Does YOUR bank give you "free" weenies?

I received the notice on the left, after it was sent to a friend of the Orange Juice. The new Santa Ana Business Bank is going to have a Business Mixer next Wednesday, October 17, from 5 to 7 p.m.

According to the invitation, these mixers will usually cost $10 to attend. But the small print says “First time? Call for a free pass.” So call! Go get your free cocktail weenies and Chex Mix! Tell a friend. In fact, be sure to go by the Civic Center Plaza and invite all those down on their luck fellows that look like Mike Harrah!

And while you are at it, maybe you can ask the nice folks on the SABB Board how they are going to avoid conflicts of interest, when their board includes: a Santa Ana Councilman; a Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee; a Santa Ana Planning Commissioner; a Santa Ana Historic Resources Commissioner; and the Director of the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce.

And their investors include at least one more Santa Ana Councilman.

Think about it. How are these folks going to avoid voting on issues that are going to benefit them financially? Are we going to see their fingerprints all over the Santa Ana Renaissance Plan?

What can go wrong when elected officials become bankers? Well, I am glad you asked.

I am told by one of my pajaritos that Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido’s buddy, Kris Kakkar, of Whitestone Properties, Inc., bought up many of the properties that were eventually acquired by the Santa Ana Unified School District in order to build the new Heroes Elementary School.

The problem? Somebody must have tipped off Kakkar that these properties were in the way of the Heroes development. (Maybe Pulido’s other buddy, SAUSD Trustee Rob Richardson?). The story goes that after he bought them, SAUSD was forced to pay through the nose via eminent domain to buy these properties.

And guess which bank financed those purchases? You got it – Fullerton Community Bank. And who sits on their board of directors? That’s right…Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido. And how much did Heroes Elementary get budgeted for? $14 million. But how much did they end up spending? Almost $23 million. Cost to taxpayers of letting a Councilman get involved with a bank? $9 million? Who knows for sure? It sure does look like we got hosed!

So let me sum this up…Pulido’s bank and his buddy Kakkar somehow find out that SAUSD is going to buy a bunch of properties, in order to build a new school. And they jump on the land, driving the acquisition cost up, and surprise, surprise, SAUSD ends up spending $9 million MORE to build Heroes than they initially budgeted for. Nice.

That my dear readers is why I continue to be very leery of the nice folks at the Santa Ana Business Bank. Banking and politics SHOULD NOT MIX. Period. It is a BAD IDEA. A VERY BAD IDEA!

About Admin

"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.