US Atty: Former San Diego Mayor Maureen O’Connor misappropriated funds

“San Diego Channel 10 online ABC News affiliate on February 14, 2013 reported that 66 year old Maureen O’Connor, former San Diego Mayor for two terms from 1986 to 1992, is currently charged with money laundering as a result of a cash transaction of $10,000 or more.

Of note is the fact O’Connor was the first female mayor for San Diego. Her previous professional career spanned over a decade in various positions teaching physical education, as well as a member of the San Diego City Council and Unified Port District Commission. She is also widely known to have married the founder of Jack-In-The-Box fast-food chain, Robert O. Peterson, who also founded Southern California First National Bank, which eventually was purchased by Union Bank. In 1994, her husband died.

The article also revealed the ex-Mayor sold a luxury Heritage House resort for $19.5 million, she later sued the bank that provided financing for the buyers, and in 2010 sold her La Jolla home for $2.5 million, which is now owned by Mitt Romney, 2012 former Republican nominee for president. According to the U-T San Diego, it was a short sale and the county reassessed the property at a $4.5 million soon after the purchase.

The article did not report an interview with the attorney for the former Mayor so it is not immediately clear what defense has been argued nor mitigating facts and evidence, if any. Although O’Connor could be sentenced for up to 10 years in prison and often prosecutors seek to set an example in these cases to deter others from money laundering, a maximum penalty is unlikely as the article referenced a possible and existing plea deal or settlement in Federal Court.”

–Sam Spital