By SDCN Editor

San Diego, CA–A former City of San Diego volunteer real estate advisor was criminally charged with conflict of interest for his role in receiving millions of dollars in connection with two lease-to-own deals commonly known as Civic Center Plaza and 101 Ash Street.

Jason Hughes, 55, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation of conflict-of-interest law, Government Code section 1090, and agreed to pay $9.4 million in restitution to the City of San Diego, the amount he was secretly paid for the two transactions.

The plea agreement comes after Superior Court Judge, Kenneth So, who was presiding over the criminal investigation aspects of this case, in the last few days made the decision to move the case forward through mediation with all parties, including the City Attorney’s Office, aimed at a global resolution that would serve the interests of justice. Judge So’s expertise and knowledge of the case, stemming back to his authorization of the DA’s search warrants in October of 2021, allowed the case to move rapidly towards this decisive conclusion. San Diego City Council action clears the way for the criminal case to proceed under the judge’s direction, civil suits to be vacated and full criminal restitution to be paid.

“In many cases, conflict of interest cases result in only civil or administrative remedies,” DA Stephan said. “But in this egregious case, it was important to attain a measure of criminal liability and make certain that restitution be required via a criminal case and not left to chance in civil court. The message we are sending is clear: whether you are in an elected position, a public employee, a contractor, or an appointed volunteer, if you personally profit from contracts related to a government position, you will be held accountable for violating this public integrity law.”

The plea concludes an extensive criminal investigation by the District Attorney’s Office which included 1.6 terabytes of information and millions of pages of evidence.