Larry Agran is Stealing Another Election in Republican-Heavy Irvine

Larry Agran Irvine cheating ocw1.jpg
Meranda Carter / OC Weekly
Larry Agran
Documents obtained by the Weekly prove Larry Agran's liberal, Democrat political machine, the one that has ruled over Republican-heavy Irvine for 12 consecutive years, already secretly stole next month's election so it can keep power for at least two more years.

The documents--a series of emails spanning a recent two-month period--outline how a Republican Agran ally and corporate lobbyist lured a decoy Republican candidate into the mayoral race to siphon critical votes away from legitimate Republican contender Steve Choi, a move that assures Agran of winning the Nov. 6 election.

A Republican businesswoman, Katherine Daigle's political claim to fame is that she won a slot on her neighborhood association board. Earlier this year, she announced she would seek a seat on the Irvine City Council. The odds of her grabbing public office weren't great, but they also weren't impossible. She was one of seven candidates vying for potentially three open council seats.

In early August, on the last day to officially declare candidacy, Daigle abruptly switched to the Choi-Agran race, a contest she has no chance of winning--or even grabbing second place. In addition to enjoying the get-out-the-vote resources of their respective parties, both men are political veterans who'll each spend significantly more than $200,000. Daigle's campaign, on the other hand, has received on average less than $16 per day for a contribution grand total of just $825. The one undeniable impact of her move to the mayor's race is to cripple Choi by robbing him of thousands of votes he needs to win.

Thumbnail image for Larry Agran Katherine Daigle forum ocw.jpg
Meranda Carter / OC Weekly
Agran and Daigle enjoying themselves at Probolsky's rigged Oct. 10 forum.

The tactic isn't new to Irvine. In 2004, Agran wanted Beth Krom, a robotically loyal member of his machine, to capture the mayor's office over Republican Mike Ward, a distinguished conservative activist. The sly Democrat quietly employed Earle Zucht, an unknown character without any prior political activity in Irvine, to run for the city's top job as a Republican. He even ordered his Democrat allies to pay for Zucht's campaign mail.

As a result, instead of comfortably winning the election, Ward lost to Krom by 2,004 because Zucht's fake candidacy fooled nearly 5,000 voters. His mission accomplished, Zucht quickly disappeared.

Daigle adamantly denies she's the 2012 version of Zucht. To help bolster her alleged innocence, she has been telling people she never met Agran before announcing her mayoral candidacy. It's probably a true statement. But it's also misleading.

What Daigle has kept secret from the voters is that she switched races after intense, secret meetings with Starpointe Venture's Patrick B. Strader, a longtime Agran ally and campaign contributor who is a paid Republican lobbyist for FivePoint Communities, the real-estate developer seeking government entitlements to build a massive residential/commercial project around the proposed $1.6 billion Orange County Great Park, the most expensive public endeavor in the city's history. In July, Agran and his allies, Krom and Sukhee Kang, overruled city staff and Republican council member objections to prematurely issue an environmental-impact report favorable to the real-estate firm. In the aftermath, Emile Haddad, the man running FivePoint, has made no secret that he wants the Agran machine to remain in power. "Katherine hadn't once thought about running for mayor until she met Patrick," a source who knows both individuals told me.

At 10:26 a.m. on July 24, Daigle sent an email to Strader, who Agran appointed to the powerful Irvine Community Land Trust in 2006. "Good morning, Patrick," it read. "Thank you for your call."

Thirty minutes later, Strader replied that he wanted to "chat with you guys"--Daigle and Roger Lee, a veteran Washington, D.C.-based liberal consultant who worked for the Clinton-Gore campaigns, as well as the Democratic National Committee, pro-choice Emily's List, NAACP, AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union and the United Auto Workers.

At 10:08 p.m., Daigle told Strader in an email, "I enjoyed our discussion this morning. I am looking forward to seeing you again."

Three days later, on July 27, Daigle told him, "I appreciate you wanting to get involved. I am looking forward to working with you."

Strader replied, "It was my pleasure."

