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TheLiberalOC Files FPPC Complaint against Irvine’s Christina Shea

Christina Shea

TheLiberalOC today filed a formal Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) complaint against Irvine City Council member Christina Shea based on her conflict of interest in serving KIA Motors a s government relations representative while also directing Irvine City Staff to expedite tasks requested by her client.  Requests by Shea to City staff were sent to them via Shea’s business email address, blurring the line between client service and constituent activity.

TheLiberalOC obtained the same documents from the city used by the Voice of OC in a story published late last year that detailed Shea’s financial conflict of interest on behalf of her client with her duties as a city council member.  Additionally, we’re calling on the FPPC to investigate Shea’s delay in disclosing a behested Payment Report that she secured from the Irvine Company in support of the Solar Decathlon that exceeded $100,000 in value.  Shea, in public comments at the Great Park Board meeting, took credit for raising tens of thousands of dollars from the Irvine Company and Five Point for the event; no form 803 was filed for in-kind or direct financial contributions from Five Point and the city of Irvine did not turn over records we believe are associated with Five Point for reasons stated in a December letter to us:

The City Attorney has determined that your request seeks certain records that may have been withheld or redacted under the following exemptions:

• Attorney client communications and attorney work product (Government Code § 6254(a));

• Materials that would expose the agency’s decision-making process so as to discourage candid discussion within the agency and thereby undermine the agency’s ability to perform its functions (Government Code § 6255 and Times Mirror Co. v. Superior Court (1991) 53 Cal.3d 1325); and

• Personal information where the public interest served by nondisclosure clearly outweighs disclosure (City of Irvine Personal Information Privacy Act, approved by the voters November 4, 2008, Government Code § 6255, City of San Jose v. Superior Court (1999) 74 Cal.App.4th 1008).

According to Shea’s Form 700 for 2014, she received between $10,000 and $100,000 from her government relations clients including KIA.

From the Voice of OC story:  “On multiple occasions since last year, Shea has contacted officials in the city’s planning department with special requests on behalf of Irvine-based KIA Motors America, which also happens to be Shea’s consulting client, according to records obtained by Voice of OC under the state’s Public Records Act.

In an interview, Shea denied doing anything wrong and asserted that the communications didn’t violate the city’s ordinances governing lobbying and ethics. She said she routinely helps businesses with City Hall issues, and that her consulting work for KIA had nothing to do with her efforts to help the Korean carmaker with requests at City Hall.

“I do this for any business that contacts me, any citizen that contacts me,” Shea said.

However, a good government expert said even if the communications weren’t illegal, they were unethical, and that Shea should “either work for KIA, or work for the city, but she really shouldn’t be doing both.”

In 2010, the Orange County Fire Authority Board of Directors approved a borrowed vehicle agreement with KIA. At the time, Shea served on the board. According to the July 22 meeting minutes, then Director Bill Campbell pulled the item for comment so he could “acknowledge Director Shea’s effort to work with KIA Motors America, Inc.”

Shea “commended KIA Motors America, Inc. for continuing to give to the community,” the minutes read. She then abstained from voting on the agreement.

According to the Voice of OC’s story, the Shea/KIA business relationship outlines a glaring loophole in the city’s ethics, ethical public service and lobbying ordinances which Shea argued against in 2006.

From the Voice of OC story: “Shea’s actions might be construed as a violation of the ethics ordinance, but for a significant loophole. The ordinance bars council members from lobbying on behalf of clients at any public agency in the county – except the city.”

Since Shea is less than candid about her actual work and billable hours on behalf of KIA and reluctant to recognize the ethical conflict her work for the company presents to city staff, it’s time for the FPPC to thoroughly investigate the matter.  It’s also time for the Irvine City Council to close this “significant loophole” in  the city’s ethics ordinance.

TheLiberalOC filed two FPPC complaints last year against Santa Ana Planning Commissioners Eric Alderete and Sean H. Mill which resulted in both men taking corrective action in refilling their Form 700s.



