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Parties in PLJ mess need to keep talking

Promote La Jolla’s leaders appear to have received some good news this week in their meeting with city officials about the city auditor’s report that the organization had misused city funds and submitted duplicate billings to the tune of more than $112,000.

The city is working with them to try and clean up the books, perhaps reduce that number and set up new systems.

But Promote La Jolla’s not the only one with a dog in this fight. The bank that issued them a line of credit that led to part of the problem, First Republic Bank, is stuck smack in the middle with the merchant’s group, even if they don’t think they are. They seized city money to cover a debt, leaving PLJ holding the bag with few options.

Assuming PLJ’s leaders can do what the city wants - go through all of the invoices and expenses, analyze what went wrong and then set up new systems to make sure the same problems don’t surface again - there’s still the matter of getting about $65,000 back to the city.

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If they can work all that out, there might be hope for the Village merchants to get what they should from their business improvement district.

The organization has faced turbulence of assorted varieties over the last few months. It all started with an election that disrupted a seemingly contented board that deteriorated into verbal spats over whether to promote La Jolla to the world outside or the La Jolla that is closer to home.

Then came the city auditor’s report.

It seems that all the intentions were good: Get a big bang from some big-bucks marketing. We hope Rick Wildman is correct in saying there’s no indication that anyone profited personally, but rather it’s just “poor bookkeeping.”

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Assuming all the details can be cleared up, Promote La Jolla still faces some debts and a pending election for new board members at a time when two have resigned and no one seems quite sure what the mission is.

Here’s hoping they can dig themselves out and find out how to polish the Village and its image, which is rightfully what the mission should be. But that will only happen if all the parties, including First Republic, keep talking.