Thursday, February 2, 2011 |Ask folks around Santa Ana about Mayor Miguel Pulido and you’ll often hear about all the business interests he has beyond being the mayor of Orange County’s largest city. And how more than once those interests have drawn public suspicion.
Most recently, he took major flack late last year when it was revealed that he was in line for a $500,000 finder’s fee for his efforts on behalf of investors to buy state-owned properties that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was trying to sell.
Additionally, the group involved Belgravia Capital, an investment firm Pulido drew a direct paycheck from last year. The OC Weekly’s Gustavo Arrellano has also pointed out other Pulido connections to RJ Brandes, the man behind the investment firm.
The properties have not been sold, and likely won’t be, given that the sale is tied up in court and Schwarzenegger is out of office. And even if they do end up being sold to that group of investors, Pulido said (after the story broke) that he would not take the fee.
However, the episode did lend credence to the claim that Pulido has his hands in many pots, and led me to his most recent Form 700, a statement of economic interests elected officials are required to make public.
A good number of the items come as no surprise to those who have followed Pulido’s career. Nonetheless, it is a long and interesting list. His professional interests run the gamut from car repair to green energy to cart manufacturing and even yoga.
Here is the list in its entirety:
- Pulido Family Trust: The mayor’s family owns the Ace Muffler auto care shop on First Street. Pulido’s 1986 election is widely credited to the popularity he achieved in his fight to save the shop from city destruction via eminent domain.
In 2009, the OC Weekly reported that the car shop’s business license was suspended. And according to a recent check of the California Secretary of State’s online database, it still is.
- Belgravia Capital: Pulido is listed as a consultant for the investment firm and was paid between $1,001 and $10,000. The OCWeekly first reported that the company’s owner, RJ Brandes, also owns Belstarr Sports Management LLC and has interests in RTP Controls — other companies Pulido worked for last year.
Pulido has also received campaign contributions from Brandes and Belgravia Capital, most recently in 2008.
- The La Farga Group: Pulido is listed as president of this company, and he took home a salary between $10,001 and $100,000. The company’s business activity is described as “consulting.”
- Fullerton Community Bank: Pulido is listed as a director, and he was paid between $10,001 and $100,000 for the job.
- Caddie: Pulido is listed as a consultant for this international cart-maker. Although it has locations throughout the world — including a branch in Mission Viejo — Pulido states that he works for the Chinese branch, in the Jia Ding District of Shanghai. Pulido was paid between $1,001 and $10,000 for his consulting work.
- RTP Controls: Pulido is listed as a consultant. The company, which according to Business Week is chaired by Brandes, helps its clients reduce the energy demands of their electrical grids. Pulido received between $10,001 and $100,000 for his work.
- Belstarr Sports Management, LLC: Pulido is listed as a consultant for another one of Brandes’ firms. The company is also a partner to Brandes’ Blenheim Equisports, which stages the riding shows at Rancho Mission Viejo in San Juan Capistrano. Pulido received between $10,001 and $100,000 for his work.
- Firm Green, Inc: Pulido is listed as a consultant, but on the company’s website he’s listed as vice president of governmental and regulatory matters. The company deals in “virtually all aspects of the global green energy business,” according to the website. Pulido received $10,001 and $100,000 for his work.
- Thompson National Properties: Pulido is listed as a consultant for this real-estate investment management firm with headquarters in Irvine. Pulido received between $1,001 and $10,000 for his work.
- Orbit Industries: Pulido is listed as a consultant for this electrical construction materials manufacturer based out of Los Angeles. Pulido received between $10,001 and $100,000 for his work.
- I-Cel Systems: Pulido is listed as a consultant for this energy storage unit designer and manufacturer. He received between $10,001 and $100,000 for his work.
- Laura Pulido: Laura, a writer and yoga instructor, paid the mayor between $1,001 and $10,000 in “consulting fees.”