of this article to our Sister City venture, entirely without help?
The main event of the meeting was Mr. Marchant's response to the concerns
Donnie O'Sullivan had communicated to Mr. Marchant over Mr. Mullally.
So at the meeting Mr. Marchant announced that
he was "appointing"
Mr. Hushen as "Interim Chairman".
Mr. Marchant simply announced it. There was no discussion or vote. Mr. Mullally was shocked and left. There was no doubt
in anybody's mind about who was in
charge - Mr. Marchant, on behalf of the Mayor. He could appoint and un-appoint
Here are the minutes of the
Aftermath of August 22, 2002 Organizing Committee meeting:
The Consul General had been told by Mr. Marchant that it was
Mr. Smith who wanted Mr. Mullally removed. I was with Mr. Smith when the
Consul General called him from Ireland
trying to win him over. Mr. Denham was on vacation with his family. This was
clearly no ordinary Sister City.
Marchant worked on the Organizing Committee on City time:
This email33 and its
attachment34 makes it clear
that he was working on this project on City time.
I had been working on a Mission Statement
and now Mr. Marchant wanted it completed so Mr. Hushen invited me35 to join him and Monica
in his office. Mr. Hushen seemed to have the entire
facilities at SDSU Foundation at his disposal.
His email also made it very clear that Pete Smith was very happy with
his chairmanship. Pete Smith, Rudy Murrillo and Mr. Hushen vacation with
Donnie O'Sullivan in Ireland every year. Mr. Mullally would have a tough time
getting back in the chair.
Drafting the Mission Statement:
Mr. Hushen36 was
pressing for the Mission Statement. Surprisingly Mr. Marchant joined us in Mr. Hushen's office
at SDSU. He could hardly have gone out to SDSU during
City working hours without permission from his boss, Mr. Murphy. Monica didn't
make it. Perhaps Mr. Marchant told her he was going himself.
Mr. Hushen had already drafted this37.
It is informative in that it shows Mr. Hushen's real interest in this enterprise.
was primarily interested in the Economic Development aspect - he put education in
second place. He
for possible EU and US funding" for the "Consortium for Commercialization of
Advanced Technologies", of which he was a director. That is what he does
Mr. Marchant left me to it. So did Mr. Hushen. I was left to draft
the Mission Statement in Mr. Hushen's office with the kind help of one his staff
acting as a sounding board.
Here is what I submitted38:
"The people of San Diego, gateway to
California and the Pacific Rim, and the people of Ireland’s Shannon Region,
gateway to Ireland and the European Union, noting a shared entrepreneurial
spirit and as cross-road locations for international trade and commerce, join
together in friendship to promote the academic, economic and cultural
enrichment of their combined fellow citizenry."
I figured we would easily find a city with a jurisdiction in the Shannon
region when we had the groundwork completed. I knew there would be no
difficulty finding lots of City Mayors and City Councilors eager for an
official trip to San Diego. I never imagined the Mayor intended this to be an
exclusive Shannon Development deal. I was still unaware of his March 2002
letter to Kevin Thompstone, the Shannon Development CEO.
The Mission Statement adopted and now on
their web site39 reads
as follows: "The people of San Diego, gateway to California
and the Pacific Rim, and the people of Ireland’s Shannon region, gateway to
Ireland and the European Union, noting a shared entrepreneurial spirit and
cross-road locations in international trade and commerce, join together in
friendship to promote economic, academic and cultural excellence."
They put "economic" first and dropped my
"enrichment of their combined fellow
citizenry". I was anxious to use the word "citizenry", they didn't
I had studied Shannon Development's web site very carefully for their
philosophy. There was no mention of the word "Gateway" at that
time. I thought "Gateway" would be good. They picked up on it and have used it heavily
All we needed now (if this thing were genuine) was a legitimate city to twin with in the Shannon
region. I had suggested Limerick, among others, but they were not interested.
The Mission Statement went backwards and forwards a few times before Mr.
Marchant finally approved it.
Mr. Hushen circulate42
finalized Mission Statement to everybody.
Mr. Hushen then started to arrange our trip40 to
even managed to arrange for us to
meet with Kevin Thompstone41.
August 29, 2002 Organizing Committee Meeting:
Bernadette Cashman was back taking the minutes. Her attorney daughter, Bernadette Hilgeman, had apparently now joined
the Organizing Committee. To me the minutes43 were expertly
written to challenge Mr. Hushen's chairmanship and get Mr. Mullally back in
charge. As Mr. Denham was close to the Cashmans I assumed he was involved.
They asserted that the meeting that took place on Aug 1st
was not "noticed" to everybody when clearly it was as this email44 shows. The real
problem of course was that it took place while Mr. Mullally was away. They now
realized that that had been a mistake, although he didn't seem to have any
problem with it at the time.
Item #4 stated that Mr. Denham was not going to give up
control no matter who was in the chair. He was appointing Mr. Mullally as his
Mr. Marchant told us that there had been "exchanges"
between City Hall and the Consul General in San Francisco over Mr. Mullally's removal.
Several times I had to pinch myself to remind myself that we were talking here
about the chairmanship of a lowly Sister City committee not some high elected
As a result of these "exchanges" Mr. Marchant was able to
work out a compromise whereby Mr. Hushen would remain in the chair
Mullally represents the Consulate General for the Irish government, Donal
Denham, so the Consulate’s efforts are not duplicated".
We now knew that his friends call Mr. Mullally "Rob".
The "Consulate's efforts" he referred to were not clear to me but I
assumed they were all the hard work being done by the Consul General for this committee
behind the scenes including such things as "exchanges" with San Diego City
A consul general
with responsibility for Alaska,
Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico,
Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming wanted to micro-manage a fledgling Sister
City committee in San Diego.
Dick Murphy, the Mayor of America's seventh largest City, was so interested
in this particular Sister City above all others that he sent his "personal
representative" to every meeting and
devoted untold staff hours to it.
As the minutes show, from now on all mail regarding this undertaking
was to be addressed c/o Mayor Dick Murphy.
Also the "contact us"
link on the web site I had created with email going to me must now go to Mr. Marchant's email.
Mr. Marchant had told us many times that
Mayor Dick Murphy wanted to lead a delegation of San Diego CEO's to
Shannon in 2003.
Mr. Hushen agreed, much too easily in my opinion, to "review" with Mullally,
all arrangements he had already made for our Ireland trip! In fact everything
had to be cleared with Mr. Mullally from now on.
I determined to make some due diligent inquiries into this Shannon Development
during my upcoming visit to Ireland - though I was not overly anxious to
sacrifice too much of my vacation time in Ireland. It turned that I devoted
several days to it. Having been given a tour of Shannon Development's offices
at Shannon Airport and been treated to a very fine lunch at one of their many
luxurious hotels, I determined to go back up to the Companies' Registry Office
in Dublin and find out more about this strange company.
September 5, 2002 Organizing Committee meeting:
Unfazed Mr. Hushen called a meeting for September
as if nothing had happened. I guess he was trying to be a member of the
Monica was back taking the minutes. Mr. Hushen must have given the Cashmans
certain undertakings. No need for attorney Bernadette Hilgeman's expert
After many requests I
finally got the minutes47
from Monica on Sept 12th, attached to
I wanted to see if she had recorded Mr. Mullally's "strong objections" to
Pete Smith. Otherwise I would have lodged a strong complaint as it had really
bothered me that Mullally would do that and then that it could be written out
of the minutes.
Basically what happened was Mr. Mullally turned up (he had missed several meetings) and took over
from Mr. Hushen in the chair, as the Consul General's representative. Neither Mr. Hushen nor Mr. Marchant
Then, not surprisingly perhaps, Mr. Mullally "strongly objected" to Pete Smith being part of the delegation to
Shannon. He was fully aware that
Smith had succeeded in getting him removed and his friend Tim Hushen,
put in the chair.
Dramatically Pete Smith and his political advisor Rudy Murrillo arrived
half way through the meeting. My email to Cathy Cawley (who was going to be
part of the delegation to Shannon) tells it best49.
The fact that Mr. Hushen had not put up a fight for his friend Pete Smith
really disgusted me. He wanted into the "core group" at any cost,
demonstrating the power of the
patronage of the Office of the Mayor.
How carefully we citizens must vet to whom we give its control!
Meantime Mr. Hushen was busy working out who was going to control what in this
hybrid business partnership/Sister City. Mr. Paul Brock of Shannon Development
was stressing that the primary purpose of this Partnership was networking with
CEOs not San Diego citizens on a vacation. Shannon Development wanted to keep
this to themselves and were not happy with us talking to any other entity in
I on the other hand continued to insist that be opened it up to everybody at both
ends. Mr. Hushen "... agreed to meet before the meeting on September 23, 2002,
to discuss mechanisms that Shannon Development can involve other organizations
in a formal twinning committee." Mr. Hushen was offering a way to maintain the
cover of a Sister City by sitting down privately with them to discuss the real
business of the Partnership50
But they did treat the rest of us to a fine dinner in one of their finest hotels.
All that really had happened was that the Consul General and the Mayor had now got
two "team players" instead of one. Mullally and Hushen seemed pleased with themselves
and so did Pete Smith - there was a new "core group" and Smith
thought he was part of it.
Before leaving for Ireland on September 17th51 we all
received a copy of this letter52 from the
Consul General to Mr. Marchant. Everything was now straightened out.
But in that memo he had publicly admitted that he had appointed Mr. Mullally as his "formal
liaison" to the Organizing Committee but that it was no longer necessary!
He now had Mr. Hushen won over. But why did he need one in the first place I
We all knew the answer. Mr. Denham was organizing, not a Sister City, but a
potentially very lucrative tax avoidance consultancy operation for San Diego
businesses, using inside knowledge acquired by Mr. Denham during his term at
Ireland's trade and commerce department.
