Conflict or No Conflict?

In a previous post,  I asked how then-City Attorney Christina Talley could state at the November 13 Anaheim City Council meeting that Mayor Tom Tait had NO conflict in negotiating a new lease with the Angels.

Recap: Mayor Tom Tait is a partner in an LLC that owns property at 2130 E. Orangewood and his company, Tait Engineering Services leases a portion of that facility.  Since all of this happens within 500 feet from Angels stadium property, there is a legal conflict of interest.

Mayor Tait then asked the City Attorney to explore with the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) how to avoid this conflict, and the question she asked was “if Tait gives the property to his adult, non-dependent children” could he avoid a conflict?

The FPPC issued an opinion letter on May 22, 2012 that didn’t become public until January, which said that if he does terminate ownership AND if he takes multiple steps as it applies to his leasehold interest, then he may avoid a conflict.

The story gets more interesting when you view the June 5, 2012 city council minutes, and see that the mayor abstained from voting on a development project at 2211 E. Orangewood.  He knew he had a conflict on that day, as he said so when he abstained.

But again on October 9, 2012, Mayor Tait abstained at a council meeting on a development at 2125 E. Orangewood.

So, as late as October 9, Mayor Tait has a conflict, but not at the November 13, 2012, when the city attorney proclaims the mayor is conflict free.

As of two weeks ago, per the Orange County Clerk/ Recorders office,  the legal owner of the property is 2130 Orangewood LLC.

And when you check the Secretary of State’s website, you will see that Tom Tait and Robert Cook are the owners of the 2130 Orangewood LLC.

So the conclusion: Mayor Tait has a conflict, and he knew it and abstained.  And in viewing all legal sources, he still owns it.

So Anaheim City government—focus and do what is necessary to meet with the Angels, and negotiate a new deal with the Angels today.  And don’t let these conflicts muddy the waters.

BUT if these government sites are not correct and Mayor Tait is no longer the owner of the buildings, and he gave the property to his “adult, non-dependent children,” it is a $3 million (plus) gift of property – i.e. income on which taxes must be paid.

19 comments

  1. This is amazing work! So does this mean the Mayor cannot negotiate with the Angels? I hope so. He apparantly sees no value in the Angels so having him removed from that process is a blessing.

  2. Anaheim Angels Fan Forever

    I looked up the FPPC letter – Mayor Tait’s conflicts exist for one year from the date he takes the steps directed by the FPPC on ownership and his company’s lease on this property. Tait needs to step aside and let the city move forward with negotiations now. Let’s keep our world champion Angels in Anaheim for years to come!

    • I agree! Is anyone else bothered that Tait KNEW he had a conflict and is not stepping aside? This is BAD. THIS must be the story. If we lose the Angels because of him…there WILL be a recall!

  3. What a sham to even inquire about the temporary transfer of the title for this property to his children! Such a shell game! So rather than be honest about his personal conflict of interest regarding 2130 E. Orangewood, he and then-city attorney Talley concoct this elaborate scheme to deceive Anaheim? This is a very serious matter and really brings to question the character of these two individuals.

    It is illegal for him to be negotiating anything with the Angels and shame on Tait and Talley for trying to deceive Angel’s management, Angel’s baseball fans and the Anaheim tax payers into thinking he can speak for the city regarding these matters.

    To knowingly deceive the public is the worst part of all. I hope this matter is brought up before the City Council. This should be made public.

  4. Interesting stuff, and a bit mystifying. On one hand, Tait recognizes that a conflict exists. He has been trying to eliminate the conflict. That’s good. But it is unclear that he has succeeded. And if he has transferred the property to his children, that does raise a real tax issue.

    Other commenters here could be dismissed as Tait bashers, but this post raises a legitimate issue that can’t be dismissed even if it comes from a Tait critic.

    Anyone familiar with the Anaheim council over the years knows that Tait recuses himself if there is the slightest perception that there might be a conflict, even when no legal conflict exists. In this situation, there is more than a slight perception. There’s no harm in bringing this issue into the open and resolving it one way or another.

    Maybe the mayor should just make a clean break and sell the property to a non-family member and be done with it.

  5. Even still Diogenes, he will not permitted to vote on issues related to the Angels for at least one year after the property closes escrow. The conflict of interest is undeniable but to be in cahoots with the city attorney is what is most devastating.

    I can understand an “Oops, I’m sorry – I didn’t know or I forgot” but this is instead a very strategic and unethical attempt to lie and manipulate the rules and then to cover it up with the help of the city attorney.

  6. If he does transfer to his kids, the tax implications are huge. They would be paying tax on a multi-million dollar windfall. The State and Feds would have a field day with that transfer. I hope his kids are very rich or else they won’t be able to afford that ‘gift.’

  7. Negotiations with the Angels haven’t begun (believe the option to renew doesn’t come up till 2016). The issue that night was regarding an ad hoc committee the council majority puppets wanted to start.

    I have personally spoken to Mayor Tait and there is no conflict. But instead of speaking to him you all spend your time insinuating wrong doing and trying to sully his good name.

    Why aren’t you all outraged that Murray and Eastman approved a $319 million streetcar when a similar project is being done for about $80 million in Cincinnati?

    Why aren’t you outraged that Natalie Meeks may have fudged numbers to obtain federal funding? Just wait till that blows up in your face in a few weeks.

    • Jason, where is the disconnect on this? The SoS and Clerk Recorder confirm he owns the property. The property is within the conflict zone. The FPPC letter states if the above are true, then he is in conflict.

      Given these facts, how can you possibly say he is not in conflict??? Did he show you anything to prove he transferred his ownership to his kids?

    • Thank you Jason for confirming that Tait is advocating through you attacks on his colleagues and city staff and continuing to deny FPPC stated conflicts. Can anyone who hasn’t been convicted of identify theft and burglary (Jason Young), explain why Tom Tait – who was once considered one of the most ethical officials in Orange County, is sinking to this level?

      • Myth v. Fact, you starting to make Jason Young look reasonable, which i would have thought impossible. Jason is a pretty nasty person online; don’t act like him.

        Jason, “I don’t know” is a pretty weak answer. You don’t like it, but Anaheim Insider has raised a legitimate point, and has done research to back it up.

        I’m willing to give Tait the benefit of the doubt, but this raises a real question that should be answered.

  8. Anaheim714 – I have no idea. Perhaps it takes time to change the paperwork over on the governments end.

    Myth vs. Fact – Everyone has the ability to contact their elected officials and ask questions. So because I reached out and asked for an explanation that means Tait is coordinating attacks on city staff with me. That is a stretch of your imagination.

  9. Diogenes I have spoken to Kris and Gail several times in person and via e-mail.

  10. The last time I spoke to Lady Murray was before the election.

    • So it’s been four or five months, at least. And you haven’t stopped bashing them. So you can’t really criticize anyone else for not contacting their elected officials and asking questions before criticizing them.

  11. Anaheim Angels Fan Forever

    Mr. Young – I agree with some of these comments that it is suspect how much you support Tait in all of your posts and excuse gaping holes in his logic and then unabashadly criticize the other members of the council for disagreements over policy issues with Mayor Tait. I’m just a casual observer and it occured to me you were working on behalf the Mayor. There is no middle ground on anything you have to say.

  12. Diogenes – I don’t need to continue to communicate with Murray and Eastman regarding subsidies, districting, or the streetcar. Their positions are clear and there is no room for discussion. I will continue to voice my opposition and/or support for whatever issues I deem fit.

    Anaheim Angels Fan Forever – you can spin whatever conspiracy theories you like. I started Save Anaheim and No Jordan Brandman without anyone’s help or influence.

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