  1. Christina Shea Christina Shea January 13, 2016

    Your excavatiing of my day to day activities, to find some wrong doing won’t be a successful venture, Dan.
    You failed to state our City Attorney provided me with an extensive response to my request to look into thiese recent accusations. They wrote a determination that stated I did not violate any local laws or ethics rules or policies
    This is a political year and I wouldn’t expect anything other than your false accusations coloring your OCliberal blog You remained silent in the face of the mismanagement of our Great Park finances by your Irvine friends in the majority for so many years. I never saw one pencil mark in your publications calling them to accountability. It’s another year to campaign, so I and others must endure your endless searching for phantoms that won’t arise in the dark holes you so enjoy exploring, excavating and habitating ! Happy New Year!

    • Christina Shea Christina Shea January 13, 2016

      By the way Dan, I voted for the ethics and lobbying ordinance your article is again misleading your readers.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | January 13, 2016

      Thanks. I will file my PRA for those documents tomorrow

      • Christina Shea Christina Shea January 13, 2016

        You are filing your comaint against the former majority for squandering 225 plus million dollars of taxpayer dollars at the Great Park?
        It’s about time …

        • Dan Chmilelewski Dan Chmilelewski January 13, 2016

          Do you believe every dollar was squandered? The CEO’s salary? Staff salaries? The delays from Lennar and their demands. The cleaning of the soil? Every dollar was squandered? How about your trip to Europe to examine other parks? Was that wasted too? Well, we’ll see what happens when the audit of the audit comes out won’t we?

          • junior junior January 14, 2016

            And then we will have the audit of the audit of the audit …………… I’m confused now …….. let’s audit the California legislature.

    • Don Don January 14, 2016

      You took money from a local Irvine business and then lobbied city staff for that business? Are you kidding me? It looks like the city is for sale and you’re making out like a bandit. You have crossed the line on this one and should resign immediately.

      • Christina Christina January 14, 2016

        I never took money from a local business and lobbied a City staff member, there was no lobbying whatsoever.
        You need to read our lobbying ordinance to understand the difference from lobbying and having a right to call staff to get clarification on any company, or citizen issue or request.
        I sell real estate and I call staff periodically to discuss zoning issues, flood zone issues on and on and I make money from real estate. I am, by law, a part time Councilmember not full time, and our residents expect me to work other jobs to pay my bills. I therefore, have the right to access our city staff like any other member of the business community. Dan is trying to make an issue without proper disclosure of facts.

        • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | January 14, 2016

          Your emails to staff on behalf of your client suggest otherwise; you are contacting staff under your business email and they response to you as council member. I’m sorry if you fail to see the conflict here. The FPPC will sort it out. Also, you never would have submitted form 803 if it wasn’t for my inquiry. Your emails to staff made it clear, you had no idea what that was about.

        • Don Don January 14, 2016

          I don’t know about your local ordinance. But it is clearly a violation of state law. And it may be a crime. You need a lawyer.

  2. Frank Caruso Frank Caruso January 13, 2016

    As a former police officer for Irvine, I have the utmost respect for Christina Shea. She has always been one of the most caring and ethical persons I have known on city council. Dan, it wouldn’t surprise me if you have a political agenda here. Dan, I heard you were working with Jeff Lalloway which is very concerning to me.

    • junior junior January 14, 2016

      “Dan, it wouldn’t surprise me if you have a political agenda here.”

      Ya think …. ?? Ha – ha!

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | January 14, 2016

      Officer Frank, this is a Liberal blog. And Ms. Shea doesn’t have a political agenda? Ha!

      You heard I was working with Jeff Lalloway? I wish you could have heard me laugh just now. We’ve ripped Mr. Lalloway on this blog multiple times.

      The only thing I “work” with Mr. Lalloway on is a friendly bet between Syracuse and Villanova basketball (he leads 2-1); the one thing we agree on is the demise of the Old Big East Conference for basketball. That’s it.

  3. Ltpar Ltpar January 14, 2016

    Dan, you never cease to amaze me continuing to be nothing more than a two bit political shill, grasping at straws and beating dead horses. I would be surprised if the FPPC touches your bullshit allegations, especially since the City Attorney has already advised on it. I also can hardly believe you have the gall to reference the “Ethics Ordinance” after ten years of the Agranista Gang ruling the city with no ethics whatsoever. Oh, sorry I forgot you are a Democrat and we all know their motto is “Don’t do as I do, do as I say.” I also heard the rumor that you were helping Jeff Lalloway in his pathetic attempt to smear Christina Shea in hopes of dissuading her from running in 2016. If I were Mr. Lalloway and his clone Mrs. Schott, I would be worrying about their own political future since they have not been team players with the two Republicans who have been around twice as long as they have. Add to that both Shea and Choi are popular with voters and have worked tirelessly for them, even when in the minority. I will personally be working against Lalloway’s and Schott’s reelection in the future. Who knows I might even support a good Independent Candidate if there are any running.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski January 14, 2016

      Language Pat. Language. You kiss your wife with that mouth?

  4. John Yopes John Yopes January 14, 2016

    Instead of firing the same old and stale Great Park insults at you for daring to raise ethical questions about Christina Shea’s mysterious “consulting” work, Shea or one of her yelping lapdogs should explain (and document) what Shea actually does for KIA Motors that is worth $100,000 a year. In the absence of this information — made worse by Shea’s “none-of-your-business” attitude — we can only assume that she has something to hide, especially when Shea and her minions react to simple questions with hissy fit tantrums.

    • Ltpar Ltpar January 14, 2016

      John, what Shea does for a living and how much she gets paid for doing it is none of our business, that is as long as it is legal and not a conflict of interest. I believe the City Attorney has confirmed there was no conflict of interest. Not sure where you got your 100K figure but I am sure Christina wishes she was making that kind of money? I didn’t hear anyone whining about where Larry Agran earned his money when he was in office. Oh sorry, I forgot, he didn’t work and his wife supported him. That meant Larry had more time to develop is conflict of interest payouts to his former political advisors and other contributors to the Agranista campaign. Sorry John, there is a new Sheriff in town and your leftist liberal days in Irvine are done. Move on.

      • Christina Shea Christina Shea January 14, 2016

        I don’t make $100,000 a year with my contract. I sell real estate, I do part time consulting and work for the City. I may be one of a few members that work full time as a councilmember in Irvine. I am raising my 9 year old granddaughter and caring and financially helping my elderly mother as a single woman.
        It’s amazing I am attacked for working hard and following all the rules, laws and policies of the City. City Attorney review substantiated this statement, I have not violated Andy laws or ethics policies or rules. However, our former majority paid their politcal consultant $100,000 a month of Irvine taxpayer dollars, hired him on the city payroll, he then worked on their campaigns and his contract was renewed year after year following their reelections, at $100,000. And never one word was written in this blog, not one complaint filed with the FPPC or the District Attorney. But I violate no laws or ethics ordinances, and I am now the target of this phoney investigation so mailers can be written that I am under investigation, this is more than ridiculous, this is unethical, and so transparent. There is an agenda here and no facts or truth will change that agenda.

        • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | January 14, 2016

          lets see what the FPPC has to say

        • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | January 14, 2016

          Forde & Mollrich were never paid a dime to work on any election campaign for Larry Agran, Beth Krom or Sukhee Kang. I challenge you to find a single payment to them on any campaign form. You don’t seem to know how the FPPC works. I filed the complaint, provided copies of your emails to KIA and city staff, and other documentation. They will review and decide if they want to investigate you.

          • junior junior January 15, 2016

            Dan says: “I challenge you to find a single payment to them on any campaign form.”

            Of course payments to F&M would not show on a campaign form, as these high priced political campaign consultants were paid illegally from tax payer funds. Do you expect us to believe that these high roller political consultants work for gratis/free??

            Headline of Forde & Mollrich website –
            “We come from the world of political campaigns – where winning is everything and second place belongs to the first loser.”

      • John Yopes John Yopes January 14, 2016

        The question is whether Shea’s mysterious “consulting” is legal. To answer that question, we need to know exactly what she is being paid for. Unless you can provide those facts, you can’t know whether Shea is violating the law.

        Neither could the city attorney, who of course is employed by the council majority, which includes Shea.

        Reading what Shea has said above — where she says she has “the right to access our city staff” on behalf of paying clients — it seems that Shea has come very, very close to admitting that she has lobbied city staff for money.

        The $100,000 figure is from the Voice of OC article.

        Larry Agran has nothing to do with this issue. Nor does your new boggeyman Jeff Lalloway, nor does Lynn Schott. Their political sins, whatever you think they might be, does not give Shea a license to violate the law.

        No matter how many times you yelp “Larry Agran!” or “Jeff Lalloway!,” the plain fact is that Christina Shea is getting paid a very large sum of money for something, but exactly what she’s getting paid for is apparently something that neither she nor you want to tell the citizens of Irvine. From her own insistence that she “has the right to access our city staff” on behalf of paying clients, I’d say she needs a good lawyer — fast.

        • junior junior January 14, 2016

          Of course she has the right to access City staff, as any other Irvine resident does. Her title comes with “better” access – not illegal. That’s the way the game is played – nothing illegal.

          • John Yopes John Yopes January 14, 2016

            Irvine’s ethics regulations and conflict of interest code prohibits “elected officials, their Executive Assistants and appointed Commissioners from engaging in compensated employment or service for the purpose of lobbying for any private individual or organization before any local public agency in Orange County.”

            Of course Christina Shea can access city staff. But she cannot access city staff (or any officials or public administrators within Orange County) behalf of paying clients (like KIA Motors). That’s called lobbying — and it is illegal for a member of the City Council.

  5. Frank Caruso Frank Caruso January 14, 2016

    Dan, of course I know that being a liberal media blog you are going to have a natural biased against anyone who’s Republican like Christina Shea. That goes without saying. I don’t recall you ever challenging Larry Agran when he was at the great park with all the waste of money that occurred there. If I’m wrong please let me know but I find it ironic that you are questioning Christina Shea’s ethics and integrity when there has been numerous questions about Larry Agran regarding his integrity and ethics with the Great Park when $200 million of taxpayer money has been wasted on that project. This serious issue should be a priority. Just look at the park now, $200 million for some grass, an orange balloon, a carousel and a couple of buildings? Even the kids playground park area is a complete embarrassment. Where is all the uproar over this? If I recall it was Christina Shea that assisted on the initiation of an audit to get to the facts on where the $200 million of wasted money was spent and by whom. Christina is and always has been a first class act. The city is lucky to have her as a representative.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | January 14, 2016

      see my earlier response; was all $200 million wasted? There were employee and management salaries, stipends for Great Park Board members…was that wasted? Specifically, what was wasted. The PR contract resulted in the Solar Decathalon coming to Irvine twice which generated significantly more money to the city than the cost of the PR contract. Do you understand the concept of ROI? And now the state is auditing the audit and the facts will truly come out because Christina was one of two councilmembers directing the audit with no public input and no oversight. Every Great Park contract was the result of a vote of a body of elected/appointed officials.


    Donors buying political favors without being held accountable is a serious problem, because political campaigns involve the exchange of millions of dollars. One must always follow the money, and when that much money is in play, large favors are expected in return.

    Hidden powerful handful of elites anonymity control government from behind the scenes. To quote John “ethics regulations and conflict of interest code prohibits “elected officials, their Executive Assistants and appointed Commissioners from engaging in compensated employment or service for the purpose of lobbying for any private individual or organization before any local public agency in Orange County.”

    Circumventing this democratic process, cornerstone of representative government, by seeking to use raw wealth to buy the loyalties of elected officials who are supposed to represent everyone, is to undermine the entire system

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | January 18, 2016

      I found an old letter (1997) to one of Shea’s executive assistants explaining why she couldn’t represent individuals supporting the old Ice Arena in Irvine before the city council. This was well before the ethics ordinance was passed but does provide documentation that Shea doesn’t see a problem with this sort of thing.

      • junior junior January 18, 2016

        There are many circumstances in which an elected or appointed official may contact agency staff on behalf of a client, on a consultant basis, that would not be considered lobbying.

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