Second Stu Mollrich Deposition Outlines Likely Litigation

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The Great Park Audit Report is likely to be released  in February, but Stu Mollrich’s attorney already acts like the matter is being litigated.


Great Park Auditors Aleshire & Wynder brought Stu Mollrich back for a second deposition. This time,  litigation specialist Stephen Onstot did the questioning instead of Anthony Taylor.  (Sam Allevato also got this special treatment ). 

As expected, the City is documentng Forde and Mollrich (F&M) performing out of scope work, presumably for a civil suit under the False Claims Act.  However the deposition revealed a new and unexpected avenue of legal attack: speech writing for Sukhee Kang.

When Stephen Onstot asked about speeches Stu wrote for Sukhee Kang (p. 80),  Stu’s lawyer  David Elson tries to shut down the questions (p. 85) , which lead to this interchange on page 91:


 All right. The documents that I have reviewed, in the course of this audit so far, lead to the conclusion that you billed for or you were compensated for doing work that was outside the scope of the Forde & Mollrich contract for Great Park. One example of those is your work on Mr. Kang’s speeches.  Is that true?


I’m going to object, and I’m going to instruct him not to answer. The question is argumentative as phrased.

Stu’s lawyer David Elson is aggressive about forbidding Stu to answer, which leads Stephen Onstot to state:

12· You [Stu Mollrich] extensively prepared for two depositions. You were asked last time if you did work for any of the council members. You replied emphatically “No.”· And now, here, we found that you are writing speeches for two council members [Sukhee Kang and Beth Krom].

Could the auditor be any clearer about where this is going?

The auditor’s question also revealed:

  1. Stu Mollrich’s wife loves to ride horses at the stables in San Juan Capistrano that Sam Allevato patronizes. (p 23) As our SJC blogger notes, those stables have been costing SJC taxpayers a pretty penny.
  2. Stu hired Gafcon to do at least seventy thousand dollars of work on Stu’s  house — but with no written contract or formal billing record. (p 66) This work lead to a (sealed) IRS audit and an (undisclosed) IRS settlement (p 71; exhibit 3)
  3. Stu has a penchant for working without a contract. Forde and Mollrich paid the firm “SMC” for work on the Great Park, but without a formal written contract or written billing records that anyone can find ( p. 26).  SMC’s sole employee?  Stu Mollrich. This should be easy money for the City to claw back.
  4. Ken Smith, the principal of the Great Park Design Studio and therefore nominally Forde & Mollrich’s “boss,” was paid to do landscape work on Stu’s house.  Without a written contract
  5. Ken Smith was also paid for work on Arnold Forde‘s house. Again, without a formal contract
  6. Speaking of Kens, Forde & Mollrich often gave  Kenny the Printer sole-source  printing contracts (p 52).  Kenny the Printer was the go-to printer for the Agran political machine.
  7. Former Irvine City Attorney Phil Kohn should lawyer up. Phil had “outside business” with Forde & Mollrich that Stu’s lawyer wouldn’t let Stu discuss (p 55).  Deposer Stephen Onstot  declared “Rutan & Tucker was the city attorney of Irvine at the same time… they were representing Forde & Mollrich.” (p 58).  This is especially fraught for Phil because he was intimately involved in the “contract 2 closeout” that resulted in a large, odd  payment to Gafcon,  thereby providing funds to compensate Forde & Mollrich.  I discussed the “contract 2 closeout” in points 7-12 of this earlier post.
  8. Larry Agran is only mentioned in passing. He doess not seem to be a focus of the  Forde & Mollrich portion of audit. Larry’s legal vulnerability lies elsewhere — in particular, in the “contract 2 closeout.”




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