Supervisors Bring Dana Point Harbor Back Under Park Dept. Control

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The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to bring the beleaguered Dana Point Harbor back under the control of the county parks department.

The supervisors’ action, which came at the request of county CEO Frank Kim, follows a highly critical audit of the harbor and the resignation of Harbor Director Brad Gross.

The audit had found that the county-owned Dana Point Marina Inn had been handing out generous room-rate discounts to high-level harbor employees and Dana Point city officials for what in many cases were multiple-night stays.

The audit, released by the Auditor-Controller Eric Woolery, showed that discounts for 988 nights were given to employees between 2009 and 2015. Dana Point Police Chief Lynn Koehmstedt was the worst abuser of the program, at one point staying 159 consecutive nights at the hotel under the reduced room rate.

The special discounts were a part of a program that had no approval or oversight from the county supervisors, according to the audit. The supervisors did no discuss the audit during Tuesday’s hearing.

In 2005, supervisors made the harbor its own department “to provide a singular focus on [its] revitalization” according to county COO Mark Denny. And now, Denny says, it is time to bring it back.

Denny took over as the harbor’s interim director until the department is fully under the control of the OC Parks system.

“No additional resources are being requested for the harbor … there will be a reduction in two positions that will generate a little bit of savings,” Denny said.

Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett said that the savings from the reductions would be about $200,000.

Kaitlin Washburn is a news intern from the University of Missouri. She can be reached at kaitlinewashburn@gmail.com.

  • John Claxton

    Says the COO Mark Denny, the guy previously found guilty of voter fraud. Now he has an even bigger department to put all the friends, family and cronies of the BOS.