Mr. Marchant certainly seemed to have acquired, for a Deputy Chief of
Protocol, an extraordinary knowledge and interest in Ireland's tax laws.
September 26th 2002, Organizing Committee meeting:
Mr. Hushen quickly returned to San Diego, the rest of us stayed on for our
vacation in Ireland, and I to perform some "due diligence" on Shannon
Meanwhile the old "core group", with Mr. Hushen now added, had a quick meeting
on September 26th. Here are the minutes53.
Ms. Hilgeman was back and writing the minutes. Control was to be tightened.
Item was #9 said "members requested that all invitees to meetings
be advised in advance to all (other) members prior to the meeting as a
courtesy". This would close the door to anybody walking in without notice, as Pete Smith and Rudy Murrillo had done on Sept 5th. So much for the Brown Act.
Item #10 said "Ben advised
that he will be making a presentation at the California Summit on
International Cultural Exchange in LA on 4th October - members proposed that
Francis Kilgallon, Bernadette Cashman and Monica Murphy would also attend to
represent the Society."
Mr. Marchant subsequently devoted his entire presentation at the event and was
the sole representative of the Shannon Partnership. He told us he had
announced the Shannon Partnership as a "new departure" for the Sister City
concept. It certainly was. I requested a copy of his speech but never received
Francis Kilgallon told me that he was never contacted about it and did not
remember being asked at the meeting to go to the LA event.
The Battle for the Brown Act:
When I returned to San Diego and read the minutes I was concerned that Hushen
was allowing the undertaking to revert to the original closed shop and that he was
happy to go along so long he was along. So was Mr. Marchant.
I started to
stress the importance of the Brown Act to both of them. Mr. Hushen
called me a "rabble rouser" for doing so. I guess I would have
brought in the "rabble". Mr. Marchant was a little more circumspect. But
the battle for the Brown Act was on, no question.
I was now armed with the insight I had obtained in Ireland about Shannon
Development and could see very clearly where this was going.
With a view to opening it up to the public (the rabble) I managed to persuade Mr. Hushen to
move the meetings to USD where I had a good personal relationship with Mr. Mal
Rafferty, Director of Adult Education. Mal had control of the Manchester Hall
and he had often let me use it in the past for Irish events. I had written,
directed and produced two stage plays there. I had organized a memorable event there
hosting the ex-Irish Prime Minister, Albert Reynolds, and various other events.
Mr. Hushen agreed to move our meetings to Manchester Hall at
He sent this invitation55 and
on October 15th 2002.
The reaction from the "core group" was predictable and immediate. This email57
from Monica objected to the change of venue. She seemed to be
spokesperson for the old "core group".
It was followed by
this email58 from Rob Mullally to Mr.
with CCs to Monica Murphy; Francis Kilgannon;
Mr. Hushen & Bernadette Hilgeman; Bernadette Cashman. But not to me. He clearly preferred
the clubby atmosphere of the Imperial House with the Cashmans to the
"free-for-all", "rabble-rousing" open Brown Act compliant meetings I was urging
on the organization.
I noted Mr. Mullally's reference to "Tim" Hilgeman, husband to the attorney daughter
of Bernadette Cashman. He seemed to know the Cashmans well. I had never met
I also noted that Mr. Hushen referred to them as "the group".
He was still straddling the fence between a "core group" and a "free-for-all".
He clearly preferred the former having categorized my efforts to open it up
according to Brown Act principles, rabble-rousing.
Mr. Mullally and Mr.
Denham may never have heard of California's Brown
Act, but Mr. Hushen and Mr. Marchant certainly did. I never tired of
reminding them. They both knew I could make problems with it. And I fully
I realized it was crunch time for the Brown Act versus a "core group". I spoke
at length to Mr. Marchant and Mr. Hushen on the telephone. The result was this
from Mr. Marchant. The Brown Act was going to win - at least for
the time being until they could get rid of the "rabble-rouser".
October 17, 2002 Organization Committee meeting:
The folks down at City Hall decided that they were not going to be caught
breaching the Brown Act, at least on paper. So Mr. Marchant pointedly, almost
imperiously, told the recalcitrant "core group" - "Tonight I will be joining Tim
at USD (to) move the ideas that have been generated so far to the next level.
Accompanying me will be the Mayor's Chief of Protocol, Elena Salsitz, and our
Protocol Interns Anthony and Sarah."
I noticed his immediate boss Ms. Salsitz was coming along to emphasize the
Mr. Hushen, always the pragmatist, wrote this60
to "the group". Surprise, surprise! It had "come to his attention that
additional members of the Irish community in San Diego are interested in our
Mullally shot back with this determination61 to go ahead at the Imperial House with his own "core group". The
gauntlet was being thrown down to the Brown Act.
Mr. Hushen's meeting went ahead at USD while Mr. Mullally held his dissident
"core group" meeting at the
Imperial. Here are the minutes62 of Mr.
Hushen's group. I was pleased to see that he and Mr. Marchant were suddenly very conscious of the Brown
Mr. Hushen also
presented a report of trip63 to
To me the most significant part was Mr. Marchant's report on his address to the
California Summit on International Cultural Exchange in Los Angeles.
I was struck by how aptly his phrase “business as its engine, education as its
various enhancements, the whole community as its passengers and culture as the
scenery” described the new "Shannon Partnership" departure. I was beginning to feel like one of
those passengers on Mr. Marchant's train and I didn't like the scenery.
Aftermath of October 17, 2002 meeting:
Realizing that he had lost Mr. Mullally tried to recover with this backtracking email64 to Mr.
Hushen. He said: "what I have a problem with is pat or whoever taking what
I said at the meeting and misrepresenting that in such a manner that it ends up
with Ben having to call the consul general!"
I knew he would deny ever having
to Pete Smith being part of the delegation to Shannon. That is why I had wanted
it in the minutes.
Concerned that Mr. Hushen and Mr. Marchant would go back to closed meetings with a "core group", I wrote this lengthy
email to Mr. Hushen65 outlining the situation.
Organizing a Shannon Development presentation to San Diego CEOs:
Meanwhile Mr. Marchant emailed us66 that Karl
Mellon of Shannon Development had visited the Mayor's Office on October 12th
2002. That was 5 days prior to our last committee meeting. But Mr. Marchant had
"forgotten" to mention it.
Under Agenda item #4 "Mr. Hushen (had) announced that Karl Mellon,
Shannon’s full-time representative in the western States of America, will be in
San Diego on Tuesday October 22nd, 2002, for a meeting with the City of San
Diego." It seems there was a lot of traffic between Shannon Development and the
San Diego Mayor's Office, but not all of it getting to the Organizing Committee. We
were just a cover.
Ben circulated a memo regarding Mellon's October 22nd visit67
the following day. They needed our help to organize " ... a forum to brief the
San Diego community on the E.U. and tax information".
This left no doubt as to what this whole thing was about: it was about money, lots of
it. I was almost tempted to quip to Ben that Shannon was now the Mayor's
11th goal, but I was in enough trouble being a "rabble-rouser" without being a
Then amazingly I get this email from Marchant.68
His reference to my "proposal"69 was
to one I had made suggesting that
our "Sister City" organization sponsor an arts project. They ignored
it. Mr. Mellon's proposals were
more to the Mayor's taste than some silly cultural movie connecting Native
Americans and aboriginal Irish.
Ben was altering the minutes70
I had written for the October 17th meeting, even though he had already received
and approved them on Oct 21st!
Here is Ben's revision71.
Obviously some heavy legal minds were engaged on this. I wondered if the Minutes
of the City Council get such careful consideration.
Whatever it was he was hoping to achieve he may have achieved the opposite
because by not correcting it he reaffirmed both his and Mr. Murrillo's account
of his address to the LA Cultural event at which he so adroitly articulated the
new departure for Sister Cities. It was to be business driven!
He sent out his revised version with the agenda72
convening the next meeting73 on Nov 7th. 2002. Mr. Marchant was now convening the meetings
even though Mr. Hushen was the chair and was in town. The Mayor's Office was really
into this thing.
November 7, 2002 Organizing Committee meeting:
This the 7th meeting of the organization was held on Nov. 7th 2002. Here are
This time I was asked to record and circulate them. It seemed I was
on Mr. Hushen's team but off Mr. Mullally's team.
acknowledged the minutes75
seemed pleased with events.
So was Mr. Pete Smith76.
Mr. Hushen had made another quick trip to Shannon Development in Ireland and
reported on his meetings. I have no idea who paid for his trip. This sure was
some high-powered Sister City.
The Question of its Structure and Organization:
Now that we seemed to have settled down in a "businesslike manner", as Pete put
it, I spent a good deal of time trying to devise an organization that would meet
the Mayor's objectives without attempting to make it a Sister City. I
emailed my idea77 to
Mike Wilson (our attorney), with copies to Mr. Hushen, Mr. Marchant and Pete
Smith on November
Here was my suggested structure78 for
a non-Sister City organization.
Note that it started off stating that this was NOT a Sister City organization. I
was always perfectly clear about that. If its President Mr. Hushen was going to
be running backwards and forwards to Shannon organizing all kinds of business
events it could hardly be called a Sister City.
Mr. Marchant responded79
promptly on behalf of the Mayor on Nov. 18th.
It was clear that Mr. Marchant
was under strict instructions to deliver a Sister City and nothing less, while
still sticking with Shannon Development. He said "The Mayor's initiative is to
establish a Sister City so at this point it is not advisable to do otherwise."
Stretching to the limit I responded80:
I was willing to run with a Business Partnership provided it did not lie to the people of
San Diego and tell them they were twinning with another "city" in Ireland.
It would have to be made clear that the City now had a Business Partnership with the economic development agency
for the Shannon region in Ireland - Shannon Development.
This would not be an abuse of the Sister City concept.
I am not against economic cooperation between two regions, in fact I was doing
everything in my power to achieve that - legally and honestly. I was even willing to
concede that it could "be administered as part
of the Sister City program". But it could never be called a Sister City.
