A Tale of Two Toms

Anybody can juggle one orange.

It’s not easy to look like you’re taking responsibility for some screw up or other when in reality you’re trying to spin as fast as you can to avoid accountability. But that’s exactly what seasoned bureaucrats do, and that’s precisely what County CEO Tom Mauk is up to now. It’s same old song: mistakes were made (passive voice, no subject of sentence), but corrective action is being implemented.

I have gotten hold of Mauk’s report to the Board of Supervisors about the massive fiasco in the County’s acquisition of the money pit at 433 West Civic Center – at the behest of the other Tom, County Clerk Tom Daly.

View the full memo

It would seem that the Board was never given crucial information about the true costs of remodel and remodel/expansion of the building. This data is shown in Attachment A to Mauk’s report, and is damning. Mauk doesn’t really even say he’s sorry for not passing critical cost information to the Board. The projected amounts developed by the County RDMD  were significant – in the millions – and congruent with the ultimate figures presented by Kishimoto Architects, hired by Daly after the sale went through.

What information the Board was given was rosy: work on the building would be relatively minor, that the building was “reasonably maintained,” and that renovation would be done by Daly.

Wrong on all counts.

But everything is still okay, see, because the County has been using the lot for parking and has saved a whopping $26,000 a year. Mauk wraps up his report with this whopper:

“In the meantime, it does appear that having the property in our inventory is a positive outcome.”

Well only in government bureaucracies is wasting  $2,100,000 on a near worthless property considered a positive outcome. I can only hope some Supervisor who really wants to supervise something will ask Mauk to quantify that statement. Mr. Moorlach?

Mauk may choose to do the Texas two-step around the truth, but I won’t. Check out the list of people CC’d at the bottom of that RDMD memo. The County Clerk was well aware of the millions needed to make that building functional and yet disclosed none of it to the Board; neither did the RDMD staff who created it. How come this happened? Mauk doesn’t bother to inform his readers. Hopefully the Board will be curious.


Was Daly hoping his $60,000 investment in Townsend and Associates was going to pay off with a big State grant that would cover the true costs to relocate the archives? If so that idea sure bombed big time.

What is inescapable is the conclusion that both the Clerk’s Department and the RDMD deliberately withheld the true financial implications of this acquisition in order to get the Board to go along with it. Is there another explanation? It would also appear that Mr. Mauk would now like the whole thing whitewashed.

So that’s the story. Now, who’s going to do something about it?

Moorlach Orders Investigation Into Daly’s $10 Million Nightmare

Was it fraud, negligence, incompetence or just an honest to goodness mistake when Tom Daly approached the Board of Supervisors and asked for $2.1 million to purchase a dilapidated building 433 W. Civic Center Drive?

Did Daly forget to tell the Supes that the building was a tear down and not in turnkey condition? Or did he actually believe that the building was ready to move into?  If he did then he needs to fire his real estate agent! There are many hard questions that remain to be asked and answered.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, Supervisor John Moorlach asked County CEO Tom Mauk to bring back a report detailing what happened to the missing information on the useless multi-million dollar building.  Was it lost or intentionally withheld? Did Tom Daly just forget to tell the Board the complete facts about the money-sucking building, knowing that they would have said “HELL NO!” when they found out that it would cost another $7.6 million to make it suitable for the archives and the Orange County Sports Hall of Fame?

Let’s not forget the Sports Hall of Fame was being “brainstormed” by Daly’s BFF Brett Barbre to the tune of another $48,000.

So back to the word “fraud.” What does it mean and how is it really pronounced?



1. deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.

433 W. Civic Center Dr. 2 years later, still vacant

John Moorlach Endorses Shawn Nelson

2nd District County Supervisor and former County Treasure, John Moorlach, has endorsed Shawn Nelson’s campaign for 4th District Supervisor. Here’s the press release:

March 18, 2010 (916) 626-6804

Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach
Endorses Shawn Nelson for Supervisor

FULERTON, CA — The Shawn Nelson for Supervisor campaign announced today that Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach has endorsed Shawn Nelson in the 4th district.

“Shawn Nelson is a proven watchdog for taxpayers in Fullerton. I am confident he will be a tremendous asset to the Board of Supervisors as we continue to lead the state in our fiscal pursuits, including downsizing, balanced budgets and public employee pension reform. Shawn will bring the financial acumen needed to deal with the annually increasing pension costs that Orange County is facing,” said Supervisor Moorlach.

Nelson now enjoys the support of two prominent Supervisors, Pat Bates and John Moorlach, as well as former Supervisor and current Assemblyman Chris Norby.  In addition, Nelson is endorsed by U.S. Representative Ed Royce and the Lincoln Club of Orange County.

Shawn Nelson is a Fullerton City Councilman and  the leading candidate for Supervisor in the 4th district, which is currently open due to the election of Chris Norby to the Assembly.

#   #   #
Nelson for Supervisor 2010 • FPPC ID# 1316599