Thursday, June 25, 2015

Matt Leinart Flag Football Controversy

I've avoided posting about this issue specifically because, since the Orange County Register story by Scott Reid, HