The independent forensic audit firm blocked from fully uncovering how three Irvine Democrats misused their control of the proposed Orange County Great Park and its treasury is formally seeking authority to compel cooperation.
The now Republican-controlled Irvine City Council is scheduled to vote Jan. 28 on whether to give Hagen, Streiff, Newton & Oshiro Accountants (HSNO) additional powers to finish its fact-finding mission that has in a preliminary review outlined massive mismanagement and financial irregularities.
According to an agenda document prepared by special legal counsel to the city, HSNO needs $400,000 to complete a second phase of the audit because of the roadblocks erected by government contractors given questionable, no-bid Great Park deals by Democrats Larry Agran, Beth Krom and Sukhee Kang when their alliance controlled the city for more than a decade.
The amount of the latest fee could be significantly reduced if Agran and Krom, the two remaining unrepentant Democrats on the city council, convinced their contractor buddies to stop stonewalling outside investigators and share records of how tens of millions of dollars were funneled out of the public treasury before the park could be built.
Given that HSNO is an acclaimed firm with a history of exposing corruption in major cases across the nation (ENRON and Bernie Madoff, for example) and Orange County residents deserve to know the truth about how the government spent $200 million without building the park, the council should approve further investigation.
Our exclusive coverage of the original audit report presented earlier this month revealed how the Agran-Krom-Kang alliance poured at least $174,500 per month in Great Park funds to their own campaign operatives while simultaneously complaining they couldn't build the park because of a lack of money.
Among park contractors who allegedly refused unconditional cooperation after taking the no-bid contracts from Agran, Krom and Kang include Arnold Forde and Stu Mollrich of Forde Mollrich as well as George Urch.
Krom pal Marsha Burgess, who was a well-paid city employee and–according to the audit–a major conduit in the Agran/Krom/Kang alliance for mysterious Great Park spending, also refused to cooperate.
Burgess told investigators nothing good can come from her from talking.
She now works for the city-funded, non-profit Families Forward.