PR Firm's Secrecy Demand For Orange County Great Park Spending Will Go To Court

BethKromLies.jpg
Beth Krom: Government park spending should be secret because we diverted $7.23 million to our political operatives and my council majority would have continued to waste that money if voters hadn't put local Republicans in power in 2012.
Orange County Great Park contractors who suspiciously received more than $7.23 million in taxpayer funds to perform public relations for a non-existent city park and are arguing their records should be shielded from inspection by residents, learned bad news this afternoon.

The Irvine City Council voted to use the legal system to compel Forde & Mollrich--a well-connected, Newport Beach-based PR firm--to comply with terms of their government contract that requires cooperation with audits.

A prior city council majority--Democrats Larry Agran, Beth Krom and Sukhee Kang--outrageously handed Forde & Mollrich a no-bid, no benchmark PR contract that put more than $100,000 a month into the bank account of political operatives Arnold Forde and Stu Mollrich while claiming the city had no money to build the park.

Forde & Mollrich officials insist that records of whatever they did or didn't do on the controversial government project--at one point California largest public works project--should be private.

Proving again that some folks with higher education degrees are morons, Harvey H. Liss--a Ph.D and an Agran city appointee, claimed at the meeting that taxpayers should feel lucky they only paid Forde & Mollrich $100,000 a month.

Councilwoman Christina Shea said she was disappointed that Liss would support government contractors hiding documents from the public.

Agran's most loyal, robotic shill, Krom--as is her way--argued that park spending secrecy was necessary.

The session seemed to unnerve Agran, the city's most dictatorial, professional politician for decades.

But neither Krom nor Agran wanted to record a public vote against the audit, so they joined the majority to press the secrecy issue with a judge in Orange County Superior Court.

For more than a decade, citizens have been demanding a criminal grand jury probe of Agran-Krom-Kang Great Park shenanigans, but Forde is pals with Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, who has adamantly refused to launch any serious probe.

Anthony R. Taylor, the city's independent auditor counsel, told the council this afternoon that he's uncovered discrepancies with records Forde & Mollrich submitted for pay.

Taylor also told the council that the law permits the city to ask for the sheriff's cooperation in forcing the consultants to comply with the contract--cooperation that might include arresting the offenders.

The city gave Ford & Mollrich a 5 p.m. deadline on Monday to surrender the public records, but the firm refused to comply.

Go HERE to see our explanation of the cheating that led to today's historic city council meeting.

And, go HERE to see how Agran and his allies shamelessly used the Great Park concept as a political tool for their re-elections.

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Email: rscottmoxley@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @RScottMoxley.

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15 comments
misslee
misslee

Pisses me off that Tony R. refuses to do anything about it since he's buddy buddy with some of these guys, I knew that mofo was corrupt ever since the Kelly Thomas trial. We need ethical people in charge not these schmucks.

mhip
mhip

I'd like to punch Krom right in the boob...

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

Apparently none of that taxpayer money was diverted towards finding Beth Krom a better hairdresser. 

(Sorry, couldn't resist!)

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

Shoulda built an airport.

20ftjesus
20ftjesus topcommenter

Wait until you see the Choi-Haddad Shit Park.  It's going to be miles of empty soccer fields available for your dog to shit on. 

misslee
misslee

Oh my goodness! Too funny! Lol

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

@20ftjesus You are such a sucker, why don't we get together because I have a bridge for sale in Brooklyn I will give you a great deal on.  It is clear that you haven't been anywhere close to the soccer fields in Irvine lately, because there aren't any empty ones. Same goes with the baseball diamonds, whee there is always a shortage of space.  The Great Park fields will be welcomed by the city sports groups.  

rscottmoxley
rscottmoxley topcommenter

@20ftjesus Yes!  But, 20ftjesus, the property was a dog poop spot for more than 12 years under the Agran-Krom-Kang dictatorship and, after they wasted/diverted $200 million in public funds without building the Great Park, it's still that way today: a poop zone.

20ftjesus
20ftjesus topcommenter

@rscottmoxley  Building a park bigger/better than Balboa Park, Golden Gate Park, etc. takes time and lots of money.

I will agree that the money is wasted now that Choi threw out the plans and handed development over to Haddad.   Hopefully, the mayor renames it to Choi Park so history remembers where to put the blame.

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

@20ftjesus @rscottmoxley What people will recall is,  Larry Agran and the gang ran the greatest scam in the history of Orange County and never went to jail for it. Wonder why that was?  In case you haven't been following the news, the Council knew that there were parts of their wonderful Park Plan that were unbuildabledue to the expense.  So the land sat there for ten years with nothing accomplished but a tacky orange balloon.  The new Council has gotten the Park on a new direction where something is going to be built.  

rscottmoxley
rscottmoxley topcommenter

@20ftjesus @rscottmoxley It's been pretty clear for more than half a decade that Agran's manipulative sales pitch promising the Irvine park would be bigger/better than Balboa, Golden Gate and Central Park was absurd. It was under his watch and with him in total control for 12 years that nothing meaningful got done on the property while he wasted $200 million in public funds and focused his top priority on winning elections. To now blame Choi, who inherited the mess plus empty park coffers less than two years ago, isn't fair. But given your earlier remark, let's meet in the middle and just call the place: Poop Park. Or, Agran can get his personal pals to give back the diverted $200 million to Irvine residents and we can name it: Agran's Poop Park.

20ftjesus
20ftjesus topcommenter

@rscottmoxley  $50 million (I believe) was for the original set of plans (and they were glorious).  It was the one thing that was done right.  Where the other $150 million went, fuck if I know.  

Choi should have pressed Haddad for way way more.  Instead, Haddad gets his golf course to increase the selling price of his homes and we the residents of Irvine get a huge water bill.  Thanks Choi!

Shit Park indeed.

rscottmoxley
rscottmoxley topcommenter

@20ftjesus @rscottmoxley $50 million--$50 million!!!!--in wasted local government funds for a "design concept" that everybody now knows was an outrageous, unworkable farce that, sure, looked pretty on paper. But, bottom-line: Agran gets no credit for orchestrating a preposterous idea that never had a chance, especially with him, Beth Krom and Sukhee Kang--three egotistical politicians who knew/know zero about building anything. Now, if Choi has made mistakes in the wake of Agran, he has to own them too. But Agran's control of the proposed Great Park has been one of the biggest, more corrupt government operations in Southern California history. It sickens me because the property had/has so much potential and, yet, Agran-Krom-Kang were more interested in funneling critical park money to pals in re-election plots. 

20ftjesus
20ftjesus topcommenter

@rscottmoxley  It was more than concept and had a price tag to match its grandness, but the loss of state development funds killed it.  Hard to say, if the economy hadn't tanked, what would have happened. 

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

@rscottmoxley @20ftjesus This whole thing is just heart breaking. When I was at the park working on site, I just knew something was severely wrong. I could see with my own eyes a few things. But the reality of the true extent is much worse

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