OC Grand Jury says Hubris is Great Park’s Legacy

Orange County Grand Jury has released it’s Great Park report. The title, “A Legacy of Hubris,” sums it up.




The report focuses on operational issues rather than indictments.  From the executive summary:

There was strong evidence of serious mismanagement of the Great Park project (emphasis added), costing taxpayers significant amounts of public monies. Since the City of Irvine took on the role of land developer, it must be held responsible for the project’s mismanagement. It also appeared that roles and responsibilities were not clearly defined and maintained. This created significant havoc within the operations and management of the project. The project shifted course several times without a sense of direction. Overall objectives and the articulation of those objectives were characterized by vacillation, indecision, inconsistency, and confusion. As a result, the project lacked an effective decision-making process resulting in ever-increasing tension and contradictions within, often unknowingly and unintentionally.

The report notes undue political interference, but never names names.  The report makes clear that the budgeting was an opaque mess and still needs to be cleaned up.  As best as the grand jury can tell, even the new scaled down park plan will generate an annual deficit of $2.5 million/ year. Also, the issue identified in the preliminary audit, “where did $43 million in Redevelopment Money go?” still has not been satisfactorily resolved.

The key recommendations are:

R.1. All of the funds related to Great Park financial activity should be presented as a separate section in the City’s CAFR to allow for greater transparency (F4; F9).

R.3. The City of Irvine should create and consider adopting an ordinance similar to that adopted in other cities, such as Mission Viejo8 , that limits the interference and influence of City Council members with the operational aspects of the city. (F1; F2; F4).

R.5. The City of Irvine should discontinue extravagant expenditures in favor of more cost conscious public events. As an example, the City should consider “grounding” the balloon or severely limiting its use, as this expensive attraction costs over $1 million per year to operate (F10).

R.8. The City of Irvine needs to provide an explanation as to where the tax increment of $43 million received by the IRDA from 2005-2011 was utilized. (F13).

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