San Diego City Comptroller Ken Whitfield said he tried to hold down costs when it came to Mayor Bob Filner’s controversial spending on his trip to Paris and use of city credit cards, but Filner deputies pushed back or overrode his decisions.
Whitfield said Friday Filner violated city rules by charging personal items on his taxpayer-funded credit card and that Filner Chief of Staff Lee Burdick argued a $128.94 NutriBullet blender was a business expense before relenting and paying for it with a personal check.
Whitfield also said he denied a request to increase the city credit card limit to pay for non-coach class airfare for the mayor’s security detail to Paris because city policies require employees to fly coach. Chief Financial Officer Greg Bych later agreed to raise the limit. Filner went to Paris to speak in support of an Iranian dissident group.
It’s rare for someone as high-level as the mayor not to follow city rules, said Whitfield, who as comptroller oversees city finances. He said he was unaware of any other situation where a city credit card was canceled, as the mayor’s later was, or of anyone else who hadn’t paid his or her bill.