The Application for Tax-exempt status:
Our attorney Mike Wilson was pressing for a decision81 on the tax-exempt filing.
I attended in Mr. Wilson's
office during his conference call with Paul Dostart. We used the speakerphone.
Here is my notes on that call82 which I sent to Mr. Hushen. He
immediately responded83 with a desire
to stick to a 501C3, despite the lawyers' advice.
a last try84 on Nov. 21st I thought I
might persuade Mr. Hushen to go with a 501C4 on the grounds that Shannon Development
may feel more comfortable with a non-Sister City designation, after all nobody
knew better than they that they were not a "city" or indeed any kind of jurisdiction.
On Nov. 25th at 8:47 AM
received this85 which suggested that Mr. Hushen and Mike Wilson had agreed privately to go
with a Sister City 501C3. I had not seen what Mr. Hushen was going to sign nor had they
discussed it with me.
At 8:48 AM
I received this86:
Based on "further analysis" Mike Wilson was changing his
recommendation to a 501C3. He went on to say "we are all in agreement" when of
course we were not. I was still adhering to his and Mr. Dostart's earlier advice
that "the main difference is that a 3 is a charitable org. engaged in
educational activities while a 4 is a civic, community or social betterment org"
and that "a sister city org. is usually considered a 4".
Mike had misrepresented my position to Mr. Marchant! He not only addressed his email to
Mr. Marchant, Tim and Pat, while (deliberately?) omitting to send a copy
to me, but he falsely
informed Mr. Marchant that he had "already discussed this with Tim
and they are in agreement with the recommendation".
I was not.
This was patently false. From that moment on I
was unable to trust the Partnership attorney, Mike Wilson. It seems that the
Mayor was going to get what he wanted and it was not only going to be a Sister City but it
was going to be a 501C3 as well.
There now seemed little I could do. I considered resigning, but I worried about
what they might do next. I stayed.
Drafting the Articles of Association:
I was having difficulties getting Mr. Wilson to include me in the preparations
of the Articles which made me suspicious and
anxious to see a copy before they were filed. But I
I finally received them as an
attachment88 on Nov. 25th 2002 with the terse statement "Attached are the
articles that Tim will sign a week from today." There was to be no input
from me or any discussion by the Organizing Committee.
I had also been requesting copies of the 501C3 filing
before it went to the IRS. They knew why.
Here are the
89 ready for Mr. Hushen's
signature as the incorporator (they were never amended by anybody that I know
I pointed out that these Articles described us as a corporation for "charitable and
public purposes", promoting "strong ties" between the regions "through
educational programs and cultural exchanges", with no mention of business or
economic development. He wasn't interested. He seemed determined to draft what
Mr. Marchant wanted, which Mr. Marchant had said was what the Mayor wanted, and Mr. Hushen was only too willing to sign whatever
and Mr. Marchant wanted.
I had asked Mr. Rudy Murrillo for advice on incorporating.
On Dec. 3rd 2002 he sent me this
"donor advice90" with a copy to Mr.
Hushen. I followed up91 with my
appreciation for the advice expressing a desire to apply due diligence in that regard.
I did not receive a reply or a comment from Mr. Hushen.
On Decemeber 5, 2002 Mr. Marchant announced that the Articles had been signed by
Mr. Hushen and
filed92 with the State of California on Tuesday December 3, 2002, the very day
I discussed "due diligence" issues with Mr. Murillo. This explained why I
did not hear from Mr. Hushen on the subject until after the Articles were filed.
December 12, 2002 Organizing Committee meeting:
On Dec. 5th Mr. Marchant convened the
for Dec. 12th 2002 and an Agenda attached94.
The Mayor's Deputy Chief of Protocol, Mr. Marchant, was conducting all the
affairs of the Shannon Partnership, on a City salary.
Mr. Marchant took the
circulated them to us as an attachment on January 10, 2003, as part of his
convening the January 14, 2003 meeting. This was his email.
At that meeting there had been no question of the Organizing Committee seeing or
approving the Articles of Association of the Corporation prior to filing, just
an announcement that "Michael Wilson reported that the Articles of Incorporation
for the San Diego Shannon Partnership Inc. had been filed on December 9th,
The Partnership's meetings were simply to legitimize whatever actions Mr.
Marchant and the Mayor had taken between meetings. Minutes were written to answer my requests
for compliance with the Brown Act regarding open meetings. They were open all
right but all decisions were being taken in the Mayor's Office.
Picking a Board of Directors:
Wilson had previously informed me
that Mr. Hushen as the incorporator would pick the new Board
- "as is
usual". Unbelievable the Mayor now proceeded to do so personally!
I received this letter of
Mayor Murphy97 to "apply for" appointment to the Board. No mention of a Sister
City! Murphy said:
"I am very pleased to announce that the City of San Diego and Shannon
Development (a government agency for the Shannon Region of Ireland) plan to
create a partnership for the promotion of business, academic, and cultural
So I filled out
this application 98
to "the Office of Mayor Dick Murphy" for a seat on the Board of
"The San Diego-Shannon
Partnership Inc.", (not for a seat on the board of any Sister City organization).
Meantime Mr. Hushen was catching up on his correspondence and copied me
to Rudy's 99
advice re donor funds - 3 days after the Articles had been filed. Mr. Hushen
seemed more interested in establishing the fact that he could deduct his travel
expenses to Ireland in relation to the Shannon Partnership
it got approved as a 501C3).
Mr. Marchant,100 Mr. Hushen and I with
thoughts101 on possible By-Laws. This time he was careful to actually send me
the email as he had "omitted" to do with the Articles. Perhaps he thought I might
Januray 14, 2003 Organizing Committee meeting:
January 10, 2003 brought
this cheerful announcement
from Mr. Marchant.
Next meetings was to be Jan. 14th at SDSU - Mr. Hushen's place.
This was the
that Karl Mellon of Shannon Development would attend; he introduced
our new brochure104 but most importantly he announced
that Mayor Dick Murphy had graciously "selected a Board of Directors to put this
Surprise, surprise I was not among the elect! I hadn't
even been called with an explanation.
the minutes105 (received Jan. 16th,
from Mr. Marchant) of the January 14th 2003 meeting. The tone of the meeting was a
long way from a Sister City organization. Mr. Mellon was very clear about what
he wanted and it had nothing to do with the Sister City concept.
I thought I was beyond being shocked but I was
genuinely shocked at the brazenness of it all when he proposed (it's in the
minutes): "Mr. Marchant also proposed that a business committee be organized to
plan the economic partnerships of the San Diego Shannon Partnership Inc.
beginning with a breakfast meeting with the target date of March 11th, for the
purpose of Shannon Development to make a presentation to a very targeted group
of businesses and their decision makers."
Well you couldn't be clearer than that.
It turned out that not only did he propose the Business Committee but he personally
ran it from the Mayor's office, as you will see below.
So much for Mr. Denham's letter to Mr. Marchant on Sept.
16 2002 when he said that he believed "that the Society is now sufficiently well
organized, supported locally by the Irish community and up and running for it to
make it's own decisions and go its own way." The only one making any
decisions was Mr. Marchant on behalf of the Mayor.
Still convinced they
would eventually have to find a suitable city in the Shannon region, I remained enthusiastic throughout the meeting. In fact I made a remark, half
joking, that I
hoped one day, as a result of our efforts, there would be a daily direct
flight between San Diego and Shannon Airport. I still believed in the concept. I
just did not want it to be used by politicians for their own purposes or tarnish
the Sister City concept.
I had underestimated the determination of the Mayor and Shannon Development to
see this through with only them involved, no elected officials at the Irish end.
Everybody seemed to be aware that I was passed over for the Board. I still had
this naive regard for the Sister City concept. All the others knew that it was
just there to be used. They were embarrassed for me. I could feel
it in their body language. Mr. Marchant seemed unfazed.
I didn't know whether to be happy or sad that I was not acceptable after all
the work I had done. I wondered if I would even know any of the new Directors -
if I ever got to meet them. I was getting a real taste of how Mayor Dick Murphy
does business. What to do? Back off and get on with my life, or fight these
I decided to fight.
Aftermath of the January14, 2003 Organizing Committee meeeting:
When I got home I called Mr. Marchant and read the riot act to him for almost an hour.
First I asked him who the Mayor had chosen. I was appalled. There was not a
single person from any of the big Irish Community organizations. And this was a
Sea Brew, a young ambitious downtown lawyer was chosen. Sean was associated with
the Friendly sons of St. Patrick but then just about every lawyer downtown is a
member of that "fraternal" organization.
The Irish Community do not consider the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick an Irish
organization, as very few are Irish, they never support other Irish
organizations, and they meet just once a year.
I was now glad I had decided to fight because this was outrageous.
Finally Mr. Marchant said he would get back to me. He didn't. But at 5:11 PM that evening
I got this "Agenda".106 I can't believe that
everybody on the copy list did not get their invitation for the following
morning until 5:11 PM that evening. But Mr. Marchant, being the professional he is, made it look
that way. This is his
Appointment Ceremony by the Mayor:
It was like being
summoned to the Oval Office. Everything was carefully orchestrated, even where
we must stand to greet the great man. (I understand they actually put your name
on a piece of paper on the floor where you must remain standing when you enter
the Oval Office. Maybe next time at the Mayor's Office.)
