According to a memo sent to TheLiberalOC, Irvine City Council Member Jeff Lalloway has asked that privileged documents from the city’s lawyers be made public. Lalloway requested that the city attorney release documents featuring their opinions on whether or not Council Member Christina Shea violated any state laws in regards to her consulting activities on behalf of KIA Motors which are the subject on an ongoing Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) Investigation. Lalloway has asked that the matter for waiving privilege be agendized for the May 24 City Council meeting.
From the memo, dated May 17, 2016:
Responses to a reporter’s Public Records Act request late last year revealed that in mid-2015 Councilwoman Shea, while acting as a paid lobbyist of Kia Motors, contacted City staff concerning Kia’s pursuit of building permits associated with building improvements at Kia Motors America Headquarters. The documents produced suggest that Councilwoman Shea may have used her position as an elected member of the Irvine City Council to expedite the processing of applicable building permits. Specifically, in a May 13, 2016 text to the Acting Community Development Director, Councilwoman Shea asks, “Can you check to insure these get thru as soon as possible?”
Councilwoman Shea has since made numerous comments that the City Attorney’s Office has assured her that she violated no State laws when she lobbied on behalf of her employer that, according to her own most recent disclosure statement, pays her up to $100,000 annually.
Indeed, in the comment section of a January 14, 2016 post on the blog LiberalOC.com, Councilmember Shea wrote, “It’s amazing I am attacked for working hard and following all the rules, laws and policies of the City. City Attorney review substantiated this statement, I have not violated Andy laws or ethics policies or rules [sic].”
Further, on the online news service, VoiceofOC.org, on May 11, 2016 Councilmember Shea commented, “I am not a lobbyist and our City Attorney has opined, on that fact, in writing, and has opined verbally that I have not violated any State laws.”
Please place on the May 24, 2016 City Council agenda my request that the City Council consider releasing the legal opinion(s) to which Councilwoman Shea refers when she claims that the City Attorney’s office opined that she did not violate any State laws when she repeatedly contacted City staff to advocate for the interests of her employer, Kia Motors.
The battle between Shea and Lalloway has been escalating in social media over the past several weeks, on Facebook and in the comments sections of Orange County blogs including this one, the Orange Juice Blog and the Voice of OC. Shea has taunted Lalloway in comments about waiving privilege in regards to the audit of the audit of the Great Park, as she did in this comment left on the OJ Blog last week:
In January, TheLiberalOC filed a complaint with the FPPC against Shea based on a story that ran in the Voice of OC in December that suggested Shea had several ethical issues concerning her contacting city staff to accelerate requests for her client, Kia Motors, with the city of Irvine. While requests were made from Shea’s business email address, staff basically said “how high?” to Shea’s request to “jump.” The complaint filed by this blog included emails from Shea secured via public records requests from the City and these messages were attached as “evidence” in the FPPC complaint. My only regret in filing this complaint was using Voice of OC reporter Adam Elmarek as a “witness.” Adam’s reporting means he saw the same documents I did but the VOC is more about covering news than making it. The investigation is still ongoing.
Ms. Shea continues to insist the complaint was somehow orchestrated by Lalloway; it wasn’t. Here are her comments on the Voice of OC; I’ve bolded some lines for emphasis:
The reference to Ms. Shea’s granddaughter, whom she is raising, has nothing to do with the girl herself but Shea staffers who appear to be babysitting the girl when she attends City Council meetings. babysitting done on the taxpayer’s dollar. As a parent myself, there is no way I’d allow a 4th grader to sit by themselves while I was busy participating in a public meeting. This goes to the issue of Shea using city staff for free babysitting services, which a number of city council regulars have noted to me over the past several months. if the girl isn’t being “babysat,” I question Shea’s judgment as a (grand)parent to let the girl sit by herself.
I also so enjoy being accused of filing a “sloppily written complaint” by the Queen of Fractured Syntax and Bad Grammar. Punctuation is clearly not Ms. Shea’s friend. And yet, my “sloppily written” complaint was good enough for the OC Register to use for their story on the FPPC investigation of Shea: “She has made requests of city staff for expedited services on behalf of her client through her business email address claiming to help a constituent when she is really providing client services for which KIA pays her,” wrote resident Dan Chmielewski in a January complaint to the FPPC.
Now that Lalloway has launched this effort to release privileged documents, expect Shea to counter by requesting a release of privileged documents related to the audit of the Great Park audit. I’m personally enjoying watching these two go at it.