The Lunch From Hill

That stench coming from Irvine City Hall? Its convicted felonand energy lobbyistFrank Hill

So does City Councilman Mike Ward. Last November, Ward met twice with Hill at Chanteclair, the upscale airport-area restaurant. Hill "introduced himself as representing ENCO and was very interested in [the city of Irvine] completing the deal." According to Ward, Hill came to the lunches armed with financial information purporting to prove that the city and ENCO could make millions by running a public-private utility.

Ward is now an ENCO skeptic. The councilman says he's alarmed about Dornan's involvement in the project and Shea's suspicions about the alleged job ruse. He's concluded "there's no reason" for the city to get into the "risky" power business. If ENCO representatives show up at the Aug. 24 meeting, he expects a lively debate. Said Ward, "Frankly, there's a lot to talk about."

For Shirley Grindle, a prominent clean-government activist, Agran's City Hall and the ENCO deal "now smell."

"I'm ashamed that people like Larry Agran, who I once considered a straight arrow, are playing power politics at its worst," said Grindle. "No, 'ashamed' isn't the right word. I'm disgusted."
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