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Men Accused of Funneling $500K in Illegal Campaign Money Plead Not Guilty

The source of the foreign money has not been made public in court documents, but it is believed to be Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, a Mexican businessman with a home in Coronado.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

Two men accused of funneling more than $500,000 in foreign money into San Diego political campaigns pleaded not guilty today to a conspiracy charge contained in a federal indictment.

Marco Polo Cortes, a local lobbyist, and Ravneet Singh, the owner of the Washington, D.C.-based campaign services company, ElectionMall, denied the charges in separate hearings at the federal courthouse.

A federal grand jury returned the indictment against Cortes, Singh, ElectionMall and former San Diego Police Department Detective Ernesto Encinas after the three were arrested and charged in a complaint last month.

Last week, Encinas waived his right requiring prosecutors to present their case to the grand jury.

Cortes, Singh and Encinas are accused of trying to hide the source of large donations to local campaigns, including the 2012 mayoral campaigns of District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Bob Filner.

The source of the foreign money has not been made public in court documents, but it is believed to be Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, a Mexican businessman with a home in Coronado. It is illegal for non-citizens to contribute to U.S. election campaigns.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said the donor wanted to turn San Diego's bayfront into a West Coast version of Miami.

A motions hearing is scheduled March 24 before U.S. District Judge Michael Anello.

—City News Service

LaPlaya Heritage February 19, 2014 at 02:05 AM
The Public Waterfront is managed by the San Diego Unified Port District (UPD), not the Mayor. The Public Waterfront is owned by the People of the State of California in Trust forever. It is illegal to build private luxury condominiums on Public State Tidelands. At the most only Condo-Hotels are allowed. Condo Hotel owners cannot live in the Unit for 6 or more month a year (50%). Never even heard of a supposed war room. Where is the small leased office space did this war room exists? What did the war room do? www.tinyurl.com/20130117 Former Mayor Filner promised Public Park and Open Space advocates a public Waterfront Park at the Navy Broadway Complex (NBC), not luxury condos like Miami. after Active Seismic Faults are Confirmed or Denied from the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal (TAMT) to the Airport. By our Municipal Codes fault buffer setbacks increase from 50 feet on each side to 400 feet on each side. In this fault buffer zone only Public Park and open space areas are allowed by Code.
Sherrie Miranda February 19, 2014 at 01:13 PM
Why didn't the idiot just become a citizen?! It would have saved him a lot of trouble!

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