On Aug. 7, he emailed her again. "I had a nice conversation [with a consultant] and am waiting to see something in my email. In the meantime, I have some checks. Do you have a campaign account open yet? Can you send me the information? I will call to discuss something else tomorrow as well."

On Aug. 8, Daigle told a campaign staffer via email that Strader was writing her statement of candidacy with the aid of Marc O'Hara, a liberal strategist who insists that his "firm is as non-partisan as it gets," but has worked with Michael Dukakis' 1988 Democratic presidential campaign; the California Democratic Party; Montana Democratic Party, Colorado Democratic Party, Senator John Kerry (D-Massachussetts); the United Domestic Workers union; and former California State Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, a San Francisco Democrat.

O'Hara emailed his draft of the candidacy statement to Strader, who replied, "Really good. What about referencing her work with the seniors of Irvine?"

The Agran ally then asked O'Hara, "What ballot title are you going to use [for Daigle]?"

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39 comments
OCworkingMoms
OCworkingMoms

@RScottMoxley Please RT tweets 4 CHOI, SHEA, SCHOTT see #Irvine and #IrvineElection THANKS FOR SUPPORTING TEAM IRVINE!

SMontessories
SMontessories

@RScottMoxley Agran made decisions 2 spend $200M on GP & spend down $80M of #Irvine Surplus Fund but refused 2 spend $1.5 M on our schools

OCWeekly
OCWeekly

@OCworkingMoms Gracias for rt!

OCWeekly
OCWeekly

@gonatly Gracias for rt!

GregDiamond
GregDiamond

The first thing I did when I read this was search to see what Moxley had written about the more egregious and potentially consequential 2010 recruitment of Cecilia Iglesias to run against Loretta Sanchez in the then-47th Congressional District.  While he mentioned her in two stories, this is pretty much the extent of his acid attack on her:

 

"Frank Barbaro is an "arrogant buffoon," according to activist Duane Roberts. Why? Barbaro, head of the local Democratic Party, has alleged that independent congressional candidate Ceci Iglesias is a Republican plant to split the Hispanic vote with Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez in a scheme to elect Republican Van Tran. Roberts fumes over the assertion. Okay, but I still find it odd that Iglesias quit her job in this economic environment and poured tens of thousands of dollars into a race she has zero chance of winning. Perhaps the IRS should keep an eye on Ceci's bank account to see what sources of income she has in the future. I'm just saying . . ."

 

(Arellano contributed to discussion of this election that he voted for Mad Magazine mascot, Alfred E. Neuman, not bothering to add "because I am above it all.")

 

Moxley's other story on Ceci Iglesias in that race (when KOCE kept her out of the Sanchez-Tran debate, apparently on the grounds of "are you kidding me?")  noted Barbaro's allegation but also gave then-OJB owner Art Pedroza space to deny that she was a plant and rally people to her cause.  (If I recall correctly, Pedroza has since announced that he was her campaign advisor.)  Moxley, to his credit, showed skepticism and suspicion that she might be getting some payoff from the Trannies -- but if he did any follow-up on that, the OCW's search function can't find a record of his publishing it.

 

So, I suspect that Moxley's "horror!, horror!" at Agran and his people having recruited (if he did so, which looks doubtful) a third party into the race, -- something that is often done in lots of places because we won't reform our voting system -- is AWFULLY SELECTIVE.  But we'll just have to add Steve Choi to Moxley's list of misfit politicians and semi-politicians -- along with Jim Righeimer, Pedroza, and the Fullerton Nexus of Tony Bushala, Travis Kiger, and Chris Norby -- for whom he will work for free.  (More on that last bit soon.)

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young

Good on you Moxley, going after the Dems.  Agram seems like a real slimeball, but it's Irvine. I mean, who the hell would want to control 'Irvine'. The company and the homeowner's associations appear to be all the 'control' needed.

 

Anyhoo, attaboy. And good on your patrón and ad staff for finally selling some OC relevant banner ads, too.

