Tony Petros bails at Fair Board Meeting before LSA vote

Tony Petros is running for Newport Beach City Council.

Tony Petros is also a Principal in the Irvine office of LSA & Associates, the company that was the bag man for all of the concealed spending on lobbyists, lawyers, and an appraiser when Dave Ellis and his acolytes were conspiring to sell the Orange County Fair Grounds. Even in 2012, we’re still waiting to see some of the billing documents which were hidden by the staff and only unwittingly released by an obscure Sacramento agency.

During 2009, LSA had specific contracts to complete a Supplemental EIR on paving over the equestrian center and for master planning services, with work order 14 detailing the services to be provided in 2009. LSA never provided the services they contracted to do. Instead, without any revision of the contracts or public discussion, they billed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Dick Ackerman’s law firm, to Platinum Advisors, and to an appraiser who never produced a public report.

So it was interesting to see how Petros would respond to public questions and criticisms at the Fair Board meeting when LSA had another contract for planning services on the agenda.

Tony was waiting patiently at the beginning of the meeting, but he disappeared before the board reached the LSA agenda and angry public speakers insisted that LSA should be permanently disqualified from any future contracts because of their role as intermediary in the Fairgrounds scandal.

To be fair, LSA Managing Principal Frank Haselton was the real scoundrel, but it sure would have been interesting to hear Petros, as  a  local Principal at LSA,  publicly discuss why their billing shouldn’t be subject to treble damages under the False Claims Act.

In a refreshing change of pace at the Fair Board,  staff  member Jerome Hoban’s protestations  were ignored, and the Directors voted to ask for public bids instead of continuing to shuffle money off to LSA without competitive bids.  They also voted to engage in discussion with the Newport Mesa School district to attempt to reach an agreement on shared parking before spending $80,000 on yet another parking study.

Similarly, the board voted to ask the Attorney General’s office to return as legal representative for the fair board, which is indeed a state agency, rather than rubber-stamping the staff’s proposal to continue with Manatt, Phelps. State law requires that state agencies receive legal services from the Attorney General’s office, but the AG chose to stop representing the Fair Board in 2009 because of the scandal surrounding the attempted sale to a corporation controlled by board members.

Judicious spending of taxpayer dollars, common sense proposals, following state law. Amazing the difference a few new appointments can make.

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