Bustamante Will Go to Jail in February

Pool photo by Michael Goulding

Former Santa Ana City Councilman and ex-Orange County executive Carlos Bustamante in court in May 2014.

Former Santa Ana City Councilman and Orange County executive Carlos Bustamante will turn himself in and begin serving a one-year jail sentence for various sexual crimes on Feb. 26.

Bustamante, 50, pled guilty in December to felony counts of stalking, attempted sexual battery by restraint, as well as misdemeanor counts of false imprisonment, assault and attempted sexual battery. He also pled guilty to charge of a grand theft by false pretense relating to a reimbursement he received from the county.

In addition to one year in jail and and five years of probation, the once rising star in the local GOP will be a registered sex offender for life.

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas originally charged Bustamante with 12 felonies and four misdemeanors for sexual assault and other allegations over an eight-year period involving at least seven women who worked for him at OC Public Works. However, those charges were reduced twice by different judges before the case was set to go to trial.

He will serve time at an Orange County city jail, according to his attorney Brent Romney, although the exact facility has yet to be finalized. He will not serve time at the Santa Ana city jail in order to avoid any appearance of favoritism, Romney said.

OC Superior Court Judge John Conley reminded Bustamante at a hearing Friday morning of the maximum sentence for his seven charges — four years and two months in a state prison, and an additional 2 years and 9 months in jail — and that he could receive that full sentence if he violates probation.

The facility will be officially chosen at a court hearing tentatively scheduled for Feb. 19 and Bustamante is set to turn himself into authorities and begin serving time on Feb. 26.

At Friday’s hearing, Assistant County Counsel James Harman read a statement from the county condemning Bustamante’s actions and demanding nearly $8,500 in restitution.

Read Harmon’s Full Statement to the Court.

Harman called Bustamante a local poster child for abuse and said the result of his actions has been reduced employee morale and a heightened distrust of management.

“When public officials abuse power and act outside the scope of their authority, everyone suffers,” Harman said, reading from a prepared statement. “How much time and money will the county be required to dedicate to the fallout from the defendant’s actions?”

Romney questioned how the county arrived at the dollar amount for the restitution request.

“We don’t have the records of who did what and when,” Romney said.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

  • buzzookaman

    HHAHAHhhaaaahahahhajaaajajajajajajajaaaaaaaaa !!!

  • astar2b

    Don’t try to escape…

  • Vern Pat Nelson

    I’m reminded, now that HB’s Dave Garofalo is back in the news, of the closing paragraph the Weekly’s Dave Wielenga wrote in his story about the disgraced Mayor’s final meeting; a similar paragraph could be written about Carlos:

    “Some may contend that Garofalo’s impending exit is proof the system works. But in situations like this, that chorus has become so familiar that it’s part of the system, too. The system works by occasionally isolating and sacrificing its most expendable member. That’s why Garofalo will likely be the only man charged in a wide-ranging investigation into his unseemly conflicts of interest, unconventional personal business, and unmistakably ambitious political associations with some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in Orange County—from developers like George Argyros, Robert Mayer and Christopher Gibbs to political machinists like Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and former Assemblyman Scott Baugh. And let’s not forget Ed Laird, the Huntington Beach businessman who “bought”—but never quite paid for—Garofalo’s publishing business to help him hide his conflicts of interest.
    Garofalo will be gone, but the rest of them are still around, certainly recruiting his next incarnation. Yep, the system works just fine.”


    • David Zenger

      Yeah, in the end it was all BS. The tough talking DA failed miserably – once again he over-charged and under-prosecuted. There was no way Mr. Law N’ Order was going go after Mauk and Campbell and Crown as accessories after the fact; or any of Bustamante’s office neighbors, either, like Jess Carbajal who must have had a pretty good inkling of what was going on in that closed room.

      Between looking the other way and later hiding the evidence in Carl Crown’s safe there was plenty of grist for the justice mill, But we can’t have that, now can we?

      And saddest of all is the fact that 3 of the “Supervisors” who presided over the Public Works cesspool (and others) actually got elected to state office through the fecklessness of their stupid opponents.

      Yep, the system works just fine.

      • LFOldTimer

        Never underestimate the stupidity of the average OC voter.

