Did Bustamante fail to report a massive gift?

A major story is stirring in Santa Ana, where sources have indicated that on September 15, 2006, O.C. Supervisorial candidate (and Santa Ana Councilman) Carlos Bustamante and his wife, and Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, attended the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall “Opening Concert and Gala” event. The minimum cost per ticket was $3,000 for the performance alone.

For additional sums of money, participants could attend a post-concert dinner held inside “the tent”. Tickets for the dinner were sold by tables, costing thousands and thousands of dollars, depending on the sponsorship level. My source indictated that Bustamante and his wife attended the Opening Concert and Gala, including dinner inside “the tent” as guests of Hadi Makarechian. These tickets were valued in excess of$35,000.

Mr. Hadi Makarchian is the owner of several well-known companies. These companies include Capital Pacific Holdings, which also does business as Makar Properties and NDC Development. These companies have also contributed to Bustamante’s supervisorial campaign.

This appears to be a blatant violation by Bustamante of Articles IX section 2-853(c) of the City of Santa Ana’s Municipal Code, “City of Santa Ana Gift Ban Ordinance” (Section 2-851 c). Section 2-853 reads: No city officer shall solicit or accept any gift from any person whom he or she knows or has reason to know is doing business with the city. The Gift Ban Ordinance subsection 2-852(d)(5) specifically defines “doing business with the city” as follows: Seeking, actively supporting, or actively opposing the issuance, by the city, of a license, permit, or other entitlement for use, or having done any of these things within the past twelve (12) months.
I am told that NDC Development has been doing business with the City ofSanta Ana for over a year. Bustamante has had numerous meetings with the developer over this period as well as having advocated on their behalf to the City Manager and officials in the city Planning Department. More recently, NDC Development has been before the city’s Planning Commission for entitlements for their property on east First Street. I am told this item will be placed on the agenda for City Council approval in the very near future.
The gift of these seats/tickets may also be in violation of the FPPC gift limitation of $360 from any one source in a calendar year. It may be an idea to review for possible violations of the County of Orange Gift Ban Ordinance (Article 2), given Mr. Bustamante’s position as a manager in their Planning and Development Services department and the Makerchian developments in the county.
This gift also should have been filed on Bustamante’s supervisorial “statement of economic interests.” So he could be in hot water in that regard too.
This information has been remanded by my source to the Orange County District Attorney’s office and to the O.C. Register.


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