Sam Allevato is a Putz

Sam Allevato only got paid a third of what Forde & Mollrich was charging the city for his Great Park work. What a putz.

Sam Allevato‘s deposition appeared Monday on the City of Irvine website. It has the highest “damning evidence per page” count of any deposition so far.

To review, Sam was a full time employee of Forde and Mollrich while F&M’s principal client was the Great Park Design Studio.  The Design Studio was operated by Gafcon and was owned by Gafcon CEO Yehudi Gaffen.  Bluntly stated, Gafcon was the source of Sam’s salary.

The main objective of the deposition is to examine Sam’s alleged undisclosed conflict of interest when he voted to award Gafcon a Redevelopment contract while serving on the San Juan Capistrano City Council. Sam’s defense is “I didn’t know.”

Forde & Mollrich hired Sam to be the full-time Public Information Officer for the Great Park.  Sam’s role required him to know everything about the Great Park players and how they interacted, so that the public could be reliably informed. Yet Sam claims to not know who funded his employer (page 28-29):

25 Q Is it your understanding that for the
1 Great Park project, Forde & Mollrich was a subconsultant
2 to Gafcon?

3 A No.

4 Q You didn’t know that?

5 A That was really not my — my impression.

As the questions continue, Sam seems to realize that his claim is unconvincing, and he gets increasingly evasive. For example, (page 33)

12 Q Have you ever met him [Yehudi Gaffen] outside of your work
11 with Forde & Mollrich?
12 A “Met him outside” — what do you mean, “met
13 him outside”?

and ( page 37)

17 Q At any of your meetings with Forde & Mollrich,
18 did you have any discussions with regards to conflicts
19 of interest, either identifying them or avoiding them?

20 A I don’t understand your question.

Still, Sam doggedly sticks to his claim (page 50)

A I didn’t know that Gafcon was — I didn’t —
Forde & Mollrich was contracted to Gafcon

Really Sam? Your job was to be the information liaison between the Design Studio and the public, but you didn’t know that Design Studio was operated by Gafcon? owned by Yehudi Gaffen? had hired your employer? was the direct source of your paycheck? Really?

Then again, maybe Sam really is that much of a putz.  At one point, the deposer presented Sam with a document (Exhibit 4) stating “that Sam’s rate is 150 — $150 an hour for 173 hours or 25,950 a month” (page 46), which adds up to more than $300,000 per year.  This appears to be news to Sam.  In Exhibit 9, Sam declared he was paid less than $100,000 annually.  Doh!

Beyond highlighting Sam’s weak grasp of the Great Park management and exposing Sam’s innumeracy, this deposition suggests there is more afoot.  Aleshire & Wynder made an unusual choice for the deposing attorney.  Anthony Taylor performs most of the depositions, but Stephen Onstot deposed Sam Allevato.  Stephen “focuses his practice on public agency litigation involving technical, novel and complex issues.”  Somebody thinks this is going to be litigated.

Next, consider the strange behavior of Sam’s lawyer, David Elson.  David was generally quiet while the conflict of interest issues were discussed, but aggressive about preventing Sam from disclosing his compensation (page 21). This is odd for two reasons. First, Sam’s principal legal jeopardy is about conflict of interest, not false billing. Second, David’s aggressive challenge over the Sam’s salary served little purpose. The deposing attorney makes clear that Aleshire and Wynder will eventually subpoena Sam to compel him to divulge the salary number (page 22). David Elson’s objections were at best a delaying tactic.

This delay seems pointless, until one recalls that Mr Elson has two other clients: Arnold Forde and Stu Mollrich.  Forde & Mollrich’s legal future gets much simpler if Larry Agran can recapture the Irvine City Council next week.

What was Sam thinking? Given that it’s Sam’s tuches on the line, shouldn’t he have gotten lawyers of his own, to look out for his personal best interest?

What a putz.

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