Mr. Sean Brew, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick
Mr. Hugh Constant, San Diego World Trade Center
Mr. Frank Devaney, City of San Diego
Ms. Colleen Finnegan, City of Carlsbad
Mr. Patrick Flannery, Irish Congress of Southern California
Mr. Timothy Hushen, San Diego State University Foundation
Mr. Paul Kline, Immigration attorney, former U.S. Consul General
Mr. James Langley, University of California San Diego
Ms. Marnyce McKell, Small business owner
Mr. Brian Monaghan, American Ireland Fund
Mr. Paul Peterson, Attorney, San Diego Regional Airport Authority
Mr. Peter Smith, Business and Real estate
This was a pretty high-powered Board. There were five attorneys:
Frank Devaney, now a judge, was from the San Diego City Attorney's
Office. We were told that his wife Leslie Devaney, also a deputy City
Attorney, was running for City Attorney in November 2004, endorsed by Mayor
Sean Brew our Secretary, is an attorney in private practice and an
enthusiastic supporter of Mayor Murphy.
Paul Kline,108 a
Harvard law graduate with a Masters in Public Administration is a former U.S.
He owns California Business Immigration whose
says they specialize in
"International Corporate Relations ..... expertise includes a network of strong
relationships from government agencies to additional legal services whether you
need assistance with investments, real estate, or any other type of legal
matter. We at California Business Immigration address the entire scope of your
requirements to ensure that your needs are satisfied personally ...or globally."
No doubt he would be able to advise on foreign residency issues arising out of
Shannon Development's tax haven plans.
Brian Monaghan, a downtown attorney, is a long-time friend and colleague of Dick Murphy. They were once partners
together at Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps.109
UC Hastings College of Law110 in San Francisco on whose Board he sat had this
to say about him:
"A solo practitioner, Mr. Monaghan is a prominent plaintiff's attorney in the
area of civil litigation. The San Diego Trial Lawyers Association awarded Mr.
Monaghan Outstanding Trial Lawyer Awards on 10 occasions from 1979 to 1998 as
well as presenting him its Trial Lawyer of the Year Award for 1979, 1984 and
1988. In 1998 he was the recipient of the Association of Trial Lawyers of
America Stephen J. Sharp Public Service Award, as well as the American Board of
Trial Advocates' California Trial Lawyer of the Year Award. In February 1999 Mr.
Monaghan received the American Ireland Fund Distinguished Heritage Award. He
currently sits on the Board of
Directors for the San Diego Padres111 and the International Board of Directors
of The American
Brian is now retired and fighting a melanoma cancer. He seems to be doing fine
from this health
was Mayor Murphy's heavyweight. He introduced him as his appointee to the
Board of Commissioners of the San Diego County Regional
but we knew him best from his long
association with Sol Price.
Then we had some high-powered representation from the universities:
is President of the UC San Diego
Tim Hushen 115
Sponsored Research Services of the San Diego State University Foundation ....and
manages and directs more than 50 professionals in developing over 1,000
proposals for external funding and supervises the administration of $140 million
grant", according to his resume.
Hugh Constant, was eager for business for his
San Diego World Trade Center.116
Colleen Finnegan, represented the City of Carlsbad. As a resident of San
Diego and a supporter of the Mayor she was really there as an expert on Sister
Marnyce McKell, was billed as a Small business owner. She was
African-American and had no idea why she was there. She soon disappeared.
Peter Smith, was described as "Business and Real estate" which was
Patrick Flannery. I was put down as representing the "Irish Congress of
Southern California", the organization that puts on the annual San Diego St.
Patrick's Day Parade. I have no idea why they picked that one, I certainly didn't. I
belong to several San Diego Irish organizations. In fact I had asked to be
described as "a San Diego Irishman", though I introduced myself to the Mayor as "a
voter". He smiled.
Bernadette Cashman turned up for her Certificate of Appointment from the
Mayor but we never saw her again after the ceremony.
Training the New Board:
Mr. Marchant had to start from scratch with the Board of Directors, most of whom had
never been at a committee meeting. He sent out
this invitation117 for a
"meet-and-greet" and urged them to read the previous
minutes to get some idea of what it was the Mayor had appointed them to.
"Business Committee" was obviously the most important:
Mr. Marchant and Mr. Hushen met on their own:118
"Tim and I met anyway and discussed a few ideas about the timing and the
work ahead that will be required to pull off a successful breakfast presentation
of Shannon Development" and "we don't really need the hype leading up to the
17th (St. Patrick's day) to ensure attendance, since it's all peripheral to
the business/economic interests and purpose of the meeting."
Ben knew what
the Mayor expected of him and it had precious little to do with "Sister Cities".
The Business Committee takes the lead:
sent us119 a list of 243 companies in the San Diego region.
We were to contact these CEOs and spread the good news. Remember that
NY Times article120 Mr. Marchant
had found all
by himself, back in August 2002?
I will not include the
company list. It would not be fair to those 243 companies.
January 29, 2003 Business Committee meeting:
Narelle McKenzie of
Coopers,121 hosted a meeting in their downtown offices.
Who had contacted PwC? Mr. Marchant?
This meeting was described by Mr. Marchant in his Agenda as
another Business Committee
Meeting. I guess the previous one attended by only Mr. Hushen and Mr. Marchant showed that this
Business Committee needed a prestigious venue, like a major accounting office
Mr. Marchant was learning the ropes from Karl.
Agenda.122 And here are
afterwards. (Mr. Marchant both prepared and distributed them). Note this was a "Business
Committee Meeting", not a meeting of the Shannon Partnership, let alone
a Sister City meeting. Was Mr. Marchant
for Shannon Development now? Where was this Sister City we were
supposed to be creating?
Karl Mellon commented
afterwards on our
At the Business Committee meeting I had naively
suggested the telecom industry (as Ireland is in desperate need of
telecom infrastructure, particularly broadband) but Karl already knew what he
wanted: he wanted to make "a presentation which is of interest to as wide an
audience as possible".
Everybody pays taxes, you can't have a wider appeal than
that! We were to learn later that
expertise in tax havens was more the kind
of high tech expertise Karl had in mind.
I now understood what all those
trips by Mr. Mellon to the San Diego Mayor's Office were all about. All the
planning for "our" upcoming tax seminars had already been done. We were just
here to legitimize the whole thing.
It looked like Mr. Marchant was working on
this full time for the Mayor. And it also looked like Mellon was not kidding when he told us at the January 14th
meeting at SDSU, that "he came to this operation with a check book".
Hugh Constant's conflict of interest:
Business Committee meeting Hugh Constant took a bow for "generously offering the support of
the World Trade Center to manage and do the marketing for the event; including
such necessities as meeting space, staff support for mailing/faxing notices to
invitees, and central communications for inquiries. All agreed that the World
Trade Center seemed a perfect fit for our purposes", according to the minutes
written by Mr. Marchant.
I was later to learn that Hugh Constant was being paid by Shannon Development
for all this.
He was later to earn a handsome fee for putting on the event in
La Jolla. That is the business he is in, putting on
business seminars. But this was a conflict of interest. He was a Board member and should at least
have informed the rest of us on the Board.
There was also the matter of open bidding, after all we were a public benefit
corporation. We all knew people who put on business seminars. They too would like
to have clients
like Shannon Development - with large checkbooks.
My efforts to shift the focus from tax to manufacturing:
Karl126 dreaming dreams, still not
fully aware that
he was really only interested in Shannon as a tax haven. Of course I had not
been at those private meetings between Mr. Hushen and Shannon Development in
October and November 2002 in Ireland.
I never did receive a reply from
Mr. Mellon, but Mr. Hushen
direct from Shannon Development
in Ireland and he passed it on.
It was their most recent
presentation in Canada128
soon to be updated and adopted for us. It clearly showed that a very large part of Shannon
Development's presentations at such events is devoted to
tax advice. And we were helping them plan one here! Under the guise of a Sister
Mayor's Press Conference at USD:
At the Jan. 29th Board Meeting
I had been put in charge of organizing and publicizing a Mayoral Press
Conference. I chose USD.
This was my suggested
Flyer.129 On Feb. 11th
2003 it was amended and approved thus130 by Mr. Marchant.
They had changed my "Mayor Dick Murphy wishes to introduce an exciting new
people-to-people project between the people of San Diego and the people of
Ireland’s Shannon Region. He has personally appointed a Board of Directors"
to "The Board of Directors, acting in cooperation with Mayor Dick Murphy
and in partnership with the City of San Diego".
They had dropped my
"people-to-people" and the Board who had clearly been
"appointed" by Murphy were now merely "acting in cooperation" with
him. I wondered who poured over these changes. He was the only one who could
have been aware of the nuances involved.
Mr. Marchant's work on behalf of Shannon Development:
that our By-Laws132 were ready (if a
quorum of Directors could ever be mustered to approve them).
On Feb. 7th 2003 Mr. Marchant proposed a meeting for
Feb. 12th 2003133
to approve the By-Laws. He was anxious that the Board "take ownership" of the
corporation before the scheduled April 8th Shannon Development event.
Mr. Marchant was now acting as a full time agent of a foreign government on San
Diego City taxpayer's money using this "Partnership" corporation as a front.
He refers to the tasks before "us". It
was impossible that Mayor Murphy was not aware of the work being done by
somebody on his most personal staff, right there in his office every day.
He sent the following attachments, the still being drafted and discussed
roster of Directors,134 upcoming
2003 events135 and the
Agenda for the next Board meeting.136
Bernadette Cashman was not on the roster. What she had been doing at the Mayor's
appointment ceremony was never explained. Perhaps Mr. Denham had insisted she be
On Feb 14th
Mr. Marchant emailed us that the Feb. 18th
Business Committee Meeting was cancelled.137
Karl Mellon was scheduled to attend but
had cancelled. It was obvious what the business of that Committee was all about,
it was all about what Shannon Development was all about.
He informed us that the Board Meeting for the following day February 19th was
February 19, 2003 Board of Director's meeting:
On February 10th Mr. Marchant
announced the date and location,138 this time
at a third University, UCSD. Its Foundation President, Mr. James langley, was on
the Board of the San Diego-Shannon Partnership Inc. On January 16, 2003 Mr.
Marchant had already sent out notices
for the next general meeting139
to be on Feb. 19th 2003.
