Debbie did it!

Matt “Jubal” Cunningham, the editor of Red County/OC Blog, has been carrying water for disgraced O.C. Sheriff Mike Carona for a long time. But now he is running cover for Carona’s wife Debbie too.

Here is what the L.A. Times reported about the other criminal Carona:

The wife of indicted Sheriff Michael S. Carona, while serving on the Orange County Fair Board, actively supported a no-bid contract for a longtime swap meet operator who had donated thousands of dollars to her husband’s political campaigns, according to documents and interviews.

Deborah Carona urged fellow directors to grant the contract to TelPhil Enterprises before the company’s bid had been evaluated and even after state officials told the fair board to reconsider a proposal from a firm promising a higher cut of its profits.

Citing tradition at the Costa Mesa-based fairgrounds, the sheriff’s wife said giving the contract to TelPhil was the ethical thing to do.

The state Department of General Services, which oversees county fairs in California, intervened in the swap meet debate after a rival bidder, Delaware North, argued that the fair board had wrongly eliminated it as a contender.

What fair officials didn’t know as Deborah Carona tried to steer the contract to TelPhil was that the father-son owners and one of their wives had donated about $5,000 to the sheriff’s campaign. The son was serving on the Sheriff’s Advisory Council and as one of Carona’s special reserve deputies at the time.

Despite her efforts, Carona’s motion failed and the board reopened the bidding process. But TelPhil ultimately maintained its grip on the swap meet after Delaware North dropped out, complaining that the entire process felt rigged.

And the O.C. Register had similar findings:

But the fair board rejected Delaware North’s bid, saying a piece of paperwork was missing. Delaware North appealed to state officials, who agreed that the company shouldn’t be left out of the running because of an technicality. The board looked for other legal means to award the contract to TelPhil but eventually started the bidding process over.

In February 2004, after state intervention and a suggested repeat of the entire bidding process, Carona cited the importance of “custom, habit and tradition,” and said the board would be making a “moral and ethical mistake” if it went forward with another competitive process, according to meeting minutes.

She made a motion to “sole-source” the swap meet contract and start negotiations with TelPhil. Her motion was seconded by fellow fair board member Peggy Haidl, whose brother, Don Haidl, was an assistant sheriff at the time.

The motion, however, failed. Other board members said that, while they had empathy for TelPhil, the fair property belonged to the state and they had a fiduciary duty to put the contract out to bid.

In the end, however, there wasn’t much of a competitive process left. In a move that mystified Delaware North, the fair board capped the amount of money it could make from the swap meet at 40 percent. Delaware North’s original offer of 50 percent was moot, and, it felt, gave TelPhil an unfair advantage.

That last paragraph is simply stunning. Why would the fair board cap how much it could make from the swap meet? That sounds like a poison pill strategy. Nice. Debbie Carona and her ally, Peggy Haidl, cost the taxpayers of Orange County thousands of dollars, but Cunningham still cannot take his red blinders off:

“That’s not to say Debbie Carona was right or that Delaware North shouldn’t have won the contract. I don’t know Debbie Carona, but most people in politics have a strong tendency to be loyal and protective of those with whom they have friendships, and in this instance my belief is that’s what was driving Debbie Carona’s support to renewing TelPhil’s contract.”

Wow. What a complete pendejada! Cunningham must have been bathing in red Kool Aid when he wrote that. Whatever. The two major newspapers in our area got this one right. By the way, is no one else disgusted by the fact that Mike Carona rigged the fair board by getting his wife and his right hand guy’s wife appointed to it? What a joke!

We are witnessing the death of the OC GOP machine. It is a wonderful thing to watch… But the machine still lives on the Orange County Fair Board. It is a sad collection of machine Republicans. Here is a thought – why not appoint people that actually care about putting on decent fairs? And why is there still only one Latino on the board (a Republican who does not speak Spanish)?

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.