WOODBRIDGEWARRIOR
WOODBRIDGEWARRIOR

Well you knew that the paid "Agranista"  Dan "I wish I lived in Santa Ana, but am glad I don't" Chmeilwinski would chime in before long . But who really cares about tan houses or barking dogs.i

 

There are SERIOUS issues out there, Marvel has a new edition coming out and Dan's family needs to get costumes ready. Hopefully, He'll have  "business meeting" nearby DISNEY, who his wife "covers" .

 

GREAT PORK!

DanChmielewski
DanChmielewski

I was at the forum last night and asked her directly if this was true; she said no. I have to take this candidate at her word. There's this letter posted to her campaign website. Moxley ought to call her. The email exchange between Daigle and Strader is interesting but isn't the smoking gun the Choi slate says it is. Orange County Register - Katherine's Letter to the Editor. IRVINE, Katherine Daigle, candidate for mayor of Irvine: Regarding the letter “Decoy strategy in Irvine” [Aug. 18]: First of all, Larry Agran and I have never met, and he does not have any association with my campaign for mayor of Irvine. My decision to run was inspired by people of our community who think it is time for fresh leadership. While Irvine is currently safe, sound and strong, its employee pension obligations are about to fracture, likely compromising our financial strength. As I am a strong supporter of the Great Park, Mr. Agran and Steven Choi have promised and continually delayed the completion of the Great Park. While nothing of real consequence has happened, causing millions in cost overruns. In their decades of council incumbency, it’s fair to recognize that our politicians have become comfortable with business-as-usual politics. Reforming Irvine’s term-limits law will provide a strong dedicated council with fresh vision and insight. That is my commitment to Irvine residents Link: http://letters.ocregister.com/2012/08/23/voters-to-blame-for-debt-bad-politicians/#more-68597

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

Yet another great reporting and writing job by Mr. Moxley. 

In some ways, Irvine deserves what it will get. 

And hopefully, the same will, someday, ultimately be true for Mr. Agran...

hopefully via an FBI indictment or at least a Joe Paterno-esque legacy. 

dkelly9
dkelly9

Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky Larry!  How much $$$ are you getting from Stradder Haddad Five Point Communities???

 

taxfighter
taxfighter

It is a shame that Agran can't win an honest fight.  He can only win by lying to voters about his record, the NOT SO Great Park and $230 million for an Orange balloon, and lying about Choi's record.  Based on mail so far, I predict that Agran and his various slate committees and PACs will spend around $750k and he will probably only win 2 of the 3 seats available.

 

I understand why Pat Strader would do this deal, he gets paid for success, and obviously his personal ideology (if he has one) takes a bake seat to buying approvals for his project.

 

What I don't understand is why Probolsky is playing along?  What does he get out of it?

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

Hey Scott, very good investigative reporting in this article.  I am sending you an e-mail exchange I had with Kathrine Daigle when she first entered the race.  I specifically asked her if she was an Agran "Stealth Candidate" and she replied "No."  She might make an interesting one on one  interview for a follow up story, now that you have unmask her?  Wonder how she would respond to a criminal investigation for conspiracy to fix an electiion?

 

Now we all know that If Larry Agran were Pinnochio, his nose would be two feet long.  This is the type of person Agran is and the voters can't see through all the B/S he throws out to understand the truth.   The fact is that this story is just the tip of the iceberg in the abuse of power of Larry Agran.  Such is the life for the teflon coated Agranista Political Gang (Agran, Krom & Kang).  

20ftjesus
20ftjesus topcommenter

Count yourself lucky that Choi didn't show.  He drones endlessly. 

 

 

rscottmoxley
rscottmoxley topcommenter

@GregDiamond Gregory A. Diamond is a mostly unemployed lawyer and bitterly partisan Brea Democrat who is angry that I recently exposed his laughably pathetic 29th state senate district campaign. No joke: It relies solely on Diamond writing blog comments everyday! He parachuted into Orange County in 2006 (or 2007; he's given conflicting explanations) after a divorce and a series of job failures elsewhere, and has desperately tried to make a name for himself in OC merely by declaring himself important. He shared his sole political strategy with his fellow activists: Make your enemies "miserable." And he thinks highly of himself, observing, "I know how to bring it and make it hurt." Diamond's MO is to spew lies and carefully crafted half-truths day after day in dozens of blog comments he obsessively writes. Socially inept, he performs these self-assigned tasks with adolescent fervor because he has no clue how to run a real campaign. He told Democrats that he'd work "like hell" to win, but please note the number of inane comments he's left on a news article unrelated to him or his non-existent race against Republican Bob Huff.

