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 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


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.


Cory Briggs’ conduct ‘unethical and possibly criminal,’ appellate court says

In a published opinion Thursday, three justices of the 4th District Court of Appeal said Briggs knowingly represented a suspended corporation in a lawsuit challenging a new San Diego tax to finance an expansion of the downtown convention center, but didn’t acknowledge it and then didn’t give a reasons for his actions. Publication of the…

San Diego hotel fee challenge can continue, judge rules

The city and its Tourism Marketing District failed to persuade a judge to throw out a three-year-old lawsuit challenging a hotel fee used to promote San Diego’s tourism industry. Superior Court Judge Joel Wohlfeil ruled that the nonprofit group San Diegans for Open Government has the right to sue over City Council’s 2012 renewal of…

SCORE’s retraction demand and our response

One of the subjects of inewsource’s investigation into San Diego attorney Cory Briggs has requested a retraction of a recent article. Here is our response.

Briggs withdraws subpoena against inewsource

After inewsource’s lawyer challenged the subpoena request in court, Briggs withdrew it, saying he has already received all the information he needs from the City Attorney’s Office.