In a previous post, I asked how then-City Attorney Christina Talley could state at the November 13 Anaheim City Council meeting that Mayor Tom Tait had NO conflict in negotiating a new lease with the Angels.
Recap: Mayor Tom Tait is a partner in an LLC that owns property at 2130 E. Orangewood and his company, Tait Engineering Services leases a portion of that facility. Since all of this happens within 500 feet from Angels stadium property, there is a legal conflict of interest.
Mayor Tait then asked the City Attorney to explore with the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) how to avoid this conflict, and the question she asked was “if Tait gives the property to his adult, non-dependent children” could he avoid a conflict?
The FPPC issued an opinion letter on May 22, 2012 that didn’t become public until January, which said that if he does terminate ownership AND if he takes multiple steps as it applies to his leasehold interest, then he may avoid a conflict.
The story gets more interesting when you view the June 5, 2012 city council minutes, and see that the mayor abstained from voting on a development project at 2211 E. Orangewood. He knew he had a conflict on that day, as he said so when he abstained.
But again on October 9, 2012, Mayor Tait abstained at a council meeting on a development at 2125 E. Orangewood.
So, as late as October 9, Mayor Tait has a conflict, but not at the November 13, 2012, when the city attorney proclaims the mayor is conflict free.
As of two weeks ago, per the Orange County Clerk/ Recorders office, the legal owner of the property is 2130 Orangewood LLC.
And when you check the Secretary of State’s website, you will see that Tom Tait and Robert Cook are the owners of the 2130 Orangewood LLC.
So the conclusion: Mayor Tait has a conflict, and he knew it and abstained. And in viewing all legal sources, he still owns it.
So Anaheim City government—focus and do what is necessary to meet with the Angels, and negotiate a new deal with the Angels today. And don’t let these conflicts muddy the waters.
BUT if these government sites are not correct and Mayor Tait is no longer the owner of the buildings, and he gave the property to his “adult, non-dependent children,” it is a $3 million (plus) gift of property – i.e. income on which taxes must be paid.