That San Diego Association of Governments leaders told staffers to hide and destroy public records as its forecasting scandal unfolded is perhaps the most shocking revelation to come from an outside investigation into the agency, but it isn’t the only major discovery in the document.
The report also found that witnesses urged investigators to look into major issues outside the scope of the investigation, that the agency’s chief executive and board chair misled board members and the public in a letter and op-ed after the scandal broke and that the agency has been crippled by mismanagement and amateurish work for years.
The investigation also confirmed what Voice of San Diego had previously reported: SANDAG leaders were told about fatal flaws in the agency’s internal forecasts in December 2015, and staffers directly tied the problems to the agency’s expected tax collections for major transportation projects, but leadership failed to act on the warnings and never disclosed the problems to its board or the broader public.
This all played out as the agency was selling the public on a new tax increase, Measure A, on the November 2016 ballot.
Nonetheless, the agency carried on with the broken forecast, which it has since abandoned, revealing a $17 billion shortfall for TransNet, the sales tax approved by voters in 2004.
Here are four more things we learned from the investigation by Orange County-based law firm Hueston Hennigan.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
In comments on at least two previous stories on this topic, I speculated that it was hard to believe the board had been kept totally in the dark, suggesting that Mr. Roberts was the likely party to have been informed. Nice to be demonstrably right as a prognosticator, but I've followed Roberts political career for a long time. He was my council member for several years.