As we predicted, Don Papi Pulido and his SanTana City Puppets rewarded Cordoba Corporation over more-qualified candidates with a contract to head a proposed streetcar project because of Cordoba head George Pla's many SanTana connections. Doug Irving of the Orange County Register had a great piece over the weekend about how SanTana officials are stonewalling his efforts to unearth public records pertaining to the $6 million contract. He also elicited a quote from Pla:
Pla said his work with the [muy connected Santa Ana Business] bank "has nothing to do with it" and said he won the contract because he put together a team that knows the city and knows its needs. "It's not about political connections," he said. "It's about trust. ... Getting this project to be a success is about having trust in the team."
HAHAHA! If ever there was a group that existed solely because of its connections to politicos, it's Cordoba. The best takedown of this company was a 2000 LA Weekly piece; read it, but below are just a few of Cordoba's greatest hits. All which begs the question: why did Don Papi Pulido reward the choo-choo contract to Cordoba? We know the answer...anyways, the hits!
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* Cordoba is a company that historically has been averse to paying taxes. Just this past February, they were hit with $1,549 in tax liens, liens that government documents show as still outstanding. This followed a 2003 settlement with the IRS in which Cordoba paid $251,000 to settle $2.1 million in unpaid taxes, according to Forbes. And the IRS took such a miniscule amount only because "collectability was in doubt" on the owed sum.
*In 2000, the City of Oakland sued Cordoba for $1.2 million for breach of contract involving Y2K (remember that?) upgrades of the city's computers. Still trying to find out what happened with that case.
*A 1997 Department of Commerce audit found that Cordoba improperly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funds to build a center for minority hirings. The report was so damning that government officials, according to a Los Angeles Times report, issued a "warning to other federal agencies to be careful about hiring Cordoba for future contracts." Cordoba earned this contract despite being ranked lower than other firms who had submitted bids for the project--gee, where have we heard that one before?
Cordoba has many, many other brushes with scandals--so many, in fact, that I tried listing them all but my computer kept crashing and I'm publishing the above snippet for the meanwhile. So, we'll leave you with this tidbit: in Los Angeles, Cordoba's biggest supporter was the corrupt councilmember Richard Alatorre, who served home detention for failing to pay taxes. Guess which other major Latino politico Cordoba has connections with that also doesn't like paying taxes? Don Papi Pulido! The Chinatown comparison gets bigger every day...