On Feb. 14th
Mr. Marchant had sent out
details of the140
meetings and included this agenda.141 (His attachment for
upcoming events142 still showed me
organizing the Mayor's Press Conference on March 10th.)
Mr. Marchant was still writing the Agendas, the Minutes and convening the
meetings. What a strange "Sister City".
Mr. Marchant now had three email lists: one for the Board, one for the Business
favorite) and one for the General Membership.
I noticed that certain items might be "tabled". I also noticed the Agenda said
"Appoint/Elect" officers. From past experience I realized he intended to "appoint" not "elect"
these officers. Nothing was to be left to chance. Mr. Hushen had already proven
himself totally loyal to the Mayor, so he had to be President.
To ensure Tim's election the plan was to "table" if there
was a quorum (which there was at the February 19th meeting) and
immediately schedule another meeting which would inevitably be poorly attended,
as was the February 27th meeting.
Otherwise there was absolutely no reason why
the officers were not elected at that meeting.
The adoption of the By-Laws took no more than 5 minutes as everybody accepted
whatever attorney Mike Wilson had written. It was merely a formality.
instead of allowing the Board to elect officers who would "take ownership" of the corporation Mr. Marchant talked about the upcoming Shannon Development event in glowing terms
and skipped over the appointment of officers. There was an abundance of food and
drinks to keep people occupied. Something was afoot.
were not released by Mr. Marchant
until after the next meeting, for reasons that will become obvious in a
The day after this well attended February 19th meeting (perhaps too well
Mr. Marchant immediately scheduled
for Feb. 27th 2003.
Expecting to elect officers the February 19th meeting had been the biggest
meeting ever, about 16 people.
Mr. Wilson and the legal filings:
The following day Mike Wilson emailed everybody that the
By-Laws were approved145 at the
February 19th meeting. It had been the first item on the Agenda in order to
empower the Directors to "appoint/elect" officers. But not the way one
now requested input for the
filing.147 He had ignored my earlier input on the Articles, and had actually
misrepresented me. I decided not to offer any input this time as he may make it look as if I were
complicit in his exemption filing, which probably would not tell the truth
to the IRS about what we were really doing.
February 27, 2003 Board Meeting:
This February 27th meeting had only four Directors present, Hushen, Smith,
Constant and Flannery, exactly the excuse Mr. Marchant wanted. He knew that
meetings called at short notice, in this case less than a week, would result in low
attendance. He obviously was working to a plan as he could easily have elected
officers on the 19th.
What actually happened at meetings was almost irrelevant
any more as Mr. Marchant always
wrote them up as he pleased anyway. He came to each meeting very, very well
prepared and was always very "measured" in his handling of the minutes
the following day February 28, 2003 Mr. Marchant circulated the "minutes" for
both meetings as attachments to this
email.148 He was obviously pleased with himself as he
said "we are making great progress". The minutes bore very little
resemblance to what actually happened. I did not have a tape recorder. Next
Here are the "minutes"149 for the February 19th
meeting and the "minutes"150 for the February
27th meeting. I could see there was some heavy-duty manipulation
going on and I suspected Mr. Marchant was getting a lot of help down at the
The bizarre "e-mail election" of officers:
It was clear at the meeting that an email election had already been decided
upon by Mr. Marchant and Mr. Wilson. The achievement of this was the sole
purpose of this "extra" meeting, to contrive an excuse for their email election.
Item #2 in Mr. Marchant's minutes announced this bizarre plan for electing
officers - by email vote!
According to my personal notes, when I
questioned it, Mr. Wilson a corporate lawyer, assured us
that this Board
Meeting could agree to accept the results of Mike Wilson's substitute email
ballot "in good faith" and abide by it as if it were an actual ballot at the
meeting. He did not refer to any wording in our By-Laws nor did he have them in
front of him when I asked. He had his mind made up. That was his advice.
He also assured us that we could authorize him as the Company attorney (if you can't trust your
attorney who can you trust) to tabulate the votes.
The problem I saw was that nobody but Mr. Wilson was going to see the votes and
I no longer trusted Mr. Wilson as he had misrepresented me as having approved
the Articles he filed. Of
course it was all a sham. Nobody needed to vote. Mr. Marchant intended to just "announce" the result
he wanted. Mr. Wilson was simply facilitating him.
Mr. Hushen nominated me for Vice-President. I declined. They wanted me as an
officer to lend credibility to the Partnership, but in an office with no power. They wanted to make me a party to their various
actions, much as Mr. Wilson had misrepresented me as a party to what I still
consider to be a fraudulent filing of the Partnership's Articles.
The By-Laws provided for my nominating myself as President, so I did, and
refused all other offices knowing that the Presidency was the one office they
would not let me have.
For the record, before they still "nominated" me for Vice-President in the minutes, I
the following day, at 11:43 AM, before receiving the
I had anticipated that they would do that. They wrote whatever minutes they
I even feared that they would not accept my self-nomination for President, leave it out of
the minutes altogether and just nominate me for Vice-President. They "nominated"
me for both!
Mr. Marchant emailed me
154 back at 12:07 AM, the
exact same time as he emailed the minutes. So he had received my email before he
sent the minutes. I noticed he copied Mr. Wilson. He
said: "I have included only the outcome of our decisions." I guess he didn't see
any need to record my objections, just what
he had decided.
Throughout the two years I was involved, Mr.
Marchant treated the minutes of all meetings that way. He include only "the
outcome". So I could raise any issue, make any motion but if it weren't approved
it didn't get recorded.
But in this case he had gone even further and stated that I had accepted
the nomination for Vice-President when I most emphatically had rejected it.
Rules or honest behavior meant nothing to him, only that which he was tasked by
the Mayor to achieve.
I called him. After a very long frustrating telephone conversation, trying to
get him to drop the whole idea of an email vote and correct my nomination, I sent him
this email155 at 1:21 PM.
This perhaps is the most important email of all. It showed that as a non-lawyer
I could see even then that there would be problems with the validity of a
so-called "email election". My email ended with "Why
not keep it simple and wait for the next Board Meeting".
I even warned of possible future legal challenges.
At the next Board Meeting they merely confirmed the "email election" as
conducted by Mr. Wilson even though I pointed out that Mr. Wilson's legal advice
in this regard may be flawed.
To my mind, confirming an illegal email election after the event does not make
it legal. Email does not provide "concurrency" either in "communication" or in
"activity", as required by the By-Laws. The By-Law requirement that "all
members participating in the meeting are able to hear one another" was not
complied with. It was therefore an illegal election.
This raises the question as to whether the Mayor
has had the cover organization he
thought he had over the last two years. It may mean that not only factually but
legally as well, this organization was being run out of the Mayor's Office the
entire time. There were no officers and the Mayor had appointed the Directors.
Was there ever a fully autonomous citizen organization for him
to heap blame on if anything goes wrong?
When somebody embraces such a fraudulent
project they better be darned sure that the insulating entity is legally
bullet-proof. We will see.
Yet after all this, Mr. Marchant still flatly refused on the telephone to correct
I don't know what his motivation was but he
and Mr. Hushen told many, many people that I had sought office, any office,
and been rejected. They
wanted people to believe that my problem with the Shannon Partnership was simply that I
had failed to get myself elected as an officer. They still do. My future, and
present, objections were to be dismissed as those of a disgruntled ex-Director.
Of course I knew I would never be President. I had made it abundantly clear to
them that the first thing I would do if elected President would be to call for
disbandment. I did anyway.
So as to leave no doubts as to my concerns about the minutes I
emailed156 this final summary of my
position at 2:15 PM. He knew I was doing it for the record so at 2:49 PM he
me in a very
conciliatory tone promising to "amend the minutes to address these concerns."
But he never did. He later amended them, for his own reasons.
On March 5, 2003 we all received an
email158 attaching these
amended minutes159 of the February 27th meeting.
Here are the two versions
They changed the wording of item #2
adding: "Ben Marchant will issue a ballot to be
voted on via e-mail" and changing "The board members agreed to accept the decision of the
election of officers in good faith" to "the board will approve the
results of the election of officers at the next meeting."
He was still clinging to an email election. To me it didn't seem to matter
whether it was to be "approved in good faith" by those Board members who at
the February 27th meeting or by those Board members who would be at the next one on
March 13th,161 it lacked "concurrency" and was still an illegal procedure
and remains so to this day.
This is a good example of why minutes should not be under the control of one
dominant member of an organization. The person who writes them should be
independent, even if it means bringing in somebody from outside, such as a
An extraordinary amount of thought had gone into all this. All for a Sister
Of course Mr. Marchant "forgot" to amend the part in the minutes where I was
wrongly nominated for Vice President, even though he had promised he would. That
nice conciliatory email on February 28th was just for show.
The Mayor's Press Conference at the House of Ireland:
Item #6 of the February 27, 2003 minutes said: "Mr. Marchant announced that the Mayor will be holding a press
conference to announce the San Diego-Shannon Partnership, Inc. on Friday, March
14th, at the House of Ireland in Balboa Park from 12:30 to 1:00 p.m. A
announcing this event will be provided when ready."
the Irish Minister at the Department of Trade and Commerce, at which Mr. Denham had
served the previous three years and which has oversight over Shannon Development, was coming to San Diego
to launch the new Shannon Sister City Partnership for Mayor Murphy. Clearly
Shannon Development had clout.
Colleen Windsor at the Mayor's Office demanded the key to the House of Ireland, asserting that it was City
property. But she did not want any of the Irish membership at the Mayor's Press
Conference. The Mayor wanted tight control over everything.
I was left to explain to Mal Rafferty at USD that his facilities were no longer
required. He had cleared the schedule of the Manchester Hall for the Mayor and
had arranged for his staff to work overtime. He had even arranged refreshments.
