What is Craig Reem Hiding at the Great Park?

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Shhh! I'm hiding great park secrets.
Crooks and con artists tend to erect ridiculous hurdles for journalists.

For example, Mike Carona--our ex-sheriff-turned-convicted-felon--liked to grant interviews to journalists he knew would toss him only softball questions.

For other reporters (like me), there were non-negotiable interview prerequisites:

--Provide all questions in advance;
--Use no recording devices;
--Meet at an off-site location (to keep staff in the dark about the interview);
and
--Don't take written notes of his answers.

I recalled that bizarre situation this week after reading David Whiting's OC Register column about his efforts to interview Great Park CEO Michael Ellzey.

According to Whiting, Great Park PR flack Craig Reem said he couldn't interview Ellzey until he'd:

--attend a concert at the park;
--sit through a board meeting;
--ride the PR balloon.

"Short of that, you've done little to prepare for a sit down with Mike," Reem wrote to Whiting.

Reem also mentioned that all questions must be submitted in advance.

Would jumping through those hoops guarantee an interview?

No, Reem told Whiting.

(Reem can't claim ignorance of his rudeness. He played a journalist earlier in his career.)

It's telling that government officials administering a proposed public park laughably act as if they're protecting national security.

But we all know the reason for Reem's secrecy isn't noble. It's about hiding the corruption and incompetence of an operation prone to no-bid contracts, wild spending, cynical public relations and financial shell games that have resulted in great wealth for friends of park chairman Larry Agran, who controls Irvine's city council with a 3-2 majority.

In this park game, Reem and Ellzey are obedient pawns to Agran, arguably the most devious Orange County politician since Richard Milhous Nixon.

(By the way, Reem's near $195,000 annual compensation package is larger than what veteran OC prosecutors make performing much more valuable public service.)

Please read Whiting's column HERE.

--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly 


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