GregDiamond
GregDiamond

 @Mitchell_Young Of course you'd think that Agran was a slimeball -- you just read a one-sided report slamming him for an email exchange by two people unassociated without apparently even contacting him for comment.

 

Slamming Democrats is what Moxley mostly does now.  Yes, he hates Ackerman, but he's getting older and there's not that much OC money to be made by slamming Ackerman.  (Do I know that that's his motivation?  No -- but I'm using "Moxley standards" of analysis, so there's no reason to hesitate suggesting it.)

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young

 @WOODBRIDGEWARRIOR I was flipping stations and passed the Cox 'prep game of the week' which featured your Woodbridge Warriors against Aliso Viejo. I was surprised in this day and age that a relatively new HS would choose an Indian mascot (though a generic one). 

subs
subs

 @DanChmielewski --taking Daigle's statement as true does not rule out the conclusion that she is an Agran plant.  If you read the article carefully, which delineates the email chains, it never purports that Daigle and Agran had met prior to her announcement to run.  Thus, the article is consistent with Daigle's statements.  The direct connection goes through Strader, but originates from a vested interested in Agran.  If Daigle herself cannot see that the initial push from Strader was nothing but an effort to use her as a decoy to detract votes from Choi, then her own statements are subjectively true--but it's unfortunate she is wasting her time and efforts in this race on account of her own obliviousness to the situation.  

 

"What Daigle has kept secret from the voters is that she switched races after intense, secret meetings with Starpointe Venture's Patrick B. Strader, a longtime Agran ally and campaign contributor who is a paid Republican lobbyist for FivePoint Communities, the real-estate developer seeking government entitlements to build a massive residential/commercial project around the proposed $1.6 billion Orange County Great Park, the most expensive public endeavor in the city's history."

GregDiamond
GregDiamond

 @JBinOC -- "hopefully via an FBI indictment or at least a Joe Paterno-esque legacy"

 

What the hell are you talking about?  Or are you too stupid to grasp your own implication?

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

 @taxfighter

 Strader, posing as a Republican has been a long time shill for Larry Agran and the Agranistas.  Remember that Larry Agran attempting to maintain deniability, uses thrid party individuals like Strader, Probolsky, Krom and Kang to do his dirty work.  That way if the attempt goes south, it won't be Larry who catches the landslide of brown stuff.  Krom was the front person on the failed attempt to sell out the Irvine Sister City in Tiawan at the demand of Communist China.  It went south and Krom should have fallen on her sword, but instead she blamed it all on a lowly City staffer.  Yep, that Beth Krom, she is a real leader.  In this case, Strader is the front man and it remains to be seen how he handles it.  To stay in good graces with King Larry and keep the Great Park gravy, Strader will have to take the  blame for anything coming from this incident.  Considering the past record of inaction and no investigation by the Orange County District Attorney and the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles, Larry Agran will continue as the "Teflon Man." 

 

On Probolsky, I suspect it is a combination of overblown ego, trying to pretend to be a big shot when he is not?  There could also be that "no bid" consulting he may be doing, or hopes to be doing at the Great Park?  Adam did Larry Agran a tremendous favor in 2010, by engineering and financing the hit mailer sent out on Council Candidate Lynn Schott.  Without the votes that mailer cost Schott, she would have beaten Larry Agran for his Council seat.  As they say, "It's just another day in Paradise."

DanChmielewski
DanChmielewski

 @ltpar

 Pat - your just mad because the City Council wouldn't let you and Greg Smith off the hook for the legal fees in your failed lawsuit against the city on political grounds. My sources at City hall tell you you begged Kang to let the matter drop.  You really wanted Irvine taxpayers to pay for your politically motivated folley? Classic Republican...

