60th Anniversary Entertainment Supplier Named In Ponzi Scheme
A tip of the hat to a loyal and alert reader who connected the dots and brought to my attention this weekend an article published behind the Orange County Register's paywall Friday, December 6th, indicating that Roland Barerra - Costa Mesa club owner and supplier of entertainment for the Costa Mesa 60th Anniversary celebration - was named in a civil suit accusing him of being part of a Ponzi scheme.
READ THE STORY...
The article by Eric Hartley, HERE, for those who subscribe, states that Barerra, shown in this photo from The SUN Group website, was among several other people who recruited investors for a scheme involving oil and gas investments. If you can't reach the Register article you can read this story on the official U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) site, HERE.
MORE INFO ON THE COMPANY
For a little more information on Bacerra's local company, The SUN Group, LLC, read an article from the OC Weekly from September, 2010, HERE, and from its website, HERE.
DAN JOYCE OBTAINED SUN GROUP FOR 60TH EVENT
According to information about the 60th Anniversary Celebration Committee meeting minutes available from the City of Costa Mesa web site, HERE, HERE and HERE, Dan Joyce - Community Affairs Manager, currently on Administrative Leave - introduced Barerra as the supplier of entertainment for the planned gala. The official web site for the 60th Anniversary Celebration, HERE, also identifies The SUN Group as such.
A quick search of recent Warrants - lists of items paid by the city that are typically approved as part of the Consent Calendar during City Council meetings, revealed that The SUN Group, LLC was paid more than $62,000 from May until August:
Warrant 2473, 5/21/13, HERE - $2,000
Warrant 2476, 6/18/13, HERE - $13,550 (2 items)
Warrant 2478, 7/2/13, HERE - $5125 (3 items)
Warrant 2479, 7/2/13, HERE - $39,476.40 (2 items)
Warrant 2482, 8/6/13, HERE - $1,900
ON-GOING INVESTIGATION INTO 60TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION FINANCES
The finances of the 60th Anniversary Celebration are under investigation and Joyce, along with his assistant, Christine Cordon, were placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of that investigation. Men with official-looking garb were observed hauling boxes of materials and computers from the 5th floor City Hall offices occupied by Joyce and Cordon to Police Headquarters last summer. Repeated requests by concerned citizens for information regarding the investigation and for copies of bills related to the 60th Celebration have been stone-walled for months, citing the on-going investigation.
I have no idea whether anything is amiss with the arrangements made by Joyce with Barerra and his SUN Group organization, but this latest revelation certainly does raise eyebrows and cast even darker clouds over the scandal swirling around the 60th Anniversary Celebration.
WE NEED RESOLUTION SOON...
We hope this issue is resolved soon so the taxpayers and voters of Costa Mesa can ascertain where the fault, if any, lies in the letting of no-bid contracts for services during the 60th Anniversary Celebration. The silence from City Hall only creates more distrust. As Mayor Jim Righeimer recently protested from the dais on another issue, "the silence is deafening"... We agree. To use his words, we are "shocked and appalled" about this issue and hope he will use his influence to accelerate a resolution to it soon. We're not holding our breath...