UPDATE: Allan Bartlett has helped close the circle on the Daly-Barbre financial connection. Here is the link that shows a $1000 campaign contribution from Barbre back to Daly. Even if there is no overt kickback here it sure stinks like Hell.
Has there been fiscal misfeasance by Tom Daly at the County Clerk/Recorder’s office? As we previously indicated, here, OC Clerk Recorder paid self-styled public relations “consultant” and Municipal Water Board member Brett Barbre tens of thousands of dollars in 2008 and 2009 to assist in the creation of some sort of OC sports “hall of fame.” A public records search has turned up invoices from Barbre to Tom Daly’s department for almost $50,000, with almost nothing to show for it. Interestingly, as early as March, 2009 Barbre, who is a Republican, made himself conspicuous as an endorser of Daly in his now defunct campaign for 4th District County Supervisor.
What the records show is that in February 2008 the County Clerk’s office engaged the services of Barbre in a contract for $15,000 and later in a $3000 per month extension, to delve into the subject of creating a sports hall of fame museum.
What the consultant selection process was, why Mr. Barbre was chosen, what his qualifications were, and why the taxpayers were put on the hook for this dubious concept project may never be known. But what is known is that from May 2008 through June 2009 the County paid Barbre $48,000 with virtually no evidence of any accomplishment at all.
We have been provided with no evidence to suggest that any of the activities outlined in Barbre’s contract were ever achieved. Added to the evident lack of accomplishment seems to be a reluctance to publicize the hall of fame brainstorm at all. Very telling is a sentence from a January 15, 2009 memorandum from Barbre to Tom Daly, in which Barbre says about the whole idea: I would suggest keeping it fairly low key until the budget mess at the state and the county are behind us.
Right. No sense in letting the public know that the Clerk/Recorder Tom Daly is squandering public money on such a hare-brained scheme during a recession, including giving Barbre $3,000 a month to ponder the sports hall of fame concept, while county employees are about to be laid off.
We have been informed by the County Public Information office that we are not in possession of all the work product documents, and that something else is forthcoming. This strikes us as particularly odd since Barbre’s questionable “services” were concluded nine months ago and our records request was made several weeks ago. We can’t help but consider the possibility that something is being fabricated up after the fact to make it appear as if the $48,000 slipped to Barbre by Daly produced more than a few short memos and an incomplete list of Orange County’s High Schools and their mascots. Well, we’ll soon find out.
The final disturbing piece to this puzzle is the fact that Brett Barbre’s name appears on Tom Daly’s March, 2009 fundraiser host committee list – the event in which he launched his abortive campaign for County supervisor; and that later, in the summer of 2009, Barbre assumed the office of ambassador to the OC GOP Central Committee for newly-minted Republican Renee Ramirez, Daly’s employee and hand-picked successor for the County Clerk’s job.
Ironically, we note that Daly pulled the plug on his supervisorial campaign last Friday – the very same day we presented ourselves at the County to pick up the Barbre documents.
That’s the story so far. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture of either competence or probity within Tom Daly’s bureaucratic regime. The self-styled fiscal conservative seems to have been anything but conservative with public funds, and, as will become painfully evident in subsequent posts, this episode is not a lone example.
Hall of fame? Really? Maybe what we need in OC is a hall of shame – for politicians who abuse the public trust. We’ve got a recommendation for the first inductee.