Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2006 | City Councilman Scott Peters was impressed by Diann Shipione at first, calling her “attractive and intelligent.”
But as smart as Shipione was in Peters’ eyes, the councilman and the majority of other city officials shrugged off the pension whistleblower’s warnings, chalking up her misgivings as a crusade to settle a political score. Some even went as far to dismiss her as “crazy.”
“Overall, the ‘mantra’ within City government was that Diann Shipione was crazy and mad at the Mayor and that people should not be worried about the pension fund,” according to a summary of Peters’ interview with private investigators.
And, even if she had the best intentions, everyone else involved in the pension deal said she was flat wrong.
Nearly four years later, officials’ failure to worry about the pension fund’s financial health has left the city in a desperate state. Shipione’s concerns about the legality and prudence of the 2002 pension deal have been validated by a stack of opinions and studies, while her allegations of corruption have been picked up by prosecutors and are currently playing out in state and federal courts.
She has been elevated to hero status locally and nationally for playing a whistleblower role in San Diego’s ongoing pension saga, despite the pushback she received from city officials. Interviews conducted for the Kroll report and released last week reveal for the first time council members’ first impressions and later reactions to the woman who would forecast a time of unprecedented political and legal tumult at City Hall.