The Feds Come Knocking on OC Supervisors Doors

fbi-raidIn the 7-year history of TheLiberalOC, we’ve done our share of digging into political corruption. We have on numerous occasions found a few meaty bones along the way. Throughout our experiences, we have been frustrated over the lack of official interest on the part of regulatory and law enforcement agencies in allocating significant resources to follow up with their own investigations. That is why the revelation yesterday by Voice of OC that a task force of federal, state, and local agencies has been formed to look into allegations of corruption infesting the Orange County Board of Supervisors has us in a hopeful mood.

Voice of OC reports [FBI Spearheads Task Force to Probe OC Political Corruption]:

The FBI, Internal Revenue Service, district attorney and U.S. attorney’s office have formed a task force to investigate reports of political corruption in Orange County, the FBI confirmed Wednesday.

The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission, which enforces campaign reporting laws and is investigating a majority of the Board of Supervisors, as well as the board of CalOptima, also is working closely with the task force, according to county sources.

Also in April, the Orange County grand jury called for creation of a county ethics commission, citing the county’s 40-year history of corruption. Supervisors rejected the idea and blasted the grand jury, claiming it was mistaken.

The Voice of OC story points out that former Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona was convicted of witness tampering in 2008 and sentenced to federal prison after an FBI investigation. When the feds start digging, you can bet that they have seen enough evidence to make it look like a substantive dig will be fruitful.

We are pleased that an investigation of the back-room deals resulting in no-bid contracts that explode with change orders and cost tax payers far more than initially planned. The Orange County Board of Supervisors has resisted true lobbying regulation aimed at curtailing the pay-to-play nature of the County’s more than $5 billion budget. They have rejected the most basic of efforts to track who they are meeting with prior to public meetings in order to seal the deals they approve without oversight or control.

rotting-orangesThere’s something rancid about the basket of oranges stored on the fifth-floor office suites of the Board of Supervisors. We hope the investigators follow their noses, and remove the rotten fruit to deep-cold storage in a federal prison somewhere in Colorado.

  18 comments for “The Feds Come Knocking on OC Supervisors Doors

  1. Robert Lauten
    July 26, 2013 at 9:39 am

    This is what a Police-State looks like, – the Feds superseding the authority of city, county, and state policing authority, – county and state courts.

  2. RHackett
    July 26, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Robert,

    It’s what required when those who should be investigating, don’t.

  3. henry lipton
    July 26, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I hope the whole lot them get marched out in a big perp walk parade with Janet Nguyen in the lead.

  4. Ltpar
    July 26, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Perhaps when the Task Force is finished poking around the County of Orange, they can show up in Irvine and take a hard look at what has been going on there for many years. I would suggest the liklihood of finding criminal activity in Irvine and at the Great Park is far greater than at the County of Orange. Of course with the District Attorney as part of the Task Force, I am not optimistic of any investigation ever being done. As they say, “It’s just another day in Paradise.”

  5. John Ehrlichman
    July 26, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Robert Lauten, thank you for the ridiculously irrelevant comment. Orange County is nothing more than a stucco banana republic, it’s goddamned disgusting. The Feds need to fully investigate the Great Park Board. If it wasn’t for the Feds, Carona would probably still be Sheriff.

  6. junior
    July 27, 2013 at 9:05 am

    An interesting take on this subject by former OC Treasurer Chriss Street.
    “As America’s Most Republican County, it is not surprising that a Democrat Attorney General under a Democrat Administration would put powerful Republican politicians in their cross-hairs.”

  7. Robert Lauten
    July 27, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Question:
    Why isn’t today’s State Attorney General, Kamala Harris, investigating the OC Board of Supervisors?
    Why is it the concern of the Feds when it is of no concern to California’s Attorney General?
    Sept 15, 2010
    “State Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown on Wednesday sued eight top Bell officials and council members, alleging fraud, civil conspiracy and waste of public funds in the first legal action related to the city’s salary scandal.”
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/09/bell-salary-scandal-jerry-brown-charges.html

  8. John Ehrlichman
    July 27, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    @Robert Lauten-it’s not over, yet. It’s just begun. Orange County has shown a lack of ability to police itself. Outsiders are necessary. The whole Great Park Board needs to be in “the dock” explaining themselves. It insults the intelligence to hear Christina Shea and Jeff Lalloway sounding the alarm now. They were on the Board when the shit was going down. This is every bit as bad as the City of Bell bullshit. The problem with OC is that its populace are nothing more than self-absorbed sheep. Too self-absorbed to see what’s going on around themselves until it’s too late. Look at the bankruptcy, we had an idiot (and I mean “idiot” in the clinical sense) investing the County’s money. The old-guard OC elite are nothing more than okies and arkies with a little cash. They’re still unsophisticated rubes. The only way you’re going to bust up a racket like this is with the US Attorney’s Office. Keep the partisan bullshit out of it (one of the big problems with OC as well).

