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  • OTVI.USA
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  • TLT.USA
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  • WAIT.USA
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  • DATVF.ATLPHL
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  • DATVF.DALLAX
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  • DATVF.LAXDAL
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  • DATVF.SEALAX
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  • ITVI.USA
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  • OTRI.USA
    7.710
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  • OTVI.USA
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  • TLT.USA
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  • WAIT.USA
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American Shipper

Convicted ex-councilman sworn in as new Port of San Diego commissioner

Michael Zucchet, a former member of the San Diego City Council who resigned after being convicted of wire fraud and extortion, has been sworn in to the San Diego Board of Port Commissioners.

   A former member of the San Diego City Council who resigned after being convicted on criminal charges over a decade ago, has been sworn in to the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners, replacing a former member who resigned less than a month ago due to potential conflicts of interest.
   Michael Zucchet, currently the general manager of the San Diego Municipal Employees Association, the union that represents city workers, was sworn in to the seven-member body on June 15. He replaces Bob Nelson, who stepped down from the board on May 16.
   Zucchet sat on the city council from 2002-05, but resigned after being convicted of nine counts of wire fraud and extortion in connection with taking money from a strip club owner in exchange for trying to repeal a so-called “no touch” rule. He later appealed the charges and they were eventually dismissed, with the judge citing a lack of evidence. Three years after leaving the council, he became head of the Municipal Employees Association.
   The San Diego City Council chose Zucchet to fill the port board seat on a 5-4 party-line vote.
   Nelson, who began his tenure on the board in January 2011, was a little over halfway through his second four-year term, which was due to end in January 2019. In his resignation letter, he cited rules that constrain he and his business partners from engaging in matters concerning the fate of the San Diego Convention Center.
   Nelson is in favor of a proposed Nov. 7 ballot measure that would raise a hotel room tax by up to 3 percent in order to expand the convention center, and has indicated that he could campaign for the ballot measure.
   In a statement issued at the time of his resignation, the longtime public relations executive and political consultant said that in the years before he became a port commissioner, he worked for the convention center expansion as a member of the city’s Convention Center Board.
   “The convention center expansion will face its final challenge when we go to the polls later this year. After 11 years working toward this milestone, I cannot now remain on the sidelines,” Nelson said in the statement. “At the same time, I do not believe the public trust would be served were I to campaign in the community for a yes vote by night, then make land-use and financial decisions about the related port property by day.”
   Zucchet will fulfill the remainder of Nelson’s term, which expires Jan. 2, 2019.

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