Great Park Reports Released


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Report squarely blames Larry Agran, but does not reveal what, if any, legal action will ensue.

 

balloon-bursting-over-Great-Park

Both The Report of the Special Counsel report and the the full HSN&O Report for the OC Great Park have been released. Lots to dig through, but question on everyone’s mind, “who is getting sued or prosecuted”, will remain unanswered.

From the executive summary:

We have spent extensive time consulting with the District Attorney’s office and providing them with information they have requested, and, as this office has no prosecutional function, this is as much as we can do in this regard. With regards to potential sources of recovery, this is a subject of a separate analysis and for attorney-client discussions with the Council rather than a public report. So not all of the above questions are fully addressed here.

 

However, a lot is clear from reading the depositions.

1.  Forde & Mollrich and Gafcon are going to have a lot of explaining to do, both under the False Claims Act and standard Irvine ethics contract clauses.

2. The “Closeout” for Contract 2, whereby Gafcon was fired, is going to cause major headaches for Phil Kohn of Rutan & Tucker, and Larry Agran.

3.  The auditors may have documented money flowing to Larry Agran or his campaigns via Kenny the Printer.

The deposition of Dianna Anast, production manager for Kenny the Printer for the past 30 years, appeared on the city website today.  The entire point of the deposition appears to be this exchange starting on page 13:

17 Q Have you seen this invoice that’s marked as

18 Exhibit 1 before?

19 A Yes, I have.

20 Q Can you describe to me the work that was done

21 that this invoice reflects?

22 A This invoice for 2008 was for 2,000 letterhead

23 and 2,000 envelopes.

24 Q And do you recall what the purpose of those

25 letterheads and envelopes was for?

A It was for Larry Agran.

The entire print job was only a measly $396.78.  But this could be a way public money flowed to a private or political purpose.

 

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Liveblogging

8:09:  David Aleshire: “We are not making any conclusion of criminal activity.   A&W sees areas for legal address, but will discuss this in close session. There is not enough in this report to address legal redress.”   That will require more detailed review, a vote from the council, (and more billable hours — ed)

7:54:  Larry Agran refuses to answer if there were volunteers on his campaign who got paid by the Great Park.  He particularly felt “volunteer” was inappropriate word. However,  the wording used in the deposition was taken directly from the wording in the contract — the contract Agran voted to approve. See Exhibit D of the staff report.

7:52:  Gafcon required certify accuracy all invoices submitted by Forde & Mollrich. Gafcon gave Stu Mollrich a 30% discount for proessional services remodelling job at Mr Mollrich”s private residence.  Schematic Design Contract forbid this.   Over $4 million in payments to Deisgn Studio would have been held depending an investigations had this been disclosed to the city.

7:51: Five clear examples of conflicts of interest, including: George Urch hiring; Failure to sure Council approval of the  Closeout Agreement, including never been put on the agenda;  work on Stu Mollrich’s house led to  Gafcon making (document)  FALSE STATEMENTS about this work.   Collectively “Grounds for legal recovery including contract claims, claims under the False Claims Act and professional negligence.

7:43: Total payments  to  Forde & Mollrich during audit period  summed to $7.2 million. the contract was doubled in 2009,  “No clear evidence of changes in service level.” Neither Agrain, nor Forde, nor Mollrich could point to any evidence of change service level, despite clear contractual requirement.

7:40: 83 contracts over $100,00 were not bid competitively.  Many contractors were hired without city approval. Forde & Mollrich could not be terminated without action by the city council.

7:36: “Policy making /administrative dichotomy broke down because Chairman ( Agran) directly interjected himself in the administrative operations.  Consultants had strong connections to Chairman Agran and took on  management functions.  Charirman exercised influence through and was influenced principally by Arnold Forde and Yehudi Gaffen.”

7:26: There never was billion dollars available from the RDA. Rather, there  was a projection of revenue for a billion dollars over 40 years,  with a present value of only  $218.5 million. The RDA wasn’t even close to being able to pay for the plan. A later, more aggressive project bumped that value up to $267.9 million. Still a full billion dollars short.

7:20:  Mr Agran did mislead the public in January  2006 when he said the park could be built for $401 million, even though  Ken Smith had told Larry Agran the park would cost   $998 million  in November 2005.

no evidence of duplicate billing, including contract 5759, due to general nature of contracts.

7:15:  off to bad start from the beginning.  The competition was conducted without budget.  Testimony by  Larry Agran and Yehudi Gaffen that budget conerncs to a back seat to “great design.”  Mr Agran directing a lot of “out of scope” work.  (Wally Kreutzen p 43)

7:09:  $251.4 spent through 2013.

actual construction costs:    $61.8 million
“soft”  contruction costs ( eg design fees)  $94.5 million
operations & administration.  $91 million!

6:55:   cost estimates ran amuck

2007 estimate:  $979.8 million.
January 2008 $1.2400 billion.
July 2008 Estimate $1.6 Billion. But only for “horizontaal” — no buildings.
2007 private gafcon estimate, including the buildings,  3-4 billion

over $100 million spent in design process.

$250 million spent to develop 88 acres

 

6:53: in 2005 Design Studio  formed from Ken Smith Architects, Gafcon, and consultant; told to get designing.

6:50:  Original 2004 plan was $401 million, build-out over 6-7 years, developer funded seemed feasible. Lennar agreed to pre-pay.

 


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