OCCORD Attorney Calls for Attorney General and OCDA to Investigate Anaheim Council members

Anaheim Garden WalkA prominent California attorney has alleged that members of the Anaheim City Council violated state law when they voted on behalf of a $158 million hotel subsidy, after accepting contributions from a PAC tied to the project’s developer. Attorney Cory Briggs urged California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas to prosecute the council members in a letter sent Thursday. Briggs’ request for prosecution was made on the behalf of a community organization, Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development, and a private Anaheim resident named in the letter.

The letter alleges that Anaheim City Council members Lucille Kring and Jordan Brandman had an illegal conflict of interest when they voted for the Garden Walk Hotel subsidy in May, within months of accepting donations from the political action committee formed by Support Our Anaheim Resort (SOAR.) Hotelier Bill O’Connell, who benefited from that subsidy, sits on the SOAR Advisory Committee. The letter also names council members Gail Eastman and Kris Murray, who voted in favor of the subsidy and are SOAR Advisory Committee members. Eastman and Murray did not disclose their business relationships with SOAR and O’Connell at the time of the vote, as required by law.

The request for prosecution issued by Briggs is a required legal step before the filing of a private lawsuit. A potential filing would result in another in a recent series of lawsuits faced by the city council on behalf of residents. Last month, a judge ordered a trial in a case brought by the ACLU on behalf of Anaheim voters, alleging that the city’s election system violates the California Equal Voting Rights Act.

The Garden walk subsidy caused controversy, even before the allegations made last week. The subsidy was first passed in January 2012, but that vote was voided after a Superior Court Judge ruled that it violated the Brown Act, California’s open government law, because the public did not receive proper notice.

  4 comments for “OCCORD Attorney Calls for Attorney General and OCDA to Investigate Anaheim Council members

  1. junior
    August 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Poppycock – the law that Briggs alluded to – get that? – alluded to – he didn’t even cite a law in the letter. That “alluded to” law concerns “land use” decisions – nothing to do with what transpired at city counsel in this matter. Some “prominent” attorney – more like a joke attorney. That “case” is going nowhere.

  2. Thomas Anthony Gordon
    August 14, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Sal Tinajero illegally took $2,500 from Voit Commercial a few weeks before he voted to pay Voit up to $22,350 in real-estate brokerage fees for work on the Station District housing project.

    City law says council members cannot participate in any vote that would have a “material financial effect” on a campaign contributor who gave $250 or more in the previous 12 months.

    Sal Tinajero also voted to sell many city-owned lots to private developers for $3. He also voted to give the developers more than $17 million taxpayer dollars.

    Sal Tinajero subsequently returned the illegal contributions while admitting wrong doing.

    California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas should immediately investigate & if warranted prosecute these egregious violations of the law.

  3. August 14, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Well, since it is well established by statute and case law that campaign contributions cannot create a conflict-of-interest, this is a guaranteed turkey of a lawsuit.

    OCCORD’s really throwing some sharp elbows here by claiming — without a shred of evidence produced, mind you — that four members of the Anaheim City Council have broken the law and is demanding they be prosecuted.

    Muy estupido.

  4. Dan Chmielewski
    August 15, 2013 at 9:25 am

    If I recall, didn’t Sal blame city staff for not setting him straight on what he could or couldn’t vote on based on his contributions? How is city staff supposed to know who gave money to Sal? City staff isn’t an extension of Sal’s campaign staff and he should know better about voting on issues and who gave him money.

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