Irvine Taxpayers still waiting on Shea/Choi Cronies to pay up

Greg Smith, a former Irvine City Council member and former IUSD trustee, and Pat Rodgers, a former Irvine Police office and failed candidate for City Council, have failed to pay the city and the city’s lawyers back more than $40,000 in taxpayer dollars and legal fees spent when the pair filed a politically motivated lawsuit against the City of Irvine last year.  Smith and Rodgers were ordered to pay $20,713 to the city and $21,635 to Maguire to cover legal fees and court costs with the decision coming at the end of March this year. 

Payments were due in 60 days. 

The Liberal OC confirmed through the city’s public information office that the city has not yet been paid. Its coming up on 90 days.

Both Smith and Rodgers are political allies of current Irvine City Council members Christina Shea and Steven Choi, and published reports in the OC Register indicate that Council member and then-mayoral candidate Christina Shea, in a court filing, urged the pair to file the motion because she felt the Irvine city council’s progressive majority was “doing something illegal.”  Note to Smith and Rodgers — never take legal advice from Christina Shea.

In January 2008, the Irvine City Council reached an agreement with Maguire Properties over a development dispute.  Shea and Choi walked out of the meetings saying the meeting was being held in private and, therefore, in violation of the Brown Act.  

The suit filed by Smith and Rodgers, with the encouragement of Council member Shea, claimed the settlement limited public review by allowing future proposals from the developer to be handled administratively instead of through public hearings.  City planning officials and Maguire disputed that, saying the settlement did not change how future projects would be approved.

The City Council met in private three times to discuss the settlement, starting in October 2007. Maguire did not sue the city, but their lawyers suggested they would take legal action prompting the council to meet in private. Meetings conducted with the city’slawyers present.

“This actually benefited the city to the tune of $10 million, and not one iota of our planning process has been modified in the process,” said then Mayor Beth Krom, who defended holding the meetings in private, told the LA Times.

Shea and Choi actually walked out of two meetings over the issue, abdicating their responsibilities as council members.

What prompted me to ask about this was an exchange with Pat Rodgers on Red County in regards to Council member Beth Krom’s attendance at a meeting in Lake Arrowhead; here’s the exchange:

 

How doe Krom pay for such a
 How doe Krom pay for such a beautiful resort? She has no job. The City Council job pays her about $2,000 per month. Did King Larry make a donation to her campaign?16 
Submitted by The Drake on Sat, 06/06/09 – 10:44 AM »

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Who Pays
 Since Beth is the Council Representative to SCAG, the Irvine taxpayer pays. Normally I wouldn’t have a problem with that except, if I remember correctly, this is the same group that is suing Irvine to add more low income housing.  Yep, the Irvine taxpayers are really getting their money’s worth from this group and it is clear that Beth caries a lot of weight with them.      
Submitted by Ltpar on Sat, 06/06/09 – 10:05 PM »

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Pat — you are the LAST
 Pat — you are the LAST person who should be commenting on wasted taxpayer dollars with your political motivated lawsuits that cost the city tens of thousands of dollars to defend so you could have some headlines for your campaign literature.  Your political ally Christina Shea used Irvine taxpayer dollars for trips to Charlotte, NC for “research” on bringing an NFL franchise to the Great Park site 10 years ago.  Considering we have NFL teams an hour’s flight or 90 minute drive away, was that a good use of taxpayer dollars?  Just be sure to pay taxpyaers back every dime owned please.  Tell Greg Smith to get out his checkbook .. again. 
Submitted by Dan Chmielewski on Sun, 06/07/09 – 02:03 PM »

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You Are The Last
 Dan, my original comments were critical of SCAG and not your heros on the Irvine City Council, but since you want to twist the knife in my back a bit, I will add a few comments of my own.  Speaking from the far left, your definition of frivolous and mine are on opposite ends of the spectrum.      First, the lawsuit against the City of Irvine was filed in April at which time I had no plans to run for anything and was on the list to head back to Iraq for work.  In late August, I was talked into joining the Republican slate in the Irvine City Council race.  The lawsuit had nothing to do with the election and very little about it came up duing the campaign.  The closest I recall, dealt with our pledging to conduct open and transparent government, not making decisions behind closed doors. However, money talks and your group blew us out of the water in the campaign.  The majority of the Irvine voters spoke, wanted no change and I respect that.   As to the merits of the lawsuit.  I  consider accepting political contributions from developers and cutting closed door deals without a Public Hearing to accomodate land use issues, to be bad government.  This sort of stuff has been quietly going on in Irvine for years, while the District Attorney and U.S. Attorney remain asleep at the wheel.   

