Santa Ana Denies Request for Report on Mayor’s Property Swap

Santa Ana Thursday denied a Voice of OC request under the California Public Records Act for the city attorney’s investigative report on Mayor Miguel Pulido’s property swap with a city contractor, citing ongoing investigations by law enforcement agencies.

Attorney-client communications are typically exempt from public disclosure under the Public Records Act. However, that privilege between the City Council and city attorney was waived when the report was completed and sent to outside authorities.

Nonetheless, the record was withheld because of ongoing investigations by the “Fair Political Practices Commission, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, and perhaps others,” City Attorney Sonia Carvalho wrote in an emailed response to Voice of OC.

Carvalho’s email was the first public confirmation that the DA’s office is looking into the matter. The FPPC probe was publicly disclosed in February.

The city launched its investigation after a Voice of OC article detailed how the Pulido family swapped a parking lot for a house in Westminster owned by Rupen James Akoubian, president of NAPA Orange County Auto Parts.

The Pulidos received the house for $230,000 below fair market value, according to public records, and Akoubian’s business was later awarded a $1.35 million, no-bid contract to provide auto parts to the city.

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