Arnold Forde Deposition: “Larry would do what he wanted to do”

Arnold Forde‘s  Great Park Deposition is online. He paints the same picture as the other depositions:  a poor management structure that was “not functioning well,” was operated without a budget, and was completely controlled by Larry Agran — including where the bathrooms should be.   Forde and his lawyer vigorously fought accounting for how they spent their $100,000/month retainer, or why the retainer was increased from $50,000 to $100,000 per month in 2009.



The meat of the deposition is Pages 97 through 111, where Anthony Taylor seeks  documentation verifying that Forde & Mollrich in fact provided the “receivables” the city was paying $100,000/month for. Arnold Forde’s answer boils down to:

  • F&M did not prepare any documents to justify increasing the monthly retainer from $50,000/month to $100,000 /month
  • F&M did not keep any internal billing records of how the money was spent or how employees spent time on the project
  • F&M produced no documentation of any kind beyond what has already been submitted
  • There are still some documents “in storage,” but Forde doesn’t think there is much there.

An odd way to run a business that directly bills the taxpayer, but that is Arnold’s sworn testimony.

The rest of the deposition is more fun: Arnold is clear that Larry Agran had control of the project, right down to where the bathrooms would be placed (pp 65-69) and that the Great Park organization did not function well (p 57). Arnold relates multiple examples where major objectives like the Design Competition (p 59) and Programs (p 87) were pursued without a stated budget.

The most jaw-dropping statement: “The Design Studio team did not have a California licensed architect of record” (p 157)

So: no smoking gun, but extensive testimony from one of Larry Agran’s closest allies about why you don’t want Larry Agran running things.

Below are my notes

Notes from the Arnold Forde Deposition

–p 57

Taylor: “While Forde & Mollrich was doing work on the Great Park, what were your  personal observations about whether or not the organizational structure around the Great Park was functioning well?”

Forde: “I don’t believe it was functioning well, no”

— p 59

Ken Smith was never given a budget

— p 61- 62

good description of convoluted, conflicting management structure.

— p 63

Taylor: “why did it have to be so complicated”

Forde:  “it didn’t”

— p 65

Taylor: “did Chairman Agran have specific designs that he requested for the Great Park?”

Forde: ” Yes. He seemed to be very interested in things like having enough toilets.”

–p 66-67 Larry Agran was active in specific design decisions. He pushed hard for the Farm, the balloon, and the  Farmers market.

–p 69

Forde: “I communicated back to Agran from [Ellzey]  that, you know, maybe you’re doing a little too much here”

Taylor: “You told Agran he was doing too much?”

Forde: “Yeah… I didn’t think is was a good idea to have the Design Studio, Ellzey, and all the city staff following Agran around the property where he was pointing out things. My personal opinion is that that was counter productive…. it was confusing”


Forde: “everyone thought they were in charge”

–p 72

nobody was sure who the project manager was

— p 78

Taylor: “Whose idea was it to have a Great Park”

Forde: “Mine”

–p 83

Forde: “[Agran] started  the Great Park Conservancy, and I felt that that was not going to move anything forward”

         Taylor: ” when you had a disagreement with Chairman Agran…[would] he just do what he wanted to do”

         Forde: “He would do what he wanted to do”

— p 87

Taylor: “Did you see at any point in time budgets limiting the amount of money that could be spent for the operations of the Great Park?”

Forde: ” No”

–p 97

Arnold Forde and his lawyer Ellson get incredibly evasive about why the contract increased from $50K / month to $100k/month

–p 115

Forde: “there was this conflict between Yehudi Gaffen and Mike Ellzey. They absolutely hated each other”

— p 157

The Design studio team did not have a California licensed architect of record

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