MOORLACH UPDATE — LOOK BACKS — January 4, 2010

It’s 2010!  The years keep passing by.  And they seem to pass by more quickly as I’m aging.

There is no news article to forward.  But, the 1995 LOOK BACK was an article former Tustin City Councilman Jeff Thomas and I laughed about for years.  We gave it the topic “I am not an alcoholic.”  It still makes me smile. 

Some of these clippings do make you laugh, as at the time, laughter was in short supply.

For Jeff Thomas, it shows that you can be vindicated in very interesting ways.

FIVE-YEAR LOOK BACKS

January 4

1990

If you want to get involved in the political process, then participate in a political club that best fits your persuasion and locale.  For me, it was an organized unit of the California Republican Assembly in the city of Costa Mesa.  It’s a great way to build friendships in your community and pursue mutually shared goals about policies, principals and politicians in your town.  You never know where you may be involved twenty years later.

The Costa Mesa Independent had a calendar section, titled “Around Town,” that provided the following announcement:

The Costa Mesa Republican Assembly recently installed its 1990 Board of Directors, including John M. W. Moorlach, president; Bernard H. Senn, vice president; Julie Sturdevant, secretary; Phillip Marx, treasurer; Peter Buffa, James L. Emerson, and James J. Meehan as directors; and Brian K. Theriot as past president.

A meeting of the Costa Mesa Republican Assembly will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11, at the home of John and Trina Moorlach in Costa Mesa.

1995

Bill Rains of the Montebello News did a follow up article about their city’s involvement in Citron’s investment pool.  It was a topic for the local OC papers during the campaign.  The article was titled “How much did they know?  OC Investment—City officials may have been warned about Citron.”  This article closes an interesting loop that started in my “MOORLACH UPDATE — Easter Break — April 17, 2009” edition.  Here is a “reader’s digest” version.

                Although Montebello officials have said that they didn’t know about former Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector Bob L. Citron’s dangerous investment practices, some evidence suggests otherwise.

                On Feb. 17, Tustin City Councilman Jeffrey Thomas, said he warned city officials at a lunch meeting that Citron was leveraging the county’s portfolio and using risky investment strategies called “inverse floaters,” and “reverse repurchasing.”

Thomas said Montebello Treasurer Phil Ramos and Finance Director Ted Nix knew that Citron was leveraging the portfolio, but both felt secure about the city’s investment because former Orange County Auditor/Controller Matthew Raabe had assured them that Orange County had enough cash on hand to handle whatever problems might arise.

The City Council, through the recommendations of Ramos and Nix, voted last June to borrow $25 million to invest in the Orange County bond pool.

The February meeting was arranged by officials from Sanwa Bank after Montebello officials said they wanted to discuss using . . . the brokerage firm where Thomas works.

The way the events at the meeting unfolded surprised Thomas, who at the time was also on the campaign finance committee of Citron’s election rival John Moorlach.

“The first thing Ramos says is, “We can’t do any business,’” Thomas said.

“I couldn’t convince either of them, and they treated me like Chicken Little,” [Thomas] said.

Sanwa Bank official Steve Rutledge said that Ramos and Nix were unresponsive, and unprofessional.

He said Nix and Ramos drank two double martinis each.  Until the meeting, Rutledge had never seen a client drink at a business meeting.

After the meeting, Thomas said, Nix and Ramos went to Citron and told him what had happened.

“Citron went ballistic,” Thomas said.

Citron accused Thomas of playing politics, and trying to secure business from Montebello if Moorlach had won the election.

About the martinis, Ramos said, “I always have a martini with lunch.”

2000

The 91 Express Lanes saga continued in The Press-Enterprise, with an article by Susan Thurston and Leslie Berkman, titled “Highway honeymoon sours—Road to controversy paved by rising tolls, revenue woes,” which mentioned my trip to Sacramento the previous December 13th.

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