Dan, another big difference between us is, I didn’t just sit on the sidelines running my mouth, as you so frequently do.  Greg Smith and I stepped to the plate, put our money where our mouth was and tried to stop what we believed to be an illegal action.  The Judge made a ruling, against us and in favor of the City.  I still don’t agree with that decision, but that’s the way the system works sometime.  In addition, Greg and I have been ordered to pay the City and Maguire Properties legal fees ($20,000 each) for our efforts in trying to hold our government accountable for their actions. 

In conclusion, for Greg Smith and myself, it was an expensive demonstration of, “He who has the gold rules.”  For myself, I have learned my lesson and will in the future leave fixing goverment to others.  Should I forget and start to backslide, my wife says, she will remind me with a two by four.        

 

Submitted by Ltpar on Mon, 06/08/09 – 03:35 PM »

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What Lt. Pat fails to realize here is that it’s not “he who has the gold rules.” It’s he who follows the law.  By walking out on the meeting, with city lawyers present, Shea and Choi demonstrated their lack of trust in the city’s lawyers to provide the council with sound legal advice.  If Irvine’s lawyers are incompentent, why not say so?  This lawsuit was all about generating headlines and promoting a pattern of thought from Shea and Choi that so many decisions are made by the Irvine council majority in secrecy.  But, as Ronald Reagan once famously said, “facts are stupid things.”

If there is so much evidence of corruption against the Progressive Council majority going on for so long, I have to wonder why there have never been charges?  Curt Pringle has an impressive machine in Anaheim, yet Republicans seeking to regain power in Irvine speak of Curt in glowing terms while dragging Irvine’s Democrats through the rumor mill.  And despite all this, the city is the FBI’s safest for the fifth year in a row, the school district (despite its lack of funding comparable to other districts) is among the state’s best, the local economy is strong and the city’s environmental initiatives are among the nation’s best.

So my questions are pretty simple:

Why haven’t Smith and Rodgers paid their fees on time?

Why haven’t council members Shea and Choi demanded taxpayers get their money back?  Why are Shea and Choi silent on this?

So Pat “hasn’t put his checkbook where his mouth is” and neither has Greg Smith.  And for being such a champion of Irvine taxpayers that Christina Shea portrays herself to be,  I don’t see here banging her shoe on the dias demanding that Taxpayers be reimbursed in a timely fashion for a lawsuit she encouraged.

  14 comments for “Irvine Taxpayers still waiting on Shea/Choi Cronies to pay up

  1. Chris
    June 23, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    I agree that Shea and friends are at fault here for delinquent payments, but how could you defend Agran, Krom and Kang at the same time!? If you think Shea is up to no good, Larry Agran is a hundred times worse! Besides, Shea and Choi are a minority and are essentially lame ducks, yet you still hammer them to bits. Why Dan, Why?? How could they be a threat, their slate ate the dust on election day. “America’s safest city” is under attack from the likes of Kang, Krom, and Darth Agran. I guess it wont be long till Agran has a 5-0 majority and a congresswoman at his bidding. :/

  2. June 23, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Chris — 100 times worse? Just how so? I’m going to keep hammering Shea and Choi for their do as I say don’t do as I do style of governing. A 5-0 majority, for Progressives and Democrats in Irvine? Bring it on. Irvine is under attack from the very leaders who have made it great. Sure, whateveryu you say.

    I have gotten to know Beth, Larry and Suhkee; and while they are like minded in how they vote, they are all strong and independent personalities. The notion that both Beth and Suhkee are someone puppets on Larry’s string is both laughable and offensive at the same time.

  3. Chris
    June 23, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    With offense being the point, everything you say is undermined by the Agranistas’ horrible record. Unfortunatley Shea and Choi aren’t good at all, rather the lesser evil. Take the time to peruse the archives of the OC Register, LA Times, and the OC Weekly, and you will find a treasure trove of articles describing the shifty tactics of Agran, Kang, and Krom, regardless of how nice they are in person. No matter how much you laugh at the facts, they’re still true, and you just look like a fool.

  4. June 24, 2009 at 9:27 am

    And you continue to provide blanket statements about a horrible record with no specifics. I have been reading the stories in the Register, LA Times and OC Weekly for years. And I’ve talked with each of these city council members personally and they’ve address every question I have ever had.

    Fact: Irvine is the safest city in America for the past 5 years according to the FBI.
    Fact: Irvine schools arew among the best in the county (OC Register) and among the best in the state and nation (Newsweek).
    Fact: Irvine has a robust local economy and is one of the best places in the nation to ride out a recession (BusinessWeek)

    Sure sounds like a lousy record to me. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. Until you can do more than provide a blanket criticism of their record with something like an indictment or even a fine(I will take specifics any day), then who’s the fool here?

  5. the true fool
    June 24, 2009 at 10:14 am

    The true fool is Chris Prevatt. Chmielewski is a personal friend of Beth Krom yet never says this on his multiple posts about Irvine. If Prevatt had any ethics, he wouldn’t let Dan blog about Irvine, but we all know this is a terrible blog to begin with.

