Santa Ana Mayor’s Tax Debt Grows

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Every year, public officials in California are required to file statements of economic interests with the public agencies they work for. The documents, which are known as Form 700, detail sources of personal income, stock holdings and real estate investments.

Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido’s Form 700 usually make for interesting reading. He collects consulting fees from a variety of clients, including, among others, green energy firms, a Chinese-based shopping cart manufacturer and an equestrian sports management company.

They’ve also proven to be a good way to keep track of his tax delinquencies.

This year is no different. On April 2, Pulido disclosed that through 2011 he had received income from a consulting business that has been suspended by the California Franchise Tax Board for nonpayment of taxes on the business.

As Voice of OC has previously reported, Pulido has neglected to pay taxes on personal income, the family’s auto care shop and his consulting business, The LaFarga Group. The articles of incorporation for the consulting business had been suspended since 2008 because of $2,000 in unpaid taxes to the state, Voice of OC found.

Since that article was published, the business’ debt to the board has grown to $2,487.75, according to John Barrett, public affairs spokesman for the Franchise Tax Board.

Because of the suspension, the business has no right to its name and has no right to sue, according to Barrett. “If you were a prudent businessman, you wouldn’t want these hanging over your head,” Barrett had said.

In the past, Pulido’s forms have detailed his service on the board of the Fullerton Community Bank, which held the mortgage on his nearly two-acre estate in the city’s Floral Park neighborhood; gave loans to Pulido’s business partners; and gave a loan to developer Michael Harrah for his planned 37-story tower, One Broadway Plaza.

Voice of OC reported last year that the bank had come under watch for “unsafe or unsound business practices,” according to documents posted on the federal Office of Thrift Supervision’s website.

Another of Pulido’s business ventures was an agreement to pitch products to other mayors on behalf of an alleged con artist who claimed to be manufacturing revolutionary lithium-ion batteries. Good-government experts said that other mayors might not have known that Pulido’s motive was personal gain, not the public interest.

He was also in line at one point to receive a $500,000 finder’s fee for his efforts to help a consortium buy state buildings that the Schwarzenegger administration was auctioning. The sale was canceled, however, and Pulido never received the fee.

Pulido did not return a text message — his preferred mode of communication with reporters — seeking comment on his latest filing.

— ADAM ELMAHREK

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