Editor’s Note: This post was submitted to us by an anonymous source who calls himself “Honest Government.”
After much speculation as to what in the world is Tom Daly doing with the building at 433 Civic Center Drive, we can now tell you that Tom Daly has built a “Records Center” at the money eating building he bought almost four years ago. From what we can tell it might be a move to have something to show for more than 10 years at the helm of a lack luster career as Clerk-Recorder. But the real kicker is that he has built his crowning achievement with no Board approval and apparently no actual contracts. The vendors have been paid and now the department is busy retroactively creating contacts to make this look all legitimate possibly before going to the Board for approval.
Since Daly has no original ideas, it appears that he took a play out of the good old boy’s remodeling play book. A play that got several O.C. Public Works officials in hot water. Daly has disregarded County policy in the past and can’t claim ignorance—read about it here.
The real question is how much is this costing the tax payers and is the Orange County Board of Supervisor’s monitoring the situation here? Also who owns this building? The County or Daly? If it took Board approval to buy the building, shouldn’t it take Board approval to move on any projects and or construction that is going on at the building? According to a report by the O.C. Public Works it was going to take $5.6 million to remodel this building to make it usable for storage of archives materials. This prompted calls from the Board for the now embattled and non-credible CEO Tom Mauk to make sure this was a good buy. At the end of the day Mauk said that the building was an asset for the county. Read the full memo here.
So how much money has been spent so far and is Daly putting his employees and others at risk since we know asbestos is present in the building and judging from the pictures below mold is a likely resident of the building?
Both Daly and Mauk think that this is worth $2.1 million dollars of your hard earned tax dollars. (And apparently the Board of Supervisors too!!!)
How do we know this is a “Records Center”? We observed two huge moving trucks deliver hundreds of boxes to a brunette who seems to be in charge of the operation at the building. She looked dazed and confused by the enormity of the project and would get jittery when we tried to snap some photos of the trucks and workers. We also observed industrial sized shelving from the outside of the building through a window that was left with the blinds open by the nervous-Nelly brunette in charge at the site. Several of our internal informants within the agency have confirmed this information and also tell us that the building does have a funky smell to it. Probably the mold that a simple carpet change and paint can’t get rid of. Does the county need another Eckhoff Building? And doesn’t the County already have a Records Center? Is this redundant? Again are any smart decisions coming out of this desk?
We also find it convenient that the current purchaser happens to be Christina Aguilar, cousin of the department’s Assistant Clerk-Recorder Renee Ramirez-Aguilar. We did a public records request last year regarding Christina’s qualifications and were told by County Purchasing Agent Ron Vienna that Aguilar was in the process of obtaining her purchasing credentials. We also questioned the potential conflict of interest that this relationship could have on the ability for Aguilar to say no to her cousin when asked to do something that is not within County policy guidelines. Vienna responded that there existed no conflict of interest. While there may not be a conflict of interest per county guidelines, we feel that a smart politician would avoid the whole situation. But again we are talking about Daly. Lets just hope that Aguilar doesn’t become the scapegoat when it all goes south.
How many times will our Board of Supervisors be fooled by Daly? They need to step up and take control of this disaster.