  9. Ltpar
    July 28, 2013 at 11:22 am

    John, your lack of intelligence has not beed insulted, but rather your memory that has failed you on the Great Park? The record clearly reflects that Council Members Christina Shea, Steven Choi and later jeff Lalloway were in the minority on the Great Park Board for eight years. They fought the majority Agranistas on many issues and even sued the City to get paperwork on a shady hiring deal Larry Agran tried to slide through. When the conservatives gained control of the Council in 2013, they immediately put a series of actions in motion including terminating many of the “sweetheart no bid contracts,” cutting excessive staff/programs and ordering a Forensic Audit of the Great Park books. Many of us including Christina Shea have for years been harping at the United States Attorney to investigate the Park, since our District Attorney turned a blind eye to what was happening there. Bottom line is, let’s put the blame for the Park mess where it deserves to be, with Larry Agran, Beth Krom and Sukhee Kang. Hopefully, the new Task Force will take a look at the Park among it’s other investigations in Orange County.

  10. henry lipton
    July 28, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    maybe Carona can get his sentence reduced by agreeing to testify about what he knows who is up to what? That would be a funny twist of irony wouldn’t it?

  11. junior
    July 28, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    This is not as big a deal as some people (VOC) are making it out to be. The FBI has described this as “routine” and “a formalization” of an on going inter-agency relationship.

  12. Robert Lauten
    July 28, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    County Government:
    What is the function of a county?
    …” counties are subject to extensive state administrative supervision and regulation.”
    http://www.guidetogov.org/ca/state/overview/county.html#1
    Possible reasons for the CA Attorney General’s non-involvement:
    * Dereliction of Duty
    * OC’s level of corruption is about average for CA’s 58 counties.
    * Kamala Harris is fair minded; she is not going to use the power of the State’s Attorney General to go on a ‘fishing trip’.
    *Kamala Harris has determined that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute, yet alone to get a conviction, – so she is not going to waste the taxpayer’s money.
    So why are the Feds involved when the State Attorney General is not?
    P.S.
    OC Supervisor John Moorlach warned about OC Treasurer Robert Citron’s high risk “investments.”

  13. John Ehrlichman
    July 28, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    @Ltpar-The Great Park was a fraud from day one to deflect an airport. That’s the part that insults the intelligence. 750 million spent-550 million for SNA improvements and 200 million pissed away on the Great Park. You do remember the 550 million wasted on a land-locked airport? Do you? We added gate space to an airport with a single 5700 foot runway and no room for a significant cargo operation. Yes, you do have more food court choices and at the end of the day that’s really all the good people of OC want anyway. No change to the status quo. Yes, Shea, Lalloway and Choi deserve a pass. I was hard on them. Agran has been very much like the Colonel Kurtz character from Apocalypse Now in his handling of the Great Park. I won’t hold my breath to see who emerges as the Captain Willard. Shea has my vote on that one. However, an airport was the best use of the land and everbody who took the NIMBY approach is culpable in some way, shape or form. Your memory has failed, don’t forget that it was never about a Great Park-it was about “no airport.”

  14. John Ehrlichman
    July 28, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    @Robert Lauten-I forget, what was the Board of Supervisor’s problem with Bill Popejoy?

  15. John Ehrlichman
    July 28, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    @Robert Lauten-The California Supreme Court doesn’t necessarliy see it that way, at least on a municipal level. Look at their marijuana dispensary ruling. A city can evict a dispensary that is operating within state law soley based on the notion that the “land use” contravenes federal law. It doesn’t matter that the State Legislature has taken a state’s rights position on the issue in SB420 that has not been challenged by the federal goverment? Would the municipality be subordinate to the legislature on this issue? You are simply speculating on Kamala Harris’ inaction. If you accept shit from your leaders, that is all they will give you. I guess that’s my point.

  16. junior
    July 29, 2013 at 6:32 am

    “The Feds Come Knocking on OC Supervisors Doors”

    uhh .. actually ….. no – they haven’t.

  17. Ltpar
    July 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    John, clearly you must live in Newport Beach and are part of the Pro-Airport group who never give up. It is all H2O under the bridge so get over it. I live in Irvine and plead guilty to being one of those pesky NIMBY guys you mentioned. I can truly say, that I do not miss the smell of jet fuel in the air like you find adjacent to LAX. While I fault Larry Agran for many things, he gets a gold star for his actions in stopping the Airport. With the new Council majority in place, I am confident we will see the Park move forward in the coming years. If not, that’s OK too, because those planes will not be flying over my house.

  18. Sundance98
    August 10, 2013 at 8:25 am

    A Consent Decree is issued way after wrong doing has been established. The Feds have limited resources and unless there is some “Whistle Blowers” out there willing to turn states evidence….we doubt they would be nosing around. Between Investment Banking and Real Estate issues….there is plenty to look at carefully. Whether or not someone get indicted or there is total absolution….only time will tell.

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