Mr. Marchant sent me this email
comments on the draft Press Conference
announcement164 attached. This was my
response.165 I pointed out that neither Mr. Mellon nor Shannon Development
should be introduced as representing the "Shannon Region". I was
trying to minimize Shannon Development's role and keep us on track for twinning
with a legitimate jurisdiction in the region. I never did received a reply.
The strange Frank Fahey affair:
this email166 from Mr. Marchant abruptly
canceling the House of Ireland Press Conference.
The "something more pressing" that had come up was protecting Dick
Murphy from the wrath of the Dublin Government who had just found out the real reason why Trade
Ministry Frank Fahey was in San Diego. Wittingly or unwittingly he was to act as
the other "elected partner" in The San Diego-Shannon
The Progressive Democrats, partners in government with Bertie Ahern's (and Fahey's) ruling Fianna Fail party,
suspected nothing when they approved Frank Fahey's trip to San Diego for the
St. Patrick's Day parade. Perhaps neither did Bertie.
But somebody found
out the real reason why Minister Frank Fahey was in San Diego and he was quickly told not to appear at any Press Conference
in San Diego regarding Shannon Development.
The Irish Government very nearly were made the "elected Irish partner" of this
Partnership and they didn't like it. That was the whole purpose of the Press
Conference and the tightly controlled photographs in front of the House of Ireland.
It would have legitimized the Partnership.
Fahey did pose for photographs with the Mayor the following day at the St.
Patrick's Day Parade celebrations in Balboa Park, but that was a whole different
That is Mr. Fahey to the left and behind the Mayor in Balboa Park at the St.
Parick's Day celebrations.
The aftershocks of
that little episode reverberated for weeks afterwards and could well be the reason Dick
Murphy temporarily bowed out of the 2004 Mayoral race on March
Some very powerful people in Dublin were very angry at him for
trying to get them involved in something they had not fully understood.
If Murphy had got that photograph with the Irish Trade Minister in front of the
House of Ireland in Balboa Park, the Irish Government would be in a Sister City
relationship with San Diego City whether they liked it or not courtesy of
Mr. Marchant had said on many occasions that the Irish Government was the other
"elected partner" in this Partnership. They almost pulled it off.
Murphy should have quit when he had the chance.
Strong opposition to a twinning with Shannon:
A meeting of prominent members of the San Diego Irish community was held at The
Imperial House on the day after Fahey's withdrawal, March 11, 2002. Mr. John
Hyatt took the minutes167 and
emailed168 them to me that night at 11:34 PM
before he went to bed.
March 13, 2003 Board Meeting:
emailed170 by Mr. Marchant on March 10th.
Mike Wilson finally sent
minutes172 of this meeting on April 7th. By now
minutes were becoming meaningless. They were being written to further whatever
Mr. Marchant's agenda was at the time, including and excluded items in the light
of subsequent events.
The minutes show their reply to my questions as to why the San Diego Irish community were
excluded with "It
was pointed out that the corporation represents all members of the San Diego
community and not just members of Irish decent in the Irish community."
They wrote this because they were fully aware that there was strong
opposition from the Irish community in San Diego as I had read to them the
minutes of the Irish community meeting held the previous Tuesday on March 11th.
Mr. Wilson's minutes of this Board meeting did not even mention this or my
motion proposing Galway City as an alternative Sister City as directed by the
community group nor did it mention my motion to disband, discussion of which had
taken almost the entire meeting.
I had proposed a motion to disband the Partnership and asked to be allowed to state
for the record my reasons for doing so. Mr. Hushen refused to entertain the
motion and without asking for a seconder attempted to move on. But Brian Monaghan
said he wanted to hear what I had to say and he seconded the motion.
Here is the motion173 that did not appear in the
minutes. I was not yet aware of Mayor Murphy's letter to Mr. Thompstone at the
time or I
might have worded it stronger.
I presented the short
history174 of Shannon Development I have used in this
narrative which draws heavily on Brian Callanan's book, a Shannon Development
Yet none of that is in the minutes. They did not want to admit
Murphy uses Council Chambers to promote the Shannon Development event:
emailed175 this notice of the
To my amazement Murphy was going ahead with this thing despite the withdrawal of
the Irish Minister the previous Friday.
Dick Murphy actually used the Chambers to "Announce the
Shannon Development presentation on business opportunities taking place Tuesday,
April 8th" as it says in the circulated announcement. He did not say The
Shannon Partnership event he said The Shannon Development event. And
that's what he meant.
They hadn't even applied for Sister City status
yet! And they were presenting it to the City!
Many San Diego Irish attended the Presentation of the Partnership in the City
Chambers to ask questions about this strange Irish
Sister City and to register their opposition. They wished to counter the claims
being made by Murphy that there was "strong support" among the Irish community
in San Diego for a Sister City involving Shannon Development, in fact there was
I refused to go forward to be recognized by the Mayor as a Partnership
Director. I stayed with the protesting group. I did not want to validate this
travesty in any way.
Mr. Marchant talked to the protestors afterwards at the back of the Chamber. He was pressed very hard
about who represented the other side of this relationship. Everybody wanted to
know who at Shannon Development represents the Shannon Region and if he or she
were an elected official.
Mr. Marchant made his contrived argument that Shannon Development was an
Irish Government agency and the Irish Government was elected by the Irish
people. We pointed out that if the Irish Government were the other side of this
Partnership why had the Irish Minister withdrawn his participation by not
appearing at the House of Ireland Mayor's Press Conference announcing the
Partnership. Many of them had planned on being there.
I discover the Murphy and Thompstone letters:
When pressed further for a name Mr. Marchant then mentioned something he had never mentioned before.
He said that there
had been a letter from Kevin Thompstone, the CEO of Shannon Development, inaugurating
the partnership. I stepped in and asked
about this letter and he said in front of my friends that I had already seen it.
I insisted that I had not.
I was completely unaware of any letter from
anybody in Ireland. At
that moment I doubted one existed, I suspected Mr. Marchant was inventing one to
get out of a tight spot when pressed for who was at the Irish end of this
twinning now that the Minister had bowed out. The truth proved even worse: he had kept the founding letters from me.
I was completely unaware of any letter from Mr. Thompstone to the Mayor, let alone a prior letter from
Murphy to Mr. Kevin Thompstone. I never imagined Murphy would have been stupid
enough to write such a letter. I was about to find out the following day, over a
year later, that not only had Murphy written such a
letter176 but that he had told
Thompstone that "the community had expressed particular interest" in
twinning with Shannon! Before anybody had even heard of it! The letter was dated
March 15th, the day before he announced it at the St. Patrick's Day Parade,
I sent Marchant
this email177 the following
morning at 9:09 AM.
To me it would have been unthinkable for Mr. Marchant not to have mentioned it
to me before, after all we had been through on this and the number of times I
had questioned the genesis of this partnership. He had always told me that it
was Donal Denham, the Irish Consul General who had initiated it.
Looking back, obviously he was protecting the Mayor (or the Mayor was protecting
himself) in view of my continued questions about the appropriateness of his
relationship with Shannon Development. I would have used this letter at every meeting
from the very beginning to argue against such a "partner" in a Sister City
there were so many other wonderful real cities in Ireland who would be delighted to
twin with San Diego.
I had always assumed that this "Murphy's folly" as I used to call it, would
somehow progress to a twinning with an actual jurisdiction, however small, even
as I mentioned above had a population of 8,561 and had been created by Shannon Development.
Discovery of this letter changed everything.
Mr. Marchant knew that I kept every email so he knew he would have to be
He had said to my friends that he had emailed it to me, as
he had done with everything else. I had told him at the outset that I required
everything to be sent by email. He did not have my mailing address so he could
not say he had mailed as I would have asked him to where he had mailed it. So he
had to settle for saying that he had handed it to me.
I have a strict
policy of receiving all documents either as an email attachment or by fax. I
receive my faxes as email through an e-Fax service. That way I always have a
record, which is why I am able to compile this link narrative. I learned this
from 28 years in the real estate and mortgage business, and have taught it to
many agents I trained in my Century 21 franchised office.
In 28 years I have never been sued, which must be some kind of record in real
estate. Those who attempted to get in my pockets discovered at depositions
that their lies would be defeated in court by my records and that having shown
documentary proof that their allegations were false, I would sue their attorneys
for abuse of process.
He replied with
His statement that "The letter was included in the packet of information I
provided everyone that attended the April 25, 2002 meeting at the Imperial
House. I also provided it to new people at subsequent meetings" was a
lie. But at least now having admitted its existence he had no choice but to
produce the letter.
Which is probably what accounts for the last paragraph of that email. The Mayor
was now backing off the Sister City he had just introduced to the City Council
as a Sister City (I'm sure there are video tapes of it) as Mr. Marchant
went on to say:
"The relationship has not progressed to the status of Sister City yet, nor
has it progressed to the point that it is necessary to submit an application for
sister city status. The relationship may continue to grow for an indefinite
period of time until such time as deemed appropriate to fulfill the requirements
for sister city status as outlined in the City Council Policy 0018 and the
Sister City International guidelines. At present the San Diego-Shannon
Partnership, Inc. is a partnership to promote people to people relations in
business, education, culture, and community, with the hope and vision to execute
successful programs that will justify the establishment of a sister city
Then what was it doing organizing a tax seminar event for Shannon Development
under the guise of a Sister City?
At 12:42 PM on March 18, 2003, almost a year after I attended the first
organizing meeting, and on the day after Mayor Murphy had presented the San
Diego-Shannon Partnership Inc. to San Diego, I received the
Mayor's letter to Thompstone180
and Thompstone's reply.
were attached to this email182
and I was seeing them on that day for the very first time.
this email183 to Mr.
Marchant, protesting as strongly as I knew how and asking many questions. It was
unbelievable to me that a public servant would be involved in such persistent
lying - for a Mayor!