GregDiamond
GregDiamond

 @ltpar  You're a smart guy, so don't be a yutz.  Even if everything Moxley said was true, this is not "fixing" an election.  Thanks for the statement from Daigle that corroborates the reporting that there was nothing untoward here.  By the way -- have we fallen so far that just writing up a political hit job handed to one now qualifies as "investigative reporting"?

 

Ltpar: the personal insults, conclusory statements, and claims of wrongdoing without evidence you employ here are very typical of OC Republicans.  You seem like you could be better than that.  (And before Moxley comes in and sputters -- "without evidence" is why I didn't the publish the Norby story until he strained to made it a story about me rather than about Norby.)

GregDiamond
GregDiamond

 @rscottmoxley  It's true that I try (not as a "sole strategy") to make my political enemies miserable.  Sometimes, sadly, the process goes too far and they become psychotic.  Moxley, who is intimately familiar with lying and social ineptitude, has realized that he's pretty much washed up at trying to fill a journalistic niche for the youthful and less bilious, so he is trying to ingratiate himself with libertarian conservatives from Costa Mesa to Fullerton -- especially Fullerton -- in the hope of making connections with a segment of the party that he pretends to disdain.  It's sad, really.

 

It's also sad that I had a substantive comment up there that, due to his need to lie about me until his fee-fees felt better, he (typically for him) chose to ignore.  And its unfortunate for you, Dear Readers, that you have to read both his crap attack and my rejoinder.  Both would have been better off not written at all, and replaced with a substantive answer to that comment there at the top -- but Moxley has to stay within his capabilities, and one way or another that would have exceeded them.

rscottmoxley
rscottmoxley topcommenter

@GregDiamond. Blah, blah, blah. How's your unrelated state senate campaign going, Greg?

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

 @GregDiamond  @JBinOC Greg throwing allegations of stupidity is like an anorexic telling someone they're eating too little.

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

 @DanChmielewski

 Dan, to catch up to Moxley on your reporting, I suggest you get some new sources at City Hall and elsewhere.  After the Judge made the determination in this case I don't recall ever speaking to Sukhee Kang or anyone at City Hall about it.  I dealt with that pitiful excuse of an attorney who represented the issue and he may have negotiated down the amount a little with Maguire, but not the City.  He told me how much to pay, who to write the checks to and I mailed them to him.  End of scenario.  Obviously, you don't know much about me Dan because everything I have was developed on my own and I have never begged for anything in my life.  I wrote that experience off as an expensive lesson in trying to help a friend (Greg Smith), who asked me to lend my name to the lawsuit.  Got burned, spent some money and moved on with my life.

 

PS:  Moxley did such a good job with the "Stealth Candidate" story I am trying to convince him to pick up the Larry Agran housekeeper saga and really blow the lid off you boy Larry.  If he does, you will have to work overtime spinning the facts on that sorry episode?  I might attend the Candidate Forum at the Chinese Center on Sunday, if you are there let's meet and compare notes on how our candidates do?

rscottmoxley
rscottmoxley topcommenter

@GregDiamond @ltpar Gregory A. Diamond on his alleged expertise on journalism? Check! Diamond on OC Weekly? Check! Diamond on Agran? Check! Diamond on LtPar? Check! Diamond on his own nutty conspiracy theory? Check! Diamond on Chris Norby? Check! Diamond on and on about Moxley? Triple check!!! PS--Greg, how's your state senate campaign going against incumbent Bob Huff--you know, the one you promised to fight "like hell" to win?

GregDiamond
GregDiamond

 @rscottmoxley  No, Scott -- on Friday at 11, I was home with my family -- doing some work and then relaxing.  My wife and I had just finished watching "House of Sand and Fog."  Powerful movie.  Then I checked in here -- and there you were.Again: I left a substantive comment way up there, if you're interested in responding to it.  And you're right, I don't know that you are psychotic.  You'd have to see a doctor to confirm it.

