Sean H. Mill can go back to blogging as he is no longer a Santa Ana Planning Commissioner. Mill resigned last week after he learned of an investigation into his residency that proved he doesn’t live in the city and moved to Riverside into his wife’s home. The investigation was driven by TheLiberalOC and concerned citizens in Santa Ana.
The Voice of OC has the story here. Some highlights from the story:
Sean H. Mill, a longtime player in Santa Ana politics, abruptly resigned from the city Planning Commission last week, after he was caught living 24 miles outside city limits.
It all came to a head last Tuesday evening, when Mill’s wife discovered a private investigator outside her home in Riverside. She confronted the investigator, who reportedly revealed that he was looking into Mill’s residency and didn’t believe that Mill lived in Santa Ana.
Mill resigned from the commission the next morning, saying he no longer lived in the city.
“I will be stepping down from the Planning Commission effective immediately. I was planning to do so prior to the meeting Monday night but have decided to do so now,” Mill wrote in his 7:55 a.m. email to the city clerk.
“While I will continue to have some residence in Santa Ana, in order to be more actively involved in my 16-year-old [step-daughter’s] activities I have relocated my primary place of residence outside the city limits.”
Mill married a Riverside woman over a year ago, though he says his primary residence was in Santa Ana until about 2-1/2 weeks before he resigned.
In an interview, Mill said he promised his wife that he would start living “full time” with her around the time of their one-year anniversary, June 20. Mill said that’s what he ended up doing, and that he was planning on stepping down around the time of the following commission meeting, on July 11.
The fact is Mr. Mill was hoping to be appointment Planning Commission chair at the July 11 meeting and had made several efforts to lobby other members for votes. So why lobby for the top job only to step down?
According to documents filed by an OC-based Private Investigator, Mill’s not truthful about his residence. Mill resigned July 6, meaning he was a resident of Santa Ana through mid-June. During that time, he participated in one Planning Commission meeting he was not eligible for and likely received a meeting stipend and car allowance. The problem with Mill’s timeline is the investigation this blog participated in began in early May and was concluded through the end of May. It is our belief Mr. Mill hasn’t been a fulltime resident of the city since his marriage in July 2015.
Back to the VOC story:
Allegations that he had been living outside Santa Ana before approximately June 20 are “just not true,” Mill said. “I mean, is there [occasions] where I [spent] time in Riverside? I mean, I split time….[but] every piece of mail that I get is in Santa Ana. Everything I have is in Santa Ana. All of my money gets sent to Santa Ana,” he said.
Mill’s Santa Ana address — for years — has been his mother’s house on Starboard. The PI staked out the house for weeks with no signs Mill was there in May. Neighbors haven’t seen him around. There are no utility bills that arrive to this address in Mill’s name. The PI concluded Mill’s mother lives there alone. Conversely, Mill’s car is regularly parked at his new Riverside County residence where at least two utility bills arrive to the Riverside County address in Mill’s name.
Back to Nick Gerda’s story:
Councilman Sal Tinajero, who appointed Mill to the commission, said he appreciates Mill’s service and that he leaves big shoes to fill.
“I believe it’s a loss to our Planning Commission because he’s been around for such a long time and has this institutional memory that he brings along with him,” Tinajero said.
There’s been a “a history of political disaccord” between Mill and his accusers, Tinajero added, making it important for there to be documentation backing up claims of wrongdoing.
“Sean Mill works here in Santa Ana, so I find it hard to believe that he was making the long trek to and from [Riverside],” Tinajero said.
Documentation? We have documentation and shared it last week with the city manager and city attorney’s office for review and investigation. It appears they are accepting Mill’s explanation of the dates of his move without questioning the facts in the PI’s report and Mill’s statements. Here’s an easy one to ponder. Mill’s wife caught the PI taking photos of Mill’s car and the house a week ago Tuesday (July 5); the PI identified himself and explained why he was there. Mill’s wife told the PI “my husband lives in Santa Ana.” Per Mill, he moved to Riverside in mid-June. Doesn’t Mrs. Mill know where her husband lives?
Since the city of Santa Ana is not interested in investing the time to follow up on credible evidence of Mill’s residency, we invite any organization with business before the Planning Commission directly affected by Mr. Mill’s votes to contact us for a copy of the PI’s report for use as possible litigation against the city. This case is a prime example of why the city’s Ethics Ordinance has no teeth at all.
It’s my understanding Thomas Gordon will be chiming in on this story for OC Political and the Register is also working on it’s own story where Mr. Mill accuses me of sending a package to his house to which I say “what package?” and “which house?” I haven’t sent anything, but surely Mr. Mill would have evidence to make such an accusation?
The story isn’t over. A copy of the PI’s report has been shared with the OC DA’s office for possible investigation. A copy is being sent to the Registrar of Voters to ascertain if Mr. Mill voted in the June 7 primary from the Santa Ana address while not being a resident of Orange County and we’ll be sending a copy of the report to the Secretary of State’s Election Fraud Investigation Unit.
There are enormous benefits to getting married and we wish Mr. & Mr. Mill a lifetime of happiness. But anyone who’s every been married knows a good marriage requires compromise. Mr. Mill’s step-daughter is in high school and once a kid starts high school, keeping them in that school is encouraged. So Mill’s decision to move to Riverside is in the family’s best interests. However, with compromise sometimes comes a surrender…giving up some things you used to do. And for Sean Mill, one of the things he should have given up was his seat on the Planning Commission.