So who is this Alvin Malnik and why are people saying such terrible things about him?
He's slim, sophisticated, 53 years old and very rich. He has a plane, a helicopter, his own restaurant in Miami, a stable of sports cars, and business interests from coast to coast.
He owns apartment buildings in Clairemont and Rancho Penasquitos.
The San Diego City Council would like to buy them for $38.5 million, plus a nice tax break for Malnik by pretending to acquire the buildings through condemnation.
Some people say doing business with Malnik is the moral equivalent of buying a watch from a guy on the street corner with six watches on his arm. Some disagree.
Journalistic shorthand says that Malnik is "a reputed organized crime figure." So is San Diego's Chris Petti.
But to compare Malnik to Petti is like comparing Joe Montana to a kid wobbling passes on a playground.
If you believe Forbes magazine ("The Invisible Enterprise"), Malnik essentially invented the black art of money-laundering, taking mob money and routing it to legitimate ventures (like real estate). To wit:
"In the 1960s, Miami lawyer Alvin Malnik set up the Bank of Commerce in the Bahamas. Mob money flowed into its secret numbered accounts by the hundreds of millions--(mob financier Meyer) Lansky money, most of it--and then out again into Tibor Rosenbaum's International Credit Bank of Switzerland before returning to the United States for investment."
By the way, did you know that Swiss francs were used to finance construction of the apartment buildings in Clairemont and Rancho Penasquitos.
The gaming commissions of New Jersey and Las Vegas have made Malnik persona non grata . All lies, he says.
People magazine did a two-parter ("Tales From An Arabian Nightmare") about his role as financial adviser/cultural attache to a rowdy branch of the Saudi royal family.
Malnik, a Jew, started carrying a Koran and studying Arabic to show that, fundamentally, he's a regular Islamic kind of guy.
He brought the Saudis to Miami and introduced them to the delights of waterfront condominiums, speedboats, $25,000 shopping binges, and all-night bacchanals.
A Saudi prince gave Malnik a Maserati. Malnik's son married a princess and got a Ferrari.
Let's review: Malnik knows how to make money and he knows how to party. He likes to invest in real estate.
Money? Fun? Real estate?
If that doesn't make him an honorary San Diegan, I don't know what does.
This is the same San Diego city government, remember, that refused to pull its retirement funds from companies in South Africa. The retirement board said morality has no place in government.
If the city can invest in apartheid, what's the big deal about paying a guy who consorts with people who collect their debts by breaking legs, right?
Women Gone Bad
San Diego calling.
* One of the veteran court watchers attending the Betty Broderick murder trial brings a copy of "When She Was Bad" to court.
That's Shana Alexander's book about the rise and fall of Bess Myerson.
* The Los Angeles Times Poll has Pete Wilson leading Dianne Feinstein by 56% to 29% in San Diego County, with 12% undecided and 3% for "someone else."
* San Diego Councilwoman Abbe Wolfsheimer is pushing her colleagues for an ordinance punishing anyone who leaks information from a closed session. Don't look for it to happen.
* Sheriff John Duffy says he may write a tell-all book: "Since I've been here for 38 years, I've been through a lot of politicians and seen how the media has orchestrated this town."
* The merchants of Ocean Beach thought they had a way to keep the homeless from foraging in their dumpsters: locks.
Wrong. There's a master key floating around the streets.
* Tom Metzger's police bodyguard has become a mini-media celebrity in Portland. He was asked about what he and Metzger talked about when they were alone:
"Beer and women, just to keep that communication open."
* Headline in the Fallbrook Enterprise: "Clean-up of burned plant a hot issue."