  6. June 24, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Yes, Beth is my friend. I have stated so before. But then again Matt Cunningham is friends with many of the people he writes about on Red County, so by your logic, ethically, he shouldn’t be writing about them either. Always love debating ethics with anonymous posters. So brave.

  7. just...asking?
    June 24, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Irvine like it or not is the envy of every large city in California, if not America!

    They don’t have the beach, Disneyland, or a major attraction, or the County Seat, and yet they continue to be rated one of the best big cities in America.

    Like them or not, how could anyone deny that the majority has made some good decisions for their city? I would type/say the same if Rep/Dem/DTS or Martian.

  8. June 24, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Agree with you on this Just Asking, but back to the point of the post. Two political cronies of Shea/Choi filed a politically motivated lawsuit against the city. A sitting city council member encouraged the pair to pursue legal action against the city she represents. A judge threw out the case and the decision was not appealed. As an Irvine Taxpayer, I want that money paid back. And it hasn’t been.

  9. Ltpar
    June 24, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Chris, as usual you have your mouth in gear and the blinders on just, as you have had for years in your dealings with Larry Agran and his gang. Of course, you aren’t the only one with them on. A number of people who know what is going on in Irvine have asked the same question you raised, “Where is our llustrious District Attorney and the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles?” Sometimes the wheels of Justice move slowly, and I have no doubt that one day they will see the red flags waiving over Irvine and commence an investigation into political antics of your friends at City Hall. Who knows what they might find there, but there is certainly a lengthy paper trail to follow.

    Now on your allegations of Greg and I being deadbeats. Within days of receiving the paperwork from the court, I had checks in the mail to our attorney to pay off both Maguire and the City. I stand by my previous statement of putting my money where my mouth is and pay my debts, whether I like them or not. Greg Smith has done the same thing. Guess you will have to find a new dead horse to beat?

    By the way, just to set the record straight, Irvine has been in and out of the #1 catagory for the last fifteen years (not just 5)and no lower than #5 in the nation. This was not achieved by politicians, especially your friends. The success was started by a creative and innovative Chief of Police (Leo Peart) who instilled upon the members of our Charter group at Irvine P. D. in 1975, that we we going to implement a new kind of policing in the city. From this evolved a partnership of Police and the stakeholders in the community. Add in intense planning (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design)with target hardening and the men and women in uniform doing a great job of patrolling the streets and you have the safety you enjoy today. Yes, the politicians supported us in concept and provided resources, but not always enough. While the politicians continue to brag about Public Safety being the top priority, Irvine has always been ranked among the lowest in Orange County of Officer to Citizen ratio. In Irviine, it was 1.1 Officers per 1000 citizens. The County average was 1.6 and the national average was 2.6. Without complaining the Irvine Police Officers did what they do best, “more with less.” These are the folks who deserve the lions share of the credit. Irvine is also fortunate to have another excellent Chief of Police, Dave Maggard. Dave understands the history of the Irvine Police – Citizen relationship and is committed to carrying it forward. Sorry to be so long winded Dan but I thought you needed a little history lesson on the City in which you live.

  10. Ltpar
    June 24, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Sorry Dan, how could I forget your name when your remarks are always so flattering. I meant you and not Chris.

  11. June 24, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    No problem Pat on the name mixup.

    The City of Irvine’s Public Information Office told me a week and a half ago that the fees were not paid; I have those emails. I called yesterday and they have no updates on the case. I stand by my reporting.

  12. Chris
    June 25, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Dan, Of course they will “address” the issues personally with you, they are under no obligation to tell you what is actually happening behind the scenes in the city. And besides, you probably were already convinced of their innocence at the outset. I agree with the assertion that our city’s safety is not a result of Larry being in office. As for blanket statements, I’ll leave the specifics for the likes of R. Scott Moxley, Cameron Jackson, and other excellent investigators. Take the time to listen to and read their articles.

  13. June 25, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Chris — you are hijacking this thread and getting away from the general subject, so please stay on topic.

    I’ve done legwork and talked with the progressive majority. I have also had meetings with Chuck DeVore and Dick Ackerman’s COS on school funding issues. You’d be surprised at how candid elected officials are and how eager they can be to meet with you.

    Moxley is one of the best investigative reporters in the business. Which is why some of the question I pose to these officials uses published reports to drill down. Cam Jackson as an invesigatve reporter…please. I’m surprised you didn’t use Steven Smith too.

    But again Chris; I’ve done legwork here. It doesn’t appear that you have and it seems you’re already negatively predisposed against the Progressive elected officials even though the voters of Irvine keep returning them to office. If you do talk to them, ask them about my questions and you’ll find me anything but soft of them.

    Again, are you OK with political allies of Shea and Choi not repaying the taxpayers on time and are you OK with Shea and Choi’s silence on this issue given the fact Shea herself encouraged the lawsuit?

Comments are closed.