Irvine council debates, then mostly sides with grand jury on Great Park report

By Matt Morrison

In a formal response to an Orange County Superior Court judge, the city of Irvine mostly agrees with the findings and recommendations of the grand jury report “Irvine Great Park: Legacy of Hubris?” released June 30.

With only three exceptions, City Council members agreed wholly or in part with the 14 findings and eight recommendations but there was some heated debate on some of the issues.

City Manager Sean Joyce and his staff were charged with drafting the recommended responses to be submitted in an official letter to Superior Court Judge Glenda Sanders. Options of agree, disagree, or further consideration were offered by staff for council consideration.

With the Great Park audit itself now under scrutiny by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee in Sacramento, Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine) and former assemblyman and state Sen. Dick Wagner both attended the meeting. Each voiced support for the audit findings and the current Republican council majority during public comments.

“I saw both an audit and a grand jury report that essentially say the same things and essentially confirms, in my mind, that there has been some problem and there has been some mismanagement,” Wagner said afterward.

Councilwoman Beth Krom, the only Democrat among a 4-1 Republican council majority, used her time in discussion to continue disputing the legitimacy of the audit and the grand jury report before ultimately excusing herself from the dais.

“I think it’s hubris on the part of the grand jury to essentially take information that was in the audit, which was largely what they cite and attribute it to Aleshire & Wynder (the legal firm hired to conduct major portions of the Great Park audit),” Krom said.

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