The Daily Pilot reported on the State Joint Audit Committee’s vote to audit the city of Irvine’s Investigation of the Great Park, ignoring pleas from the entire OC Republican state assembly and state senate delegation to do so. So much for the Republicans being champions of transparency.
Predictably, Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Lalloway, a candidate for Council last fall while also co-managing the investigation with Christina Shea (arguably Larry Agran’s most vocal political critic), cried “politics.” Lalloway chirped: “It’s my name they’re dragging through the mud here,” Lalloway said. “Former (Irvine) Mayor Sukhee Kang, a Democrat, is now running for state Senate, and he does not come off well in the audit report. I think Democrats at the state level are working together to minimize the damage to his campaign.”
There is no organized effort by elected statewide Democrats to promote former Irvine Mayor Kang’s state senate candidacy. Kang certainly doesn’t come off all that bad in the city’s audit report from what I’ve read. It must be the voices in Mr. Lalloway’s head telling him this.
But for Lalloway to complain about mudsling is rich irony. This is a guy who accused Larry Agran is being a racist because of a letter published in the Irvine Community News & Views that said Chinese foreigners were buying Irvine homes (I now have two neighbors from China and need an English to Chinese translation app for my phone to chat with my very nice neighbors — both of whom paid cash for their new homes). That mudslinging made its way into a IE flier distributed at a candidate’s debate at Irvine’s Chinese Cultural Center. The very idea of Agran as a racist is as laughable as saying Christina Shea is tolerant. Is this the same Lalloway who has no trouble dragging Democrats through the mud on a regular basis while trying to impose a hardcore right wing agenda on what has been OC’s most progressive city?
Cry me a river.
I’d like to point out when the new GOP council majority put forth a Forensic Audit for a vote in 2013, even Krom and Agran voted for it because every contract went through a public process. Lalloway and Shea run a secretive investigation with hired guns that used a taxpayer funded investigation for political purposes and the state decides to look into it and they cry politics and try everything they can to kill it?
The OC Register had an interesting editorial about this on Sunday. The Register wrote: The Democratic-controlled Legislature was nowhere in evidence while $200 million in development funds was spent, as the Register recently noted, to complete less than one-sixth of the project to convert the closed El Toro Marine Corps air base into a huge regional park. Neither was the Legislature’s interest piqued by Great Park audits conducted during the years of Democratic control, which found nothing amiss.
Likewise, I’ll ask where was the Register in correcting reporting on charges that $38 million was missing from the Great Park budget? Where was the Register in correcting it cost $12,000 to change a single word in a report when that was false? Where was the Register in reporting that HSNO had completely withdrawn its error-filled preliminary report that did so much political damage to Democrats? Where was the Register in reporting the obvious conflict of interest in a city council led investigation of one of its members by a November 2014 political opponent who co-led the investigation?
The only story that did was from the Voice of OC last May. Did anyone see a story like this from the Register?
Adam Elmarek wrote:
Early last year, auditor Christopher Money presented an audit of the Great Park’s contracts to the Irvine City Council that suggested gross mismanagement of Orange County’s most notorious public works project.
His two-hour narrative included $12,000 spent to change just one word in a groundwater report; a politically connected consultant not being vetted; duplicate billings and project studies performed twice for no apparent reason.
The story left most observers in the room reeling, and the headlines next morning were sensational. But lost amidst the ongoing controversy – and the release of more audit reports – was the fact that some of the most damning findings were either false or baseless.
In fact, the forensic accounting firm that conduced the audit – Newport Beach-based Hagen, Streiff, Newton & Oshiro Accountants – officially withdrew or replaced those findings, which they have since emphasized were only “preliminary.”
There was no $12,000 contract change order to alter a single word; the consultant wasn’t paid twice to produce two versions of the same feasibility studies; the consultant was actually vetted; and the finding about duplicate billings was ultimately deemed “inconclusive.”
But the damage was done. The owner of San Diego-based Gafcon, one of the consultants and primary targets of the audit, told a state legislative committee that the firm hasn’t been able to attract any new business since the erroneous conclusions were reported.
So when Lalloway complains about his name being dragged through the mud, part of it has to be because he’s had so much experience doing that to others.