  • Kathleen Tahilramani

    You might be able to make a case that poor morale was a fall out from the Bustamante case. But, that would be pretty minor compared to the mess many of the executives around the time that Bustamante fell continued to create. They all stormed out, retired, slithered out and so far escaped any consequences. Carlos just got caught and paid the price. The others? Lucky.

    • LFOldTimer

      Not lucky. Protected.

      • Kathleen Tahilramani

        Both, Lucky and Protected. Bustamante was protected until his luck and his protectors ran out.

  • Dylan

    No one convicted of crimes by our county legal system serves their time in the Santa Ana city jail. Virtually all bed space in the Santa Ana city jail is rented out to outside agencies, mainly Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and US Marshals. The facility runs at a multi-million dollar operational deficit, and makes multi-million dollar debt payments on top of that, at the expense of local tax payers. The city uses accounting tricks to disguise the failure by factoring out “City Benefit”, an imaginary dollar value of the benefit that the city receives, that is based on an arbitrary percentage of the jail operating cost rather than actual measurable outcomes.

    • LFOldTimer

      More number gimmicks to kick the can down the road, eh? Sounds almost like our Federal Reserve. When all these financial bubbles blow it’s going to be heard on Planet Mars. I hope the Good Lord takes me before it happens. It’s going to be cataclysmic.

  • David Zenger

    Mauk and Campbell deserve adjoining cells.

  • Paul Lucas

    Hes lucky. he could have gotten double digit sentence if they wanted to really treat him like they do people who are not politically connected.

  • Jacki Livingston

    Bustamante didn’t do anything that other senior management have been doing for decades…male and female. We had one at SSA whose wife worked there, and he was cheating on her with a subordinate, even having relations in the office was busted by his wife in the County parking lot, during work hours, on the clock. The now ex-wife was never promoted, and still is working at entry level. The subordinate married him and both have skyrocketed to the top, leaping over everyone in record time, now making nearly 200 grand a year combined. He is still cheating, of course, often promoting ladies based on the tightness of their pencil skirts. He is up to his neck in the abuses and corruption of the agencies abuse of power and embezzlement. He is protected from everything, not just being a sleaze, but from assaulting and abusing employees, drinking and other misconduct by higher ups who are related or indebted to him. He makes Bustamante look like a piker. The County has made it clear that senior management are free to use and abuse any woman they please. If I were his attorney, I would be looking at the culture of abuse and entitlement to use women without any limits. He was doing a lot less than the ones I know. Carlos obviously made someone mad and they stopped protecting him.

    • Sue

      “Bustamante didn’t do anything that other senior management have been doing for decades” – seriously??? Felony Sexual Battery -PC 243? Please speak up. Do. Otherwise….

      • Jacki Livingston

        Let’s see, throwing metal chairs at subordinates, telling an employee in your car, outside their home to stop exposing the criminal conduct in the agency, because now he knows exactly where they live, telling females that kneepads are required for promotions…would I put felony sexual assault past these dirtbags? Nope. And no matter what they do, if you go to the DA , Grand Jury or NoS, with stacks of evidence, they will ignore it. We had nursing home patients being sexually assaulted and killed, and not one of our leaders blinked an eye. After a civil suit showed it…nothing.

  • LFOldTimer

    Protective custody no doubt, eh? Where will he be jailed? A high-rise on the beach? Hopefully it will be free of any El-Chapo tunnels. Or will he get one of those pay by the day jail cells with all the luxuries of modern life? Would that include companionship? How are we really any different from Mexico?

    • Paul Lucas

      Maybe a low rise on the beach of he looks into doing his time at the Seal Beach Jail which is a private run facility and is akin to Club Med

      • LFOldTimer

        It’s not just the Seal Beach jail. Fullerton has one too. I heard the County has cells for the rich and the famous too. I suspect many of them do. You can even “pay for play” in jail. How could anyone with a straight face tell us that the jail system is not a business? What the F happened to my Country?

        • Paul Lucas

          You should stop talking to Lou Correa about the jail system apparently. Jail in the US is a business. The LEO Unions and Orgs made sure of that after they got hooked on the sweet sweet taste new revenues in the form of tax dollars when Nixon declared the war on drugs. Hence we got rape kits sitting on shelves going untested in lieu of urine tests by probation officers to violate probationers for infractions of consent and get tossed in jail for having cannabis in their pee. Prisoners EVEN RIGHT NOW serving life in prison without parole for marijuana offenses only, defacto life sentences with 100+ year sentences for running dispensaries etc. Look back at the Tough on Crime laws that came vogue after Nixon. Those laws were germinated in the minds, written in the offices of, and pushed upon legislators by groups such as PORAC, the Police Chiefs association and the prison guard unions. When they wrote those laws THEY KNEW WHEN THEY DID IT, that they will have the effect of actually INCREASING CRIME and incarceration rates. They did this to place a new demand on thier services in order to swell their ranks and their penetration into the legislative field. And this was all done to increase their salaries, and pensions and demand for their services. hence we got private prisons when they reached saturation. In other words, this is STATE SPONSORED HUMAN TRAFFICKING. And Lou is guilty of aiding and abetting that scam. So yeah, Jail is a business.

          • LFOldTimer

            “You should stop talking to Lou Correa about the jail system apparently.”
            Huh? I guess you didn’t read my prior comment: “How could anyone with a straight face tell us that the jail system is not a business?” If you think I’m in Correa’s camp you must be high. Haven’t you read my posts on the US prison system? I’m the one who said that the US has the largest per capita prison population (698 per 100,000 residents) on the entire globe with the exception of the small 3rd world African nation called Seychelles. Remember? And it wasn’t just Nixon. It was all who those followed him – to include Obama – the POTUS who admitted to being a pothead and coke user in his autobiography. He’s fighting to keep weed illegal. ha. You need to get out of the Democrat – good; Republican – bad mindset. It’s just promoting more of the same. JFK was throwing young people who possessed weed in jail for life! Full disclosure: I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican.

          • Paul Lucas

            Lou Correa is the only person I know who could say that with a straight face.

          • LFOldTimer

            I don’t know all that much about Correa. I’ve never heard his opinion on the prison system. But what I do know about him would preclude me from ever voting for him. I’m not big fan of Andrew Do but I was giddy after he defeated Correa by a smideon. I know it’s incredibly hard to fathom – but a career politician like Correa could’ve magnified the damage done to our County by the other empty suits threefold. The damage he can do to the Federal government is very limited. So I don’t care if he’s elected to Congress. IMO we need a guy like Steve Rocco elected to the BoS just to shake things up. The last time he ran I voted for him. And I was proud to check the box next to his name. For me it’s not about personalities anymore. It’s about doing something to turn the ship around. And sometimes drastic problems require drastic actions.

          • Paul Lucas

            what does the LF stand for in your pseudonym?

          • Philmore

            Just when I almost guessed “Lake Forest”, sadly you lost me with the Steve Rocco admission, so “Lunatic Fringe” raced up the inside, past my other guesses and won the race. My imperfect memory from press accounts, of past impact on his elected board was closer to “pretending his non-existence” than “inspiring reform”. Did I miss something ?

          • LFOldTimer

            You think Rocco would be any worse than Janet Nguyen, et. al.? Good luck with your status quo. Look what it’s got you so far. Keep voting “D” or “R”. That’s certainly a winner 🙂

          • Philmore

            “D”, “R”, or “status quo”, or “any worse” are not mine, I though it was supposed to be about “any better”, and I remain ready to accept any till-now-unknown evidence for Rocco of that. Heck, if applicable, I’d write YOU in ! Your expressed remarks are certainly way ahead of any from those elected we have endured in recent memory! But those elected as a ‘joke’ usually tip the joke on US!

          • LFOldTimer

            Philmore, and that’s precisely the reason I would never get the support that I would need to win a political office even if I wanted to enter into that pig sty. I make too much sense. So I’m unelectable. The dirty political system only allows those in who have been vetted by the gatekeepers and are bona-fide members of the dirty club. That’s why I love it when folks like Rocco slip through the cracks. It shakes everything up and throws them off their game. Most pols hold back and don’t tell us what they really think. They worry about thier future in politics. Rocco knows he’s in for only one term and has no future in politics, so there’s no incentive for him to hold back. We need more leaders in office who don’t hold back and aren’t career politicians.

          • LFOldTimer

            Liquor Free