Jason Hughes, a real estate broker involved in San Diego’s lease-to-own deal for the 101 Ash St. office tower, recently appeared in an administrative hearing to defend his actions and prevent the revocation of his state broker’s license. Hughes pleaded guilty in March to violating conflict-of-interest laws but maintained his innocence, stating that the advice he provided to city officials was unrelated to his work as a broker.
During the hearing, Hughes spoke about the impact of the criminal investigation and civil lawsuits on his reputation and family. He described the search warrants executed at his business and home, including his granddaughter’s playhouse. Despite his guilty plea, Hughes testified that he agreed to it due to threats from prosecutors who would continue investigating him for years otherwise.
In his defense, Hughes stated that city officials were aware that he would be compensated for his work, although he did not disclose the exact amount. He also admitted to not informing city officials about his profit-sharing agreement with Cisterra Development, the landlord in both leases.
The state attorney raised concerns about Hughes’ transparency in his dealings with city officials. She questioned his lack of recollection regarding a bid his company submitted in 2008 and a letter he wrote in 2013 referring to himself as a representative for the city.
Hughes’ legal team argued that his misdemeanor conviction, which is eligible for expungement after one year, should not be grounds for license revocation. They also presented an expert witness who testified that Hughes was not acting as a broker in the Ash Street transaction.
The hearing did not result in a decision, and the accusation against Hughes remains. The outcome of the case will determine whether Hughes will lose his real estate broker’s license.
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– State broker’s license: A license granted by the state to individuals who meet specific qualifications, allowing them to engage in real estate activities.
– Conflict-of-interest laws: Laws designed to prevent individuals from taking actions that could compromise their ability to act in the best interests of their clients.
– Administrative law judge: A judge who presides over hearings and makes decisions in cases involving administrative agencies.
– Expungement: The legal process of having a criminal conviction removed from a person’s record.