OCPunk
OCPunk

 @rscottmoxley  He's probably out in Irvine today telling a bunch of squatters,  I'm sorry I mean the Occupy OC movement, what a great guy he is while "occupying" himself with the writings of an award winning journalist.  Moxley,  your stuff is good and readable.  From what I've read from Diamond,  it's the cure for insomnia.  Attention Greg Diamond.  The tower called, you are clear for landing!

rscottmoxley
rscottmoxley topcommenter

@GregDiamond At 11 on a Friday night, Gregory A. Diamond wasn't thinking about relaxing or his family or his unemployed lawyer status or even his pathetic, non-existent "campaign" for state senate against incumbent Bob Huff. Diamond was instead fretting about attacking me in yet another inane, wishful thinking blog comment. Yes, Greg, please continue to argue that I am the psychotic one.

GregDiamond
GregDiamond

 @rscottmoxley  I've accomplished a great deal with the campaign, thanks for asking.  I'll have to explain it to you after the election.

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

 @rscottmoxley  @GregDiamond Greg, I don't think I'm stupid enough to know that anyone who is defending Agran as passionately as you are should be raising eyebrows.....

rscottmoxley
rscottmoxley topcommenter

@GregDiamond Weeping lunatic prima donna? Oh, Greg! Your juvenile barking hurts. Please, please stop before my feelings are crushed! PS--How's your state senate campaign going against incumbent Bob Huff?

GregDiamond
GregDiamond

Gustavo, I know that as OC Weekly Editor you have to say things like that to defend your weeping lunatic prima donna Moxley, so I don't take it personally.

 

From your comment, I presume that you yourself must be able to explain what the hell JBinOC was getting at with that "Paterno" reference -- but rather than pressing you to explain I'll allow you to keep your remaining dignity.

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

 @DanChmielewski

 I didn't remember the event until you brought it up.  I beleive it was outside campaign event , being held at  some school and it was raining.  Sukhee Kang was walking next to me and offered to share his umbrella. I suppose we were still on speaking terms in those days?  Considering the time passed, I do not recall the specific conservation, but if his memory is better than mine and he says we talked about the pending lawsuit I will agree.  One thing I do know for sure, while we might have talked about the suit and I may have asked him to intercede with Agran (who pulls all the strings), I never begged Kang or anybody else for anything. 

 

You are incorrect on the pay off.  All my dealings were with  the incompetent attorney who had lost the case for us and failed to tell Greg and I a number of things he should have.  Most importantly was the City offered to settle the suit and if we lost, we had to pay the costs.  When the attorney told me to pay, I wrote the checks, mailed them to him and never had contact with either Maguire or the City.  Actually, I never had contact with them at all duing the process until we got to the final decision of the Judge at the court house.  Had I been in the loop and known the things our attorney should have told us, I would have been gone from the law suit like a big wind.  As I said before, it was a learning experience for me, I paid my debt as I do all my debts and moved on.  As a point of reference, I still owe your bud Agran a couple of non-monetary debts which I hope to repay to him one day in the future. 

DanChmielewski
DanChmielewski

 @ltpar

 Pat - while we certainly disagree on a number of things, I've never known you to deliberately lie.  My source is impeccable.  Allow me to refresh your memory...it was a rainy day.  A request made while walking with umbrellas in use.   You are not telling the truth here Ltpar.

 

I'll also point out you and Smith didn't pay up until we wrote about it. 

 

Nice try.

GregDiamond
GregDiamond

 @rscottmoxley  Find the original quote yet, Scott?  I can send you a link -- to your own article.

GregDiamond
GregDiamond

 @rscottmoxley  You should go back and read that "fight like hell" quote, Scott.  You're misquoting it.  I realize that that might not matter to you, being a journalist at all.

OCPunk
OCPunk

 @rscottmoxley    @ltpar  Diamond's Senate campaign?  Silly Moxley, don't you know that his campaign against Huff is "a closely guarded secret"?  Just like the rest of the details about his life.

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