Auditors’ political target will be Sam Allevato, not George Urch

Democratic operative George Urch was an early target of the Great Park audit. He’s probably clear, as the investigation focuses on Sam Allevato.

George Urch is an established Democratic political operative who has worked on major Democratic campaigns since the 1980s. He was chief of staff for Tom Umberg, and he helped Jose Solorio get his Sacramento office up and running. In 2007, George left Sacramento to work as a Great Park staffer with an ill-defined role.  Many in Irvine politics called him “Larry’s Chief of Staff” and suspected George of managing Larry Agran‘s political campaigns — a big no-no when working for a public agency.  When the initial audit showed that George’s time was billed to the Great Park at a surprisingly high rate and that his time cards were odd, many of us here Irvine, myself included, thought George was headed for trouble.

However, nothing in the public audit suggest the George did any overt political campaigning while being paid by Great Park. When deposed George gave a convincing defense of his role:

p 131  There were a large number of [Great Park] people that weren’t from the community, that didn’t understand the workings of the community, local government entities, key political players, and that they needed somebody who understood all that and had all the relationships, and I kind of fit that bill… I [was] dealing with a lot of people from all over the country, and some from even outside the country, that didn’t know that Santa Ana bordered Irvine… I was there to ask questions and help assist. 

Basically, George was the local political “fixer” for a bunch of out-of-towners.   No crime in that.

However, the auditors’ close examination of Mr. Urch did reveal hinkiness.  George was genuinely surprised by how much the city was billed for his services; George was clear in the deposition that he was paid less.  Also, George freely admitted that his time cards were screwy. He says he co-operated with whatever his bosses wanted him to put on the timecards.

This revealed hinkiness is not problem for George, but is a problem for the person who oversaw the over-charging of George’s time and directed the alteration of George’s time cards:  Yehudi Gaffen of Gafcon, aka the “villain” of the Great Park audit.

So does that mean that the Great Park auditors will only target contractors and not score a political scalp?  Probably not, because the auditors have found new hinkiness in an unexpected place seemingly unrelated to Irvine.

So while I prepare that post, let’s trade our favorite stories about Forde & Mollrich employee, San Juan Capistrano mayor, and recall targetSam Allevato.


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