Sam Allevato, a Pal of Dave Ellis and Dianne Harkey, Has a Problem

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Everyone expected the Great Park Audit to snare OC politicos. No one expected San Juan Capistrano’s mayor to be one of them.


The Great Park Audit Update at the most recent Irvine City Council meeting covered familiar ground.  Forde & Mollrich are being difficult.  The auditors found more examples of poor management and improper oversight.  The closeout contract for the Design Studio is problematic, creating a major legal vulnerability for Larry Agran.

There was one new name, however: Sam Allevato. 

Sam has had a colorful public life.  He was an Irvine police officer for 33 years, serving as the public information officer until his retirement in 2002.  He worked for Forde & Mollrich full time on Great Park issues and was elected to the San Juan Capistrano City Council in 2008.

Nominally a Republican, Sam has a history of working with Larry Agran.  I recall him appearing on an 2010 anti-Jeff Lalloway hit mailer. In 2012 he ran for Mayor of San Juan Capistrano with Diane Harkey‘s vigorous support. The OC GOP endorsement should have been a slam dunk, but Irvine’s Allan Bartlett spoke up.  Not only was Sam denied the endorsement, he did not even get a majority of the votes.  Diane Harkey was livid.

Once Sam became mayor, Sam was the subject of a recall effort due to his handling of water issues. Apparently, he’s tight with Dave Ellis.

But what does that have to do with Great Park?

In February of 2008, the San Juan Capistrano City Council voted to give a Redevelopment Authority contract to Yehudi Gaffen‘s Gafcon. Sam did not recuse himself, even though at the time Sam was a full-time employee for Forde & Mollrich.  Forde & Mollrich, in turn, was a sub-contractor to the Great Park Design Studio, which was owned by Yehudi Gaffen and run by Gafcon — an obvious conflict of interest. [1]

This previously-undisclosed conflict is presumably of interest to the fine citizens of San Juan Capistrano. More immediately, the Great Park sub-consultant contract clearly prohibits such conflicts, which the auditors made a special point of highlighting.  I predict Sam will be joining Larry Agran, Yehudi Gaffen, and Brendan McDevitt in spending many unhappy hours with lawyers in the coming year.

While we wait for Sam’s deposition to appear on the City Of Irvine web site, let’s share our favorite stories about Sam Allevato, Diane Harkey, and Dave Ellis.  Isn’t funny how the same names keep popping up ?


[1] Anthony Taylor  of Aleshire & Wynder lays out the case starting at 1:57:55.



About Tyler in Irvine

Twenty Year Irvine Resident. Native Texan and proud Longhorn. Pro-Choice Ron Paul supporter. "Do I contradict myself? ... then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." - Walt Whitman