City Attorney Delays Report on Pulido’s Property Swap

Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido at a City Council meeting.

Nick Gerda/Voice of OC

Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido at a City Council meeting.

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Santa Ana City Attorney Sonia Carvalho announced Monday that a report on her investigation into a property swap involving Mayor Miguel Pulido and a city contractor has been delayed because it is “document intensive” and taking longer than she expected.

Carvalho made her announcement to a City Council chambers that included reporters from news organizations throughout the region who had come to the meeting on word that the report might be forthcoming.

Pulido left the meeting at the end of the council’s consent calendar and did not return.

Last month, Voice of OC reported that in 2010, Rupen James Akoubian, president of NAPA Orange County Auto Parts, sold a Westminster home to the Pulido family for $230,000 less than fair market value.

Then in 2012, the mayor sold the home at a $197,000 profit.

During the nearly two years between those transactions, Pulido voted for two separate contracts for NAPA Orange County Auto Parts, including a three-year contract in 2011 worth $1.35 million that made the Santa Ana-based NAPA store the city’s exclusive auto parts provider.

Good-government experts questioned whether the home represented at the very least an illegal gift to the mayor, if not something more serious.

Carvalho would say little to reporters about the details of her investigation. However, she did say that her review includes records that date back to the 1980s, when the Pulido family first acquired the lot from the city’s community development agency.

The city attorney also confirmed that she is looking into allegations against other current and former council members that were detailed in two other Voice of OC articles.

One article revealed a developer’s $10,000 check to a Hollywood nightclub, which subsequently contributed $10,500 to Councilwoman Michele Martinez’s 2012 Assembly campaign.

The other article showed that the same developer, Vineyards Development Corp., paid $5,000 for a legal opinion determining that former Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez could run for an unprecedented fourth council term.

A good-government expert had questioned whether the payment for the legal opinion constituted a campaign contribution to Alvarez. If it did, the contribution and her vote for the developer’s apartment complex last year were likely illegal, the expert said.

Please contact Adam Elmahrek directly at aelmahrek@voiceofoc.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/adamelmahrek

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