Irvine Does It Better: Ethics Probes Edition

Your local politicians hurl “ethics” claims at each other.  Irvine’s politicians hurl lawyers.

The Great Park audit is doing a great job discovering who did what at the Great Park. But it is also providing fodder the campaign. For example, Jeff Lalloway likes to drop broad, non-specific hints that the OC District Attorney is “monitoring” the progress of the audit. [1]

All perfectly ordinary political posturing. But this is Irvine. We do it better.

Larry Agran took ethics innuendoes to the next level.  He sent a formal letter to California Attorney General and fellow Democrat Kamala Harris requesting that Christina Shea and Jeff Lalloway be investigated for “misuse of public funds for political purposes” while conducting the Great Park audit.  Larry announced this letter at the last regular city council meeting and trumpeted it in his fake newspaper/ weekly slate mailer. 

So far, “Tit for Tat.”  But just like there is “The Chicago Way,” so there is “The Irvine Way.”

Scott Moxley reported that real estate lobbyist Pam Sapetto collected developer money for Agran’s “Slow Growth” slate.   Nice fodder for a recent hit mailer, but “The Irvine Way” demands more. It demands lawyers.

Jeff Lalloway, himself a lawyer, saw a connection between Pam Sapetto and recent votes by Planning Commisioner Mary Ann Gaido and Community Services Commissioner Melissa Fox to approve a condo complex.  Jeff formally requested a repeal of the  condo project approval.  And requested lawyers.

Mayor Steven Choi immediately convened an emergency city council meeting last Tuesday, where the council approved hiring a gaggle of lawyers.

So let’s review.

Irvine’s City Council hired the law firm of Alehsire & Wynder and the Hon. Nancy Wieben Stock to look into the Great Park.  Larry Agran is trying to involve Kamala Harris.  Jeff Lalloway wants to involve Tony Rackaukas, but Shirley Grindle and Common Cause are trying to keep Tony away. In mean time, the City of Irvine has hired additional lawyers to examine the condo project approval, which means Pam Sapetto’s lawyer Ed Connor spoke on her behalf at the most recent council meeting.   And did I mention that Gafcon general counsel Paul Najar and several lawyers from Rutan & Tucker are caught up in all of this?

Your town’s politicians may hurl ethics claims at each other, but none of them get this many lawyers involved.

So while we wait for the lawyers to run through their billable hours, let’s trade stories.  What are your favorite stories about ethics charges and political probes?



[1] As if Tony Rackaukas would ever indict any Orange County politician, especially Larry Agran.


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