Follow the Money Backlash of Diane Harkey's Stint at UCI Women's Conference TODAY

Diane Harkey (left) stands ready to wind up her life size Rep. Mimi Walters doll.
Diane Harkey (left) stands ready to wind up her life size Rep. Mimi Walters doll.
California 37th State Senate District

A female alum/longtime politician/self-described financial whiz is a natural fit for today's Connecting Women to Power conference in UC Irvine's Student Center. But critics doth protest that state Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey brings with her too much baggage.

Or so reports the campus newspaper New University, whose reporters Megan Cole and Roy Lyle quote only one critic.

He is, of course, writer Kurt Sipolski, who is one of 80 plaintiffs who have won judgments totaling more than $9 million after Dan Harkey was convicted of elder abuse for his financial schemes that wiped out investors' life savings. (Dan may or may not be married to Diane anymore; can't find him and can't get her or her peeps to confirm.)

Mrs./ex-Mrs. Harkey, the elected BOE member, former state legislator and onetime Dana Point mayor, managed to wiggle out of any of the legal merde flung from the case against her ex-/still hubby. (Guess I need to start attending BOE meetings for answers.)

Sipolski, who has turned up on this site as a source and contributor, argues that the better Harkey half has "benefitted personally, professionally and politically from all of [the plaintiff's] millions."

"Many of us who have lost all our savings to Dan Harkey are outraged that his wife Diane will be speaking at UCI about the greatness of being powerful," Sipolski fumes to the New U. "Is this the message [UC Irvine] wants to send? Really?"

Really, judging by what Cathy Lawhon, UCI's senior director of Media Relations & Publications, tells the Weekly: "UCI's Community and Government Relations office is co-sponsoring Connecting Women to Power as an opportunity to make the business expertise of our faculty and alumnae available to the more than 1,000 women who have registered for the conference. Diane Harkey graduated cum laude with a degree in economics from the UCI and brings years of experience in business and budgeting to both her role at Board of Equalization and to this event."

The conference is co-sponsored by the California Prosperity Foundation. Good luck getting a comment from them, Bernstein. The closest I came to finding anything named that online was the California Prosperity Project of the state Chamber of Commerce. For a foundation representative, a chamber spokesperson suggested I try the Business-Industry Political Action Committee, but a BIPAC rep tells me they have nothing to do with the UCI conference.

As for Harkey or her peeps at the BOE, you can guess where my request for comment went.

Anyway, the Connect Women to Power conference runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today in the Student Center. Any female who attends will learn how to get rich. Give Diane my love.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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