Since 2015, inewsource has investigated Cory Briggs, a San Diego lawyer known for suing government agencies and developers using the California Environmental Quality Act. Our reporting showed Briggs has collected attorney fees and settlements on behalf of a network of nonprofit organizations he helped form — nonprofits that also repeatedly and persistently violated state and federal laws.
Reporters combed through thousands of pages of land records, environmental impact reports, invoices and contracts, uncovering questionable transactions, potential conflicts of interest, and a persistent disregard for state and federal laws. After publishing 10 stories about Briggs, a nonprofit closely associated with the attorney sued inewsource over our lease with San Diego State University and KPBS (where we’re based). In September 2019, the California Supreme Court dismissed the suit, which two lower courts also had rejected.
Briggs ran for San Diego city attorney in 2020 and lost in the November election.
Brad Racino is a senior investigative reporter and assistant editor at inewsource. He has produced investigations on topics including political corruption, transportation, health, maritime, education and nonprofits. Contact him at email@example.com. Securely contact Brad on Signal or WhatsApp (845-553-4170)
Jennifer Bowman is an investigative reporter at inewsource who previously worked at daily newspapers in Michigan and North Carolina covering government and other accountability issues. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brooke Williams is a former investigative and data reporter at inewsource. For The New York Times, she co-authored and built a database for a story that won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting. She also has done reporting for The Center for Public Integrity, The San Diego Union-Tribune, NPR, VICE and The New Republic.
Briggs-associated nonprofits flout state, federal laws
For years, San Diego’s well-known environmental attorney has collected attorney fees and settlements on behalf of a network of charitable, nonprofit organizations he helped form that, in many cases, repeatedly and persistently violated state and federal laws.