DA Breaks Silence on Pulido Investigation

The Orange County District Attorney’s office told the Orange County Register last week that its investigation into Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido goes on, despite the passing of a statute of limitations deadline outlined in a city report.

The DA’s probe began after a Voice of OC article exposed a questionable real estate deal between the Pulido family and a city contractor that ultimately netted the mayor a $197,000 profit.

Voice of OC’s reporting revealed that both the mayor and his brother, Luis Pulido, failed to report their financial ties to the vendor, NAPA Orange County Auto Parts, as is required by law. Subsequently, Miguel Pulido voted on two city contracts with the business.

A city investigative report by former Riverside County District Attorney Grover Trask found that Pulido likely committed several misdemeanor and felony crimes. But the statute of limitations deadline for one of the possible misdemeanors, an illegal vote, passed on Jan. 4, according to the report.

After the deadline passed, the DA’s office didn’t return a call and email from Voice of OC for comment. Then last week, the office told the Register that it was still investigating Pulido.

However, statements made by prosecutors indicate that the DA’s office is perhaps not putting much weight into Trask’s conclusions.

“Our investigation is based on the evidence that we find,” Assistant District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh told the Register. “We don’t reach our legal conclusions based on anybody else’s opinions about the law.”

That Baytieh is speaking for the DA’s office on the Pulido investigation is itself a new development. Baytieh is the office’s star homicide prosecutor and in 2012 was named California’s outstanding prosecutor of the year. He moved into the special prosecutions unit, which includes political corruption, last year.

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