Newport Beach’s City Hall is a building which produces no revenue and costs the taxpayers of Newport Beach well over a half-million dollars each and every month simply to pay down the debt created with its construction and payment plan.
While the Irvine Company gave us the land for free, we managed to turn the “New City Hall Project” from a $46m cash transaction into a quarter-billion-dollar debacle. The City of Irvine also had their quarter-billion-dollar debacle with their Great Park project, and it is now looking very bad for the political powers who spent all that money. I have long-expected that an audit here would show the same.
Some laughed, saying that while our officials may be irresponsible, certainly they were not corrupt.
Now it has been released that the OC’s District Attorney’s Office is investigating our deputy city manager for corruption and bribery. I wish I could have said that I was proven wrong and there was nothing incorrect about the construction project– but the sad state of affairs for Newport is that the predictions by myself and others were all too right.
The project was criticized from the beginning, but the city did a good job at dodging complaints and pointed questions. I have been advocating for an audit since the last election cycle. Here are just a few dates where I advocated the audit that I have documented, at the tip of my fingers: March 24 2015, Oct 13 2014, Sept 18th 2014, Aug 21 2014, Aug 20 2014, July 30 2014, and May 28 2014. There have been many more which went undocumented, as well.
When the new City Council took office, all of the newly-elected supported auditing the city hall. Dixon, however, was the one to take the reins: Her version of auditing the city hall was asking the city to audit itself– a disappointing move to say the least. The city investigated itself and proclaimed itself to be free of all wrongdoing. Not surprising.
I continued to call for an outside audit.
We need an audit, and we need it begun now, using a firm that does not have previous ties to the city of Newport Beach to ensure an unbiased audit takes place. I might suggest the same one that did the Great Park, or one of the Big Five auditing firms that does absolutely no business with Newport Beach.
It’s time to bite the bullet and admit what we have on our hands here. If there is corruption in our beautiful city then we need to beat it out of the bush and expose it for what it is. It is time to stop letting this slide.
We have a tendency in Newport to sweep bad news under the rug and pretend it never happens. That needs to end now. It is time to audit the project that resulted in a quarter-billion-dollars worth of taxpayer debt in Newport Beach. The public has a right to an outside audit, and absolutely no more excuses.