His response in
very measured and I felt then and still do that he had help. He was shifting potential blame
and liability to the
"independent self-governing organization" he himself had micro-managed for a
He slipped up when referring again to the Mayor/Thompsone letter exchange saying
"I can only tell you with certainty what I sent out." We had
already established that he could not have "sent it out" by either email or US
Mail, nor had he claimed to have done so, he had claimed that he had provided
packets of information at the meetings. He either couldn't keep his story
straight or somebody else had written his memo to me.
responded185 by asking among
many other things if
the event in the City Chambers the previous day was run by the Mayor or an "independent
self-governing organization" called the Shannon Partnership. A full reading
of my memo shows I asked many more questions.
I never received a reply. All the questions remain unanswered today.
The Shannon Development Tax Seminar in La Jolla:
One of our Directors Hugh Constant who organized the event under contract to
Shannon Development sent
from his Company, San Diego
World Trade Center. Attached were the
agenda187 and a
for the event.
I attended and noted that it was entirely about using Ireland as a tax shelter.
They had flown John Heffernan, Managing Partner, Ernst & Young, Limerick Ireland
to San Diego especially for the event. There could no longer be any doubt about
what this so-called Sister City was all about.
As a result of the seminar Mr. Hushen was
to appear Cox TV's "Financial
on April 18th.
I watched the show and understood why the show's host "believed that the
activities of the San Diego/Shannon Partnership and Shannon Development will be
of interest to his viewers". Tax avoidance is always of interest to people
interested in financial matters.
April 10, 2003 Board Meeting:
We were now meeting at Hugh Constant's place, The San Diego World Trade Center,
where all meetings have since taken place.
I brought along some prominent members of the Irish Community:
President of the House of Ireland in Balboa Park,
Annemarie Sundquist, San Diego's Irish
woman of the year for 2003, Gerry Kirkpatrick, San Diego's Irish man of the
year for 2003 and John Hyatt editor of the San Diego edition
of the statewide Irish newspaper, The Irish Herald)
All of these had protested strongly about this abuse of the Sister City concept
and came to ask for the disbandment of Shannon Partnership Inc.
The only hint in the minutes that
any of that took place is Item 10, where it
says "John Hyatt, a representative of the House of Ireland, voiced concerns
about the group’s cultural focus and about whether the group is representative
of the San Diego Irish-American community."
Attorney Sean Brew
minutes192 on April 11th.
May 8, 2003 Board Meeting:
Mr. Hushen sent out this
attached. He stated that the Corporation was now a 501C3 and that our dues were
I asked to see the IRS approval. There was none. I declined to pay any dues
until I saw the approval of our 501C3 status. I never did see it.
By June 6th I still had not received the minutes of the May 8th meeting so I
emailed195 secretary Sean Brew
requesting them. I got no reply.
June 12, 2003 Board Meeting:
I went to the regular Board Meeting on June 12, 2003 even though I had
not received a notice or a copy of the Agenda. I was being frozen out. I picked
up this copy196 of the Agenda at the meeting. I never did receive a copy of the minutes.
I still had not received a copy of the May 8th minutes but I picked up
this copy197 at this meeting.
Item # 8 recorded accurately enough that I had made a motion to create a proper
Sister City with "any elected body in Ireland" and that they had all voted "nay"
I being the solitary "aye". It even recorded "that such a relationship
must be approved by the City of San Diego". Of course it would. That was
why I was proposing it and they knew it well. At that time Sister Cities
International had not yet obliged with their new "International Partners"
program, the "new departure".
Mr. Marchant's remark made it clear that at that point they never
intended to seek formal official approval from the City Council. They knew I
would object. They wanted the name of Sister City without the responsibility of
Under "Approval of Minutes of May 8th 200 Meeting" I complained that the minutes
misrepresented me on Item # 11. Everything I had said about Shannon Development
was from third party documented sources. I had been very careful to rely on
Brian Callanan's book. None of them had taken
the time to read it!
I wrote on my copy of the minutes what I had said to them: that they "did not
record the real reason for my objection, which is that they (Shannon
Development) do not have the capacity to form a (Sister City) partnership with a
I asked what it was I had said about Shannon Development that needed
further clarification. Everything I said I had put it in
writing and was verifiable. (I have linked to it
They were unable to point to a single word that required further evidence, but
as usual they did not correct the minutes.
The first I hear of it is
this email199 from
Mr. Hushen at 4:31 PM on Tuesday July 8th 2003, attaching this
Agenda200 and calling a meeting for
Thursday July 10th, 2003.
Mr. Hushen may have emailed the "Agenda" but I had
no doubt as to where it was written - in the Mayor's Office.
believed throughout that he, on behalf of the Mayor, could hire and fire at
will. He had "fired" Mr. Mullally from the chair of the Organizing Committee and
"appointed" Mr. Hushen at a meeting on August 22, 2002 - no discussion, no
vote. He really had "appointed" the officers as well.
I asked if the decision had already been taken to remove me. I had not received
any notices of meetings or copies of the minutes since May 5, 2003, over two
months. I think they were just going to formalize my removal at a quick meeting.
They had had enough of my trying to make a regular Sister City out of this
But I was not about to appear at a "trial" without being told what I was being
charged with or who my accusers were. I have no doubt that if I had gone to that
meeting they would have written whatever they pleased in the minutes to justify
their actions. They had said in the convening email: "This meeting will be
for Board members only so
please do not invite other-non-members to attend." I was not even being
allowed to have a witness present let alone an attorney. They were setting up a
One hour later Mr. Hushen responded.202
During the intervening time he had consulted the "us" he referred to and
that "The purpose of this meeting is to consider calling a special meeting of
the members of the San Diego/Shannon Partnership, Inc. to vote on whether to
proceed with removal action."
Apparently I had "confounded" them (he referred to an "us", presumably those he
had consulted) by not understanding that his earlier email which simply said "Removal
of Pat Flannery as a Director (All)" had really meant "to
calling a special meeting of the members". Now how did I miss that?
My email had alerted them to the fact that I had a strong case against them unless they
told me what I had done wrong and be allowed time to prepare a
defense. All they did was put me on notice that they would probably call a Special
Membership Meeting rather than a Board Meeting in order to remove me. But they
did not tell me a date.
They thought I
would just go quietly to save myself embarrassment. But I wasn't about to let
them destroy my name and reputation.
They could not have been in any doubt about how seriously I was taking this as
even at that early stage I had warned them that "because involuntary removal as a director
of a non-profit organization could have very damaging effects on my personal and
professional reputation, these proceedings must be fully recorded and be subject
to judicial review."
Surely the warning of judicial review should have started warning bells down at
the Mayor's Office. Yet Mr. Marchant and Mr. Hushen seemed unfazed. They had
enormous faith in the power of the Mayor's Office.
I had been chairman of the San Diego Association of Realtors Grievance Committee
and knew a little about these things. I can imagine the liability our
Association would have incurred if my Committee had failed to provide a realtor
member with a copy of the complaint against him/her well in advance of any
hearing let alone deprived him/her of membership without even telling him/her
what the charges were. Was the Mayor's Office above all that? Mr. Marchant
certainly thought so.
July 10, 2003 Board Meeting:
The meeting took place without me.
by secretary Sean Brew the
following Monday July 14th.
I noticed that 5 Directors had voted when only 4
had attended. Delphine Malone and
Kathleen Roche Tansley were not Directors. I don't know if 4 was a quorum.
Item 3 said "After discussion and comment regarding Mr. Flannery’s past actions
and statements concerning the partnership, the motion passed."
I was never told which "past actions and statements concerning the partnership"
so upset them that they voted "to hold a special meeting of the members to vote
on whether Pat Flannery shall be removed as a member of the Board of Directors"
let alone whether they were true or false. I assume my "statements" were that:
Shannon Development is an unsuitable partner. It still is.
On August I wrote directly to Mayor Murphy.205
I had written to him: "I ask that having appointed all of us on this Board
that you now use your influence to ensure that the reasons for my removal as a
Director are clearly stated by my Board colleagues for the record and that I am
given an opportunity to address whatever it is that has brought this about."
His position was that his "authority in this corporation was limited to his
role in appointing the initial Board of Directors". At least he was
admitting that he did appoint the initial Board of Directors. On what
authority I have yet to find out.
Murphy may still be asked to account for the source of that authority. Mr.
Wilson, the Partnership attorney, advised the Partnership that the sole
"incorporator", Tim Hushen, was the sole authority on appointing directors. He
never did so.
His position remains as advised by his Chief of Staff and the City
Attorney's office in that letter, but I put him on notice that it would ultimately come before a
judge for judicial review. And it will. He was warned often enough. His office
had micro-managed this Partnership and were micro-managing my removal.
If this Partnership ever comes before the full City Council and is made official
a judge may be asked to decide what influence the Mayor exercised and what his
role was in my removal and what knowledge he has of my"
past actions and statements concerning the partnership"
that warranted my removal. He should at least have advised them to give me a fair
hearing. He didn't. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Hushen felt he drew
his authority and protection from the high Office of the Mayor.
August 12, 2003 Special Membership Meeting:
On August 11, 2003 Mr. Hushen email
to a special meeting of the membership for the following day August 12, 2003.
While I had not been given proper notice of the meeting, I had received
on July 14th
an email copy of the minutes of the July 10th
Board Meeting which contained information that a Special Membership Meeting to
remove me was scheduled for August 12, 2003.
I was still unable to attend for the same reason I was unable to attend the July
10th Board Meeting: I had not been given details of the complaint against me and
was therefore unable to prepare a defense.
I joked to a friend that if they were going to try me in my absence they would
have to hang me in my absence. They did.
I was not sent a copy of the minutes or
any formal notice that I had been removed from the Board. I did not even receive
I picked up this copy of the minutes209
at the next scheduled meeting on August 14th.
It says "after discussion and comment" Pat Flannery was removed as a member of
the Board. I wondered what that "discussion and comment" was. I still don't know.
