The Latest County Melt Down

OC's Boss Tweed steps in it. Again.

Okay, Friends this one is a bit convoluted so stick with me.

The latest State budget deal takes about $50 million away from Orange County. How come? Best I can figure it out is this: after the bankruptcy of 1995 the County sold recovery bonds and the State sequestered about $50,000,000 annually to pay off the bond holders from part of the Vehicle License Fee that was distributed to the County. Later when the VLF was swapped out for property tax income the payoff to bondholders still came from the VLF. When OC refinanced it’s debt in 2006 it started taking the VLF money directly from the State even though no other county got any of it.

Confused? In 2006 County Supervisor Bill Campbell said he wasn’t, but he failed to do anything about the money hanging out there according to Voice of OC (EA)’s Norberto Santana, here. It seems he didn’t want to address the issue and hoped everybody would forget about it. That lame strategy worked for about 5 years. Now the State is laying claim to the dough.

1. Shampoo and rinse. 2. Lose $50,000,000.

The worst malefactor here is County CEO Tom Mauk who has yet another catastrophe to lay claim to. Following swiftly on the heels of the disastrous Human Resource Department audit in which Mauk was busted giving his cronies huge raises and promotions, this latest calamity may prove to be the final nail in Mauk’s coffin.

Will three supervisors finally perform self cranial-rectal extraction and get rid of this bozo? They aren’t very bright but sooner or later…

Stay tuned.

County Human Resources Disaster

You may have felt the impact...

Every government agency displays a tendency to circle its wagons, defend incompetent behavior and keep outside scrutiny….well, outside. A notable exception appears to be the County of Orange’s Performance Auditor, whose office just completed a scathing report on County executives gettting unjustified pay raises with the assent of the CEO, and just as bad, giving away the farm when it came to negotiating sweetheart deals with the other County “family,” er, union members.

And juxtaposed to this is the typical behavior County CEO Tom Mauk, who has presided over the disaster and who, rather than letting his HR director quit in disgrace, and fixing the catastrophe he helped create, has apparently talked the incompetent Carl Crown into staying on another year so he can “negotiate” another disastrous deal with Nick “Bullhorn” Berardino’s union. He’s circling the wagons, hard.

Here’s a good recap by the Register’s Kimberly Edds.

The real question is what are the County Supervisors going to do about this mess? In a Voice of OC(EA) post our Supervisor, Shawn Nelson seemed outraged. He should be. Let’s hope the Gang of Five will finally shoot straight – and get rid of their CEO, Tom Mauk.



In a May 12th memo sent to the Board of Supervisors by County CEO Tom Mauk, it was confirmed by Mauk that Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly was less than truthful with regards to the acquisition of the $2.1 million money-sucking building that he decided splurge on with tax payers’ money.

Mauk says that “…it has become apparent to me that the Board was not provided with all the information known to staff at the time given the June 29th RDMD A&E memo among RDMD and Clerk-Recorder staff.”

In that sentence, Mauk confirmed what we have known for a very long time… that Tom Daly is deceitful and that he believes it’s OK to lie to the public and the Board of Supervisors.

Tom Daly lies so much that he can’t keep his lies straight.  For example, in the same memo Mauk was told that “Since the acquisition of the property, the thirty-four spaces have been utilized and saved the County approximately $26, 100 a year due the ability to reduce the number of parking spaces the County leases from the private sector.”

We received several calls from Clerk-Recorder employees indicating that only one Clerk-Recorder employee parks at that parking lot.  Guess who it is? Low and behold, it’s the wife of Disneyland’s Manager of Government Relations Chris Lowe. As reported in a previous blog post here, Disney has contributed to Tom Daly’s campaigns since 2002. Apparently the scampaign contribution not only led to a job for Lowe’s wife but also prime parking space. This has several long-time Clerk-Recorder employees fuming.

The truth about the parking lot is that it is being leased by Daly to a private company. The parking management company leases the parking lot and pays the Clerk-Recorder Department about $1,500 a month to manage the lot for profit.  Any revenue above the $1,500 mark is kept by the company.

Does this sound like a fair trade off? Daly spent $2.1 million of tax payers’ money for a return of about $18,000 annually and 34 parking spaces.  The math doesn’t add up! Daly is really putting his English major from Harvard to work here.

Look at the photos. The lot is clearly marked for public parking for $5 a day. This is a blatant lie to the Board and to CEO Tom Mauk.

The other baldfaced lie is that according to the memo, the department has reduced the number of spaces leased from privately owned parking lots for its’ employees.  Since 2008, Tom Daly has been leasing about 17 spaces from Mike Harrah’s parking company Sycamore Parking Concepts to the tune of about $1,200 a month or $14,400 a year.  This lot is located behind the run-down YMCA building on Civic Center Dr.

The best outcome for the money sucking building is that it be sold. If the tax payers are lucky they will recover the cost of the property and break even. However, the condition of the building is horrendous, per the memo. So I find it odd that Tom Mauk would say that “…having the property in our inventory is a positive outcome.”  Is Tom Mauk covering for Tom Daly? Or did good-old friend of Tom Daly, Rob Richardson, write this memo without clearing it with Mauk or even verifying the information given.  All Mauk or Richardson had to do was take a little stroll to the parking lot across the street and see that it is public parking.

Tom Daly is a red-faced liar and deserves to be voted out of office.  Daly and company are running a misinformation campaign not only to voters but to the public, the Board of Supervisors and CEO Tom Mauk.  Supervisor John Moorlach needs to call for audits of the Clerk-Recorder Department to see what other lies are uncovered.

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