[unravel two]Morning Report: The City’s Case Against Hughes, Explained

2021-10-11 11:52:12

  The 101 Ash St. building / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

  In January, VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt wrote a long piece on the role Jason Hughes, a commercial real estate broker, had in the mess the city has faced related to 101 Ash St., the building it was never able to move employees into.

  Hughes had been an unpaid volunteer advising mayors going back to Bob Filner and helping the city renegotiate leases. But he also helped the city lease two large towers, 101 Ash St. and Civic Center Plaza.

  This week, we learned Hughes had, at some point, stopped being a volunteer and had instead gotten one of the most lucrative commercial real estate gigs in the city: representing the city itself. He revealed it himself. The company that bought the two buildings so that the city could lease them from it paid him $9.4 million.

  He revealed it because the city attorney was about to make public the results of its subpoenas and new lawsuits meant to unravel the two deals based on the theory that Hughes had violated state conflict-of-interest laws and thus the lease-to-own arrangements were void.

  It’s all very complex. We have two important pieces on it: Why what then-Mayor Kevin Faulconer knew matters and how we wouldn’t know any of this without asbestos.

  But also, we now have this podcast. In it, we go through the history and explain why all this matters.