August 14, 2003 Board Meeting:
Not having received any communication regarding the Special Meeting to remove me
on August 12th. I attended the meeting. They seemed genuinely surprised to see
This meeting was to be my last due to intimidation by Frank Devaney, deputy City
Attorney and director of the Partnership.
When I tried to raise the issue of my
removal under item #3, "approval of the August 12th Special Membership
Meeting" it was clear that I
was not going to be allowed to do so. Board Member and Deputy City Attorney Frank Devaney
then took over the chair from Mr. Hushen for the rest of the meeting.
From the chair he aggressively asked me "do you know who I am?"
I knew he was a deputy City Attorney
and that his wife Leslie was running for City Attorney. I told him yes I
knew who he was and asked him if he was
threatening me. He became very angry and agitated.
I told him that I had just obtained and read the minutes of the special meeting
on August 12th and was until that moment unaware of having been removed from the
Board. I wished to question the legality of item # 3 on those minutes which
stated "motion was made to remove Pat Flannery from the Board of Directors.
After discussion and comment the motion passed. (8 ayes, 0 nays, 1 abstention)."
I asked for a transcript of the
"discussion and comment" that had taken place in what was an open meeting of
a non-profit public-benefit company. He ignored my request, ruling it out of
I told him of my letter to Mayor Murphy asking him to use his influence to get
me a fair hearing and of the Mayor's Office reply. He seemed familiar with both.
He warned me that I was playing way above my league. I asked if he was
the attorney in the City Attorney's office who had advised the Mayor. He did not
I referred to the part of my letter to the Mayor which "threatened" a judicial
review of these entire proceedings. He seemed quite acquainted with that part of
the letter and warned against threatening the Mayor as it could have very
serious repercussions for me personally. I told him I was not threatening the
Mayor, merely asking him for a fair hearing. I suggested that perhaps the Mayor
was threatening me, through him.
At that point I addressed myself particularly to all three attorneys present:
Sean Brew taking the minutes as secretary, Mike Wilson present as the
Partnership attorney and Frank Devaney, a deputy City Attorney.
each of them if as knowledgeable, responsible attorneys they could defend the
lack of information and notice given to me about the complaint made against me that
warranted my removal. I asked each of them if in their opinion I should have
been given such information and time to prepare a defense.
They were all silent. Mike Wilson asked if he could speak to my attorney. I
replied I did not have one. I asked them if they really wanted to embroil themselves
in defending the indefensible when I would inevitably bring a law suit for
judicial review in order to clear my name and reputation.
Again Frank Devaney intervened and accused me of threatening them. He was very
angry and defensive.
He informed me that I was no longer a member of the Board of Directors and could
not comment on the minutes of a Board Meeting. I pointed out that the minutes
under discussion were those of a Special Meeting of the Membership held on
August 12th and asked if I were still a general member. He said I was not and
ordered that I could only speak at what later appeared in the minutes (for the
first time) as item
#8: "Public comment". I was now a member of the public attending the meeting
pursuant to the Brown Act.
I actually didn't speak after that nor was there any such thing as
"public comment" but Sean Brew wrote it up as if all this had taken place under
a brand new heading in the minutes: "Public Comment".
I observed Mr. Devaney very closely during the rest of the meeting. He seemed
very intense. He had a number of private conversations with Mr. Marchant, Mr.
Hushen, Mr. Brew and Mr. Wilson during the meeting. He seemed to be advising
them on the legalities of the situation. I also noticed that those five men hung
around outside, after the meeting, in intense discussions.
I later received this copy of the minutes
from a friend. I noted that it was headed
August 12th in error when in fact it is the minutes of the August 14th meeting.
While it grossly minimized the exchange between Mr. Devaney and I, it did say: "Frank
informed Pat that there may be adverse repercussions for such action".
Obviously Mr. Devaney's job that night was to "dissuade" me from "pursuing legal
During the meeting
I was handed a copy of
by Sean Brew.
I asked him why he was handing a letter convening a meeting that was already
He claimed to have mailed it to me on July 22, 2003 but I had never received it. I
had not been receiving anything from him for a long time. I don't know if he
even had my address as I had never received any mail from him.
I noticed it was addressed "Dear Member" which suggested that he had
just sent it to the other members in order to convene the meeting.
The letter convened the special meeting on August 12, 2003 "the purpose of
meeting is to vote on whether Patrick Flannery shall be removed as a Director of
He was covering for the fact that he had not given me proper notice, but it wouldn't have mattered if I had received it
or not because it did not contain
details of the complaint against me, which was what I really wanted. I
wanted time to prepare a defense. One cannot do that if the first one learns of
the nature of a complaint is at the meeting or hearing involved. Even F. Lee
Bailey would at a disadvantage in such circumstances. I was never told what it
was I was
being accused of. I still haven't.
The attempt to become "official":
After a long period of inactivity they have now decided that they will try again to make this official.
What has changed is that Sister Cities International has come up
Like Mayor Murphy they too like the idea of rubbing shoulders with
company CEOs rather than elected local officials.
To get over this requirement in their traditional affiliation rules:
"A sister city, county, municipality, oblast, prefecture, province, region,
state, territory, town, or village relationship becomes official with a signing
ceremony of the top-elected officials of the two jurisdictions, following
approval by the local city councils (county commissions or state legislatures),
they have created a new program especially for the San Diego-Shannon Partnership.
They have invented a “substantive
area” to replace the traditional "jurisdiction".
Shannon Region is presumably such a "substantive area".
They now call this their Sister Cities International "International Partners" program:
"Sister Cities International's "International
Partners" program is an alternative to the traditional, long-term sister
cities partnership. This type of affiliation allows sister city partners to
undertake shorter-term (perhaps two- or three-year) projects to address issues
like economic development, healthcare or municipal cooperation, with an
international partner. During the project period, the two communities will be
known as "International Partners for (substantive
area)." These partnerships provide an opportunity for both sides to
assess their compatibility and hopefully build the foundation for an official,
long-term sister cities partnership."
a Member of San Diego-Shannon Partnership In., a Director of San Diego
Sister Cities International Inc. and Sister Cities International Inc. had
asked me to lunch back in 2003 and tried to persuade me on the merits of this
Sitting on the national board she told me how excited the President and others
in that organization were about the prospect of using the San Diego model for
further partnerships with
development agencies all around the world. She said it would provide Sister
Cities with sources of finance they do not now have. I was appalled.
She obviously has persisted in what she described to me as a "new departure".
It will become known as the "San Diego model" if our City Council approves it.
The San Diego-Shannon Partnership started by getting the San Diego City International
Affairs Committee to approve213
their application for Sister City status. On January
29, 2005 Mr. Hushen announced that the "City of San Diego
International Affairs Board unanimously approved the Partnership's application
for Sister City status."
On February 23, 2005 I sent this email214
to all the members of the San Diego City Council providing a link to my web site
with this information on Shannon Development and the San Diego-Shannon
David Edick President of San Diego Sister Cities International Inc. responded
with this letter215
to the members of San Diego City Council. He included this
from Sister Cities International attaching this
letter217 from the
President of that organization.
Mr. Edick refered to this San Diego Policy
document218 # 000-18.
On February 24, 2005 Mr. Hushen circulated219
this draft Motion220
to be placed before the City Council. It was
on February 25, 2005 with this amended222
version, which is the one going before the Council on April 11, 2005. The
amended version removed Mr. Kevin Thompstone's name.
My Appeal to the City Council:
First, my response to David Edick's letter to the City Council:
He said that I had questioned whether Sister Cities International would accept
Shannon Development as an "administrative partner" to the City of San
I had not realized they had invented this new concept until I
obtained a copy of his response. I saw it for the first time in
Mr. Tim Honey's letter223
dated March 7, 2005.
No doubt Mr. Edick wished to give the impression that this new type of
affiliation is not new and not specifically designed to facilitate the San
Diego-Shannon Partnership Inc.
Mr. Edick also says that he has carried out due diligence with regard to the San
Diego City's policies on Sister Cities.224
He may have done so. However, he does not say that the San Diego-Shannon
Partnership complies with existing Council Policy. It does not.
Unlike Sister Cities International, San Diego City does not have an
"International Partners" program.
Current San Diego policy requires that: "A similar identifiable civic or
official group must exist in the city with which affiliation is proposed,
with a clear indication of intent to carry out active mutual programs. The
foreign city itself must evidence a desire to affiliate."
Shannon Development or more accurately "Shannon Free Airport Development Company
Ltd." is registered with the Irish Companies Registry Office as a private
company having only one shareholder, the Irish Government.
A private company, no matter who owns it and no matter what its activities, can never pass itself off as a "civic
or official group". The City of San Diego cannot approve this motion without
breaching its own written Policy Statement 000-18.
Even if it were to amend its policy, does San Diego really want to be the first City
in America to
destroy the traditional concept of Sister Cities by turning it over to those who
wish to use it as a cover for greed and corruption?
Mayor Murphy has pushed and sponsored this effort from the beginning. If the
traditional "elected" rule of Sister Cities is not enforced people like Murphy
will be able to partner up with any foreign agency they choose, even a foreign
army or intelligence agency.
It has recently come to light that Murphy's "Sister City" partner, Shannon
Development, had to reverse a
sweetheart land deal225
it had done with another partnership, MMDS Partnership, to whom it had privately
sold a valuable piece of land near Limerick University in the Shannon region, for
millions of dollars under its market value.
Because Shannon Development is registered as a private company in Ireland it was
not legally obliged to publicly advertise this government-owned land, as a normal
government agency would have had to do.
I therefore appeal, even plead, with the San Diego City Council
not to approve this project as a Sister City, not to make San Diego part of this
"new departure" and not to strip the Sister City concept of its traditional
Please give us a
real traditional people-to-people Irish Sister City. There are so many wonderful
Irish cities to choose from.
Pat Flannery -
(Opening a can of worms)