Beth Krom on . . . Beth Krom!

[Moxley Confidential] Great Park chairwoman explains when she's a corporation and when she's a human being in VIP-party fiasco

Could there be more of an embarrassment to Orange County Democrats than Beth Krom, the Irvine city councilwoman who doubles as chairwoman of the Orange County Great Park board?

Well, sure.

After all, Krom is a minor leaguer compared to Larry Agran, her tragically warped Irvine council colleague, or Agran's wily pal, Santa Ana Mayor-for-Life Miguel Pulido.

We learned last weekend that Krom, a wildly unsuccessful 2010 congressional candidate, isn't satisfied with third place in the scumbag sweepstakes.

According to the Aug. 28 Orange County Register, Krom decided, without a public vote or even the knowledge of most park-board members, to divert more than $5,750 in taxpayer funds to a private, VIP wine-and-cheese (plus tri-tip skewers!) party at the Great Park prior to an Aug. 6 concert.

I can hear all three of Krom's remaining fans whining: So what? She threw a party. She only spent a few lousy bucks.

Sadly, that's almost a viable argument because in the world of Krom, Agran and Sukhee Kang—the third and most spineless member of Irvine's Democratic Party council majority—wasting a couple of thousand dollars of taxpayer funds is routine.

For example, the trio has diverted $120,000 per month in public funds for six years to a private political consultant, allegedly for the task of performing public relations for a public park that doesn't exist. That massive contract was handed to Arnold Forde of Forde & Mollrich without even faking a competitive-bid process. The deal has no monthly benchmarks. In other words, Forde breathes, and he gets the check.

But disgust with Krom's invitation-only party isn't so much about the money or the question of what there is to celebrate. (The Great Park is California's most corrupt, inept, pending public-works project.) It's about how Agran's political machine routinely acts with imperial gusto.

To wit:Krom could have gotten the necessary votes in advance. She couldn't have possibly lost, as Agran stacked the Great Park board with his apologists.

Krom—who may call Agran every morning to ask what to wear—chose to skip a vote because that would have required advance public notice on a public agenda. If there's no agenda item on the spending, residents and reporters can't comment until it's too late. And that's just what happened.

Still, there is nothing new about such shady Krom-Agran-Kang maneuvers. Please recall that under this trio, an independent auditor in 2009 found that key Great Park spending records had been not only hidden from inspection, but also destroyed. Their response wasn't to clean up the cesspool; they decided truly independent audits weren't necessary in the future.

This mindset brings me back to the most contemptible aspect of Agran's regime: brazen arrogance. They've repeatedly lied to residents about when the Great Park will be built, how it will be funded and why it's allegedly necessary to spend more than $200 million on mostly pre-park consulting gigs for their pals and campaign contributors. They've blocked the Irvine City Council's minority, two elected Republicans, from reviewing government documents prior to a related vote. Every election, they flagrantly abuse campaign-finance laws to stay in office and keep control of the $1.6 billion project. They've even called members of the Orange County grand jury stupid for investigating and questioning one of Agran's dubious shell-game tricks that mask the park's financial mismanagement.

When confronted about the VIP-party spending by the Register's Tony Saavedra, Krom devised a reply that must have put a smile on George Orwell's long-dead face.

"It wasn't Beth Krom throwing a party," said Beth Krom. "It was the [Great Park] corporation throwing a reception."

It is no wonder psychiatrists are plentiful in Southern California. Krom must have thought switching the word "party" to "reception" would be more palatable for Irvine's voters, though the word game didn't change the cost to the public for her private shindig.

Not content to load just one conniving assertion into her 14-word statement, Krom added second and third ones, which, I must admit, seem like the handiwork of the Master of Lies himself, Agran. In fact, the so-called "corporation" Krom referenced isn't really one, but it sounds impressive. Corporations have a better reputation than governments for efficiency.

Irvine's Orange County Great Park corporation is, in fact, a 501(c)3 charitable corporation that Agran-Krom-Kang devised to sell the public on the lie that the Great Park is run by Orange County officials for Orange County, not Irvine's Democratic council majority running the park for itself and its publicly subsidized political consultants. This "corporation" is controlled 100 percent by the city government, which Agran—a fifth-tier 1992 presidential-primary candidate—has controlled for more than a decade now.

The third lie in Krom's two-sentence statement demonstrates a shady-lawyer sensibility. (Agran is a lawyer; Krom is not.) "It was the corporation throwing a reception," she offered, as if blaming a non-human entity would shift responsibility from her, even though the corporation, which she heads, acted on her orders.

Not surprisingly, that statement didn't match her private musings to other city officials. According to high-ranking sources at City Hall, Krom said she could spend the money according to her whims because she is chairwoman of the park board, never mind that the position is largely ceremonial. But her newfound gravitas does lead one to wonder: Will trumpets soon announce her arrival at public gatherings?

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18 comments
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Largelew
Largelew

Wow...I have never meet Beth Krom, but your writing leads me to believe you are a small minded person with a small dick complex R.Scott.Try finding some good in people ever once in a while sport. Oh and take a fricken English class Moxley..

Make Irvine Great
Make Irvine Great

As to why Arnold Forde has contract with no deliverables that's simple, it's because Arnold has promised Larry and Beth that he won't run a campaign against them as long as they continue to make payments to his firm. Why a federal grand jury has't seriously taken a look at this issues along with the other pay to play allegations is puzzling. Senior member of Irvine's city management have knowingly participated in this charade for years. Everyone loses with the status quo, taxpayers, future park users, but especially the public because they have lost all confidence in the public participatory system in Irvine. It's very sad actually.

spud8meister
spud8meister

The Great Park ( aka the Great Scam) was a con perpetrated by Agran to get his cronies on the developer and public fee dole, and to prevent the rational development of an airport - the highest and best use for the site - for the limited purpose of benefitting Irvine real estate values for existing home owners .It only took 3 special elections to jam it through. The rest of us be damned

No one who understands development or public finance really believes anything substantial for general Orange County public benefit will come out of the ground during the foreseeable future decades

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savvysearch
savvysearch

Can we please just get the park made? Dig a hole? Plant a tree? Time is money.

Moxleyfar
Moxleyfar

THIS is a great report. THIS is why the nation is going to hell .THIS is why we have the most uninformed people trying to take over the gov,t, back by the most uninformed voters. This why is it is 1929 all over again.This is why one may say that when the highest court can make a law that says corporations are people and have the same rights is crazy. THIS why this must come as a great surprise to GOD, poor GOD HE lost out to the power of money as the middle class

Madilyn
Madilyn

Obviously written by a tea bagger. Too partisan to go past the 2nd paragraph. You people are too well funded.

PatrickR
PatrickR

Madilyn, guess we could look into the crystal ball of truth and determine that you are an Agranista. When it somes to the ""Three Stooges" the only one I want to see writing about them is the United States Attorney's Office in the form of indictments. Political corruption and abuse of power has gone on far too long in Irvine, a city where voters are in a coma. Until then it is "Just another day in Paradise."

Lapbanddan
Lapbanddan

HELLO!!! HELLO!!! Anybody there HELLO!!!

That was me yelling at the Liberal OC, who have bee ALL OVER Claudia Alvarez, in a neighboring city, but haven't heard a peep from the bucket swappers from Irvine????

HMMM. I guess if your a JEW and rip off some money it's ok right Dan! Just don't call her out.

What a hypocrite

PatrickR
PatrickR

Excellent comments Scott and you are repeating what many of us have been saying for years about the corrupt and out of control Irvine City Council. We have given it our best shot to inform our citizens as to what is going on and to offer alternatives. Bottom line however, is that until the majority of voters wake up from their coma and smell the java, nothing will change. As the Irvine motto goes, "It's just another day in Paradise."

RON
RON

No one is inerested in this corruption because the "Great Park" is nothing more than an excuse not to allow an airport.

Newportblue65
Newportblue65

Irvine is a great place to live, that's for sure!!......But you have to wonder about City Hall.....Maybe the City name should be changed to Agranville!!!!..........There's a smell from City Hall when the wind is right......

Jenifer gattis
Jenifer gattis

Beth Krom is GROSS. Not just gross looking but another lying politico.

No wonder the DPOC sucks so bad, if this pig is the best they can do.

Bill Bartell
Bill Bartell

Alot of nothing to get anyone excited about there. . . Why all the hot air ?? In a country where any such public project is rare indeed, your tightie whities are in a twist over WHAT, exactly ?? The slow progress in obviously a product of the Bush "recession," more than anything else . . .this "5,750 dollars in taxpayer funds"(though, likely, an exaggeration) undoubtedly afforded numerous parties involved in this development the kind of "reception" that many corporate players enjoy regularly to scheme up their next major rip-offs, for far more money, I'm sure... glad these people had the opportunity. Krom's "3 remaining fans" are actually more like 20 thousand times that, based on the polls- why so cruel an assessment of a committed public servant like Ms. Krom, when the chump the "beat" her in last years congressional race has been ripping us off for 6 years straight ?? Black is white, Up is down, and Good is just Bad in your demented version of reality...sad.

Bill T.
Bill T.

Where you're right about corporations regulalry ripping their stockholders and lower employees with such events and the implied response to the tea-baggers (read Koch bro's tools) venting against the president for a situation he inherited, this is an event funded by public funds and there is a requirement for transparency that was (apparently) ignored in this case. Higher obligation, and all that, you understand.

beyond upset in Santa Ana
beyond upset in Santa Ana

bottom line: WHERE IS THE PINCHE PARK!how many years has this been "in development/under construction/in planning"?? this is a PARK not the Pyramids/full-blown city...a lot and a balloon is pathetic for this amount of time.if you cannot get the job DONE-then time to replace who is in charge to get it done-NOW!this whole thing has been a waste of time and $$ and really makes OC look like a joke that they cannot get a park-A PARK in some form going.i henceforth call this travesty the GREAT LOT...because that is all it has been this whole time.

show some leadership people this is you job and if you cant do it step down immediately!

 
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