Heee’s Baaaack….

(Photo taken by attendee who wished to remain anonymous.)

Former Councilman Carlos Bustamante, center, returns to the council chambers three years after being arrested for multiple felony sex crimes. He's flanked by Councilman David Benavides and Jannett Mendoza, owner of Kutsi restaurant.

Three years ago, former Santa Ana Councilman Carlos Bustamante was arrested while en route to a City Council meeting and charged with felony sex crimes against several women.

His criminal trial – in which he faces two felony counts of false imprisonment, and single counts of stalking, attempted sexual battery and grand theft – is scheduled to begin Sept. 25.

But on Tuesday night it was like old times, with council members warmly greeting Bustamante in his return to the council chambers.

He took center stage with Jannett Mendoza — the 33-year-old owner of Kutsi restaurant who was being recognized that night for her restaurant’s grand opening – and was touted as a successful consultant for downtown restaurants.

“It’s great to see you,” Councilman David Benavides told Bustamante before the meeting audience. “And great to have you back in the house.”

Said Mendoza: “Carlos Bustamante, if it wasn’t for him, I would not be here today.”

Some in the audience looked on in wide-eyed amazement. One attendee snapped a photo and sent it to reporters. Local activist Joesé Hernandez would later point out during public comments the absurdity of having only three minutes to speak while the council allows a “disgraced ex-councilman” to have the limelight for 10 minutes.

“What balls!” Commented one City Hall observer upon hearing about Bustamante’s appearance.

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

  • OCservant_Leader

    “the audience looked on in wide-eyed amazement. ” this cracked me up.

    Busty looks eerily confident for someone facing a criminal trial

  • Greg Diamond

    Oh, Councilman Benevides — did ANYONE around you have the guts and brains to tell you that this was not a good idea? This will be remembered a lot longer than you expect or would want. Sigh.

  • Vern Pat Nelson

    “What balls!” the observer commented, in startlingly familiar words to those used by many of Carlos’ former female subordinates.

    Will this go through?

    • David Zenger

      Yes, things have gotten pretty relaxed around here.

      I know one thing. If I were that chick I would NOT get on the elevator alone with Busty.

    • Vern Pat Nelson

      Does busty have some kind of blackmail power over Benavides? Or they just really like each other that much.

  • David Zenger

    Busty is back! Poster boy for OC Repuglican cronyism! A “consultant!”

    But the real ethics problem is that the Supervisors need oversight filling out their paperwork!

    I’ve run out of exclamation points…

  • Paul Lucas


  • Kathleen Tahilramani

    As stated so eloquently and with ultimate grace by an individual quoted in this piece and I quote, ” What Balls!!” I can only add – ONLY IN THE OC.

    Having been on the sidelines watching Mr. B over the years I predict that the County has screwed up this case so well that Busty will end up with some kind of obscene settlement FROM the County of Orange! After ignoring the situation for years, the County BOS, CEO, CC and DA ever the pie eyed opportunists, rushed in with combat gear ablaze and proceeded to pull off the most orchestrated keystone Cop’s debacle possible.

    • Debby Bodkin

      This case will disappear into the sunset after the County BOS, CEO, CC and DA finish their public grandstanding and are sure that they have silenced Bustamante for life.

  • Kathleen Tahilramani

    Now that is a photo op only a Mother could be proud of…………..