July 31 Santa Ana House Flipping Event Not Sanctioned by City of Santa Ana


The official seal of the city of Santa Ana and images of elected/appointed officials in a flyer being used to promote a July 31st event at the Orange County Register designed to help people learn how to flip homes (from 10 to 40 a year?!) has not been sanctioned by the city of Santa Ana and is a violation of the city’s logo use policy.  And it’s a policy that should be well known to Santa Ana Planning Commissioner Sean Mill, who is sponsoring the event along with Charles Armino of First American Title.  Mill, a longtime title industry professional, works for WFG (World Financial Group).  A photo promoting the event features Council member Roman Reyna, State Senator Lou Correa, and City Manager David Cavazos as well as the official seal of the City of Santa Ana.

Mill and Santa Ana business owner Mike Tardiff got into a Facebook battle over this flyer Tuesday morning and Mill wound up pulling the item after Tardiff pointed out he likely didn’t have permission to use the city’s seal.  The City Manager’s office confirmed Mill wasn’t given permission to use the city’s seal to promote the event and the PIO would be contacting Mill to take the seal/logo down and she was going to review the city’s seal/logo usage policy with him.  Given Mill’s long tenure with the city government in the Planning Commission, you’d think he’d already know whether or not a third party needed permission to use the logo.  Mill attributes one flyer’s creation to Ruben Mota, one of the speakers at the event from Partners for Santa Ana; the flyer created by Mill and Armino also uses the city logo and Mill states that proceeds from the event are being donated to an unnamed local charity.

Mill writes: “When the city asks that the logo be removed we will….This event promotes positivity in our community and benefits people who live here. Why anyone would oppose that is a mystery to me.”

Actually, it’s not much of a mystery.  See the event for what it is; a seminar on flipping houses where the RSVPs are being taken by two men who work for a title company. I wonder which title company would get the business generated from these new home sales under the auspices of a seminar that seems to have the blessing of the City of Santa Ana via the unauthorized use of the city’s logo.  Will First American and WFG have brochures and the business cards of the two sponsors available?  And what if the property flipping is something of a commercial nature that must come before the Santa Ana Planning Commission? Then what?

Tardiff’s comment, captured in a screen grab but not published due to Mill’s removal of the post, sums it up best:  “This is wrong Sean Mill.  You are promoting yourself in this ad.  The City should have no part of that without their permission.”

  7 comments for “July 31 Santa Ana House Flipping Event Not Sanctioned by City of Santa Ana

  1. Mike Tardif
    July 29, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Sal Tinajero and Art Pedroza both “Liked” this event with the SA logo on Sean Mill’s Facebook page – you would think that Sal would know better.

  2. Sean Mill
    July 29, 2014 at 5:01 pm


    This event is the second in a series of events that is helping educate realtors about things happening in Santa Ana. The picture that you are referring to was taken at our first event where City Manager David Cavazos was our featured speaker. Councilman Roman Reyna and Senator Lou Correa showed up to listen to our guest speakers.

    I need to correct you in regards to the Facebook postings. I did not post that on Facebook, nor did I remove it. The post appeared on Ruben Mata’s page and he chose to remove it because he did not appreciate the negative tone of Mr. Tardiff’s comments in regards to such a positive event. The flyer in question was not created by me, Mr. Mata created it to promote the event to his FB friends.

    Let me also correct you in regards to the charity. It is hardly unnamed. We are donating any monies collected at the door and other monies that we received from sponsors to the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Ana. In fact at our July 17th event we were able to donate $500 to them and Mr. Travis Whitten was there to accept it on the clubs behalf.

    As far as the use of the logo goes the City Managers office was given a copy of the flier prior to his speaking and they did not object. This was not an issue until Mr. Tardiff and you made it one. Sad to see folks trying to go after an event that promotes our community in a positive light and donates to local charities.

    You did not address the fact that the actual flyer for the event also promotes DTSA restaurants and the Farmers Market. We are also working the restaurant association president Jeff Hall in an attempt to promote city restaurants to the folks that sell homes in our community.

    I spoke with folks at city hall this afternoon and they were clear that the use of the city logo was in no way a violation of the city code of ethics. They asked that we no longer use the logo go forward for the events that help promote the community.

    Thanks for you concern about Santa Ana…Feel free to join us in donating to the local Boys and Girls Club of Santa Ana. I know the appreciate what we are doing for them and will happily accept anything you can donate.

    • Dan Chmielewski
      July 30, 2014 at 8:49 am

      Sean —
      “This event is the second in a series of events that is helping educate realtors about things happening in Santa Ana. The picture that you are referring to was taken at our first event where City Manager David Cavazos was our featured speaker. Councilman Roman Reyna and Senator Lou Correa showed up to listen to our guest speakers.”

      The event is the second in a series of business development seminars put on by you and an associate in the title business to steer realtors in Santa Ana to your respective businesses. And if they have, should you be disclosing these business interactions on your Planning Commission disclosure forms which don’t list your employment — odd that a title company you work for has no business in Santa Ana at all? I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you if you believe for a moment that the seminar is about educating realtors.

      As far as your postings to Facebook, perhaps I should be more clear; I was referring to your interactions with Mike Tardiff. At no point did I say you posted the flyer, but will correct that you removed it even though that isn’t what the screen grab looks like.

      Additionally, in your interactions with Tardiff, you did not list the charity. Tell me Sean, was the DTSA restaurants and Farmer’s Market get free ads or did you shake them down?

      $500 is all you were able to collect? SMH…

      When I spoke with the city manager’s office, no one was aware of the flyer but noted it was a clear violation of the use of the city’s seal to promote a private event. You’re years of experience at City Hall, clever use of city and elected officials, and unauthorized use of the city seal are deceptive to realtors who might believe its a city-sponsored event instead of a business development tool to use your city connections to enrich your business. The event doesn’t promote the community…it promotes your title company and that of your partner. There’s already an organization that promotes DTSA and that’s Downtown, Inc. Nice try but this sounds like catbird seat crap.

      Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana is certainly a worthwhile charity. I’m sure they appreciated your personal donation. My charity of choice these days is the Irvine Public Schools Foundation.

  3. Sherree
    July 29, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Remember the infamous Sunbeam endorsement by the American Medical Association in the late ’90s–a case study often cited in PR books? The potential product endorsement deal cost the 160-plus-year-old association its reputation and $10 million. There’s a reason nonprofits, associations and government agencies restrict use of their name and logo to non-profit-making organizations that further their mission. It’s called reputation management.

  4. Sherree
    July 30, 2014 at 9:23 am

    My local pizza parlor sponsors little league teams and charities. Most local businesses do. That doesn’t mean they’re government-sponsored charities.

  5. MikeM128
    August 1, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    This makes you long for the days of the Orange Juice to watch these same people make up stories about each other. Nothing like some hate to keep us entertained.

    • August 1, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Exactly Mike, I’m still waiting for someone to send Sean Mill a photo of me from a Halloween where I alledgely dressed as a pedophile priest; Sean offered a cash reward. I never got an answer to m question of “how much: because I’d have one taken and donate the proceeds to charuity. Sean was kind enough to suggest such a photo existed without proof of it, but it was complete fiction.

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