Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner met with Mexican national Jose Susumo Azano Matsura at Azano’s Coronado estate weeks before Azano is alleged to have spent $340,000 in illegal donations to Filner’s successful mayoral bid, according to a source who witnessed the meeting and who would only speak on the condition of anonymity.
Lobbyist Marco Polo Cortes and former San Diego Police Department detective Ernesto Encinas also attended the meeting, the source said. Federal law enforcement officials allege Cortes and Encinas worked to illegally funnel a Mexican national’s money to local campaigns over the past two years. Azano and Filner are not specifically named in the federal complaints, but are widely believed to be involved.
Azano, the source said, brought in a chef from the high-end Nobu sushi restaurant chain to cater the meeting. Filner and Azano did not discuss fundraising during the meeting, the source said. But immediately after the meeting, and multiple times following, the source overheard Cortes and Encinas say Azano might be interested in funding an independent expenditure on Filner’s behalf.
It’s illegal for foreign nationals to donate money to American campaigns.