Thursday, July 07, 2011

FMW Farewell?

Now that it appears that Facilities Management West is apparently no longer in the running to purchase the Orange County Fair and Event Center I took a little time today to reflect on the drama that has been this whole "sale" fiasco over the past couple years. I won't even attempt to chronicle all the twists and turns for you here - maybe someone else will - but it's safe to say that this was very much akin to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland.


From the ver
y get-go, when then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger decided to sell the Fairgrounds and the Fair Board attempted a stealth purchase - a move that was perceived by many as an attempt to buy the site on the cheap and use it as a retirement nest egg - things were messy, messy, messy.


The on-again, off-again sale process; the sale-that-wasn't-a-sale; the various factions attempting to buy the property or stop the sale; the rancor between long-time business partners; the multiple trips to Sacramento by City officials to pitch their plan; the City dancing with FMW, then being left at the altar; the shape-shifting by Jim Righeimer; the stupid voice mail message he accidentally left on Norberto Santana's phone; and on and on and on... You couldn't write this kind of farce if you tried.

When FMW was attempting to partner-up with the City of Co
sta Mesa, I got to know some members of their management including their main spokesman, Guy Lemmon. He's a very nice guy who does a wonderful job representing FMW's interests. I also met several times with other members of their PR apparatus as they tried to sway me to their side of the issue. Here's a good example of Lemmon's pitch for the FMW purchase of the land.

I was
surprised when FMW jilted the City of Costa Mesa and decided to go it alone in the sale process and was amused at the drama spinning around the sale. All along, I tried to carefully listen to both sides of the argument and tried to sort the truth from the fabrications. It wasn't easy.


I think FMW lost me that fateful night when their leader, Ken Fait, stepped up to the speake
r's podium in an attempt to rescue his associate, Richard Dick, from a peculiar grilling he was getting from then-mayor Allan Mansoor. Lemmon was in Arizona for the birth of a grandchild, so the FMW hierarchy was left on their own to deal with Mansoor, who was not part of the negotiating team but acted like he was that night. This short video clip will demonstrate why Fait became the face of FMW from that night on. As you watch it you'll understand why so many people distrust his motives.

So, unless FMW decides to appeal this case to the State Supreme Court, they are done. Unless old/new Governor Jerry Brown decides to move forward with the sale of the Orange County Fair and Event Center, all this drama is finished and now the current Fair Board can move forward with their profit sharing scheme. What a ride!



Don't panic if comments don't get posted promptly... I'll be on the road, away from any computer for a few hours, but your thoughts will, eventually, get posted.

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Anonymous FYI said...

The only interest FMW had in that property was to build skyscrapers. They wanted to buy the land, not the fair.

Measure C would not have stopped them from eventually building what they wanted. It would only have slowed them down.

I suspect FMW will now turn their attention to Gov. Brown in an effort to stimulate a new sale.

7/07/2011 07:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Just Wondering said...

I bet Gary was pushing the sale to move Monahans there.....

7/08/2011 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Just Wondering said...
"I bet Gary was pushing the sale to move Monahan's there..."

My theory:
He allows Riggy to play mayor because he somehow stands to gain if everyone goes along with the Riggy grand scheme to tear down the evil motels.

7/08/2011 11:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

Riggy's comment to buy up "problem motels" makes a lot of presmuptions and also has inhehrent flaws to economic reasoning.

First, it presumes that the owner of any motel would want to sell it. Second it presumes that the taxpayers are ok with him using their money to buy motels. Third,it presumes that we actually need that many "pocket parks" in the city. Who wants to go to a park along Harbor or Newport boulevard? That's where all the motels are after all.

The flawed reasoning is this: As seedy as those motels may be, they generate revenue via the TOT. A pocket park creates no revenue. I would rather see the problem properly policed, and continue to collect the revenue streams they provide.

7/09/2011 08:06:00 PM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

It’s funny that Guy Lemmon didn't really answer the question of if he would allow houses to be built. He danced around that question.

Mark :
IF you recall on June 23,2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that ANY local governing body has the right to seize ANY piece of “Private Property” through "eminent domain"... hotel owners don't have a choice (see link below). Then they are allowed to give/sell to a private development company to "develop and enhance" that property, "… for the betterment of the community". With these guys’ connection to real-estate and land developers, there will be fewer parks and more mini-malls than you suggest. We NEED more “LaMancha Centers” in Costa Mesa.

Read it and weep!

7/10/2011 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Mark said...
"Riggy's comment to buy up "problem motels" makes a lot of presumptions.."

Why don't I trust the Riggmarshal? I must be cynical.

If we had enough police instead of a 40+ sworn officer cut, the motels could be policed. They've been there for decades and the city hasn't fallen into anarchy.

I think the Riggspeak "pocket park" means: "Pals of mine will build houses or condos or commercial buildings on this prime land and will set aside a small lot in the project as a park."

And, geography buffs, what well-known business is right there in the middle of it all? The abdication of the mayor position to the pro tem starts to make sense.

7/10/2011 08:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Ptred said...

Congrats to you all for figuring out Riggy's game plan. It very obvious to anyone wih a brain what he is up to. Once again using the city to further his agenda.

If he was truly interested in solving the hotel/motel problem then he would increase police by 4 and assign them to nothing but hotel/motel enforcement. This was done in the past when manning was higher and was very successful. Instead of cleaning up one motel/hotel, you get all of them watched and dealt with appropriately. Cost savings is huge and the city wins out on TOT tax.

Normal officers assigned to patrol cannot do the job because typically a motel/hotel crook/crime investigation can take almost an entire shift to handle. You are talking about more sophisticated crooks using fraud, selling dope or even the occasional human trafficking case. Not to mention the relationships the officers have to develop with The people who live at these locations permanently because of their financial problems.

Motels and hotels are good for tax revenue for the city, and should be given the proper attention to ensure our city (yes i'm a resident) attracts the right type of people and maintains a great reputation for being clean and safe.

If anyone doubts this will work, call the Costa Mesa Police Department and ask them yourselves. Heck, if you are persistent enough they probably can provide you with the past docuementation to show it does work.

7/10/2011 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

The eminent domain laws kill me. Are we not about individual rights and liberties anymore? The foundation of our very nation?

I remember watching Hannity a few years back when the town of Palm Beach was trying to take over a "run down" area under eminent domain and re-develop it. It was mostly older homes near the harbor real estate.

Hannity was all over it, and was sticking up for the rights of the property owners. What I would expect a good conservative to do. These guys aren't good conservatives.

Good conservatives can be fiscally responsible and still put public safety first. the comments out of these guys mouths about our safety employees infuriates me and that's why I can't get behind them.

7/10/2011 01:25:00 PM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

Mark, we should NEVER confuse evil arrogance and self serving agendas, with fiscal responsibility and conservatism.

7/15/2011 06:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

FMW offers a win-win solution for state, county and the city of Costa Mesa governments – and the local community, during one of the worst economic crises ever.
With this I wonder if the business is earning sky rocketing.

11/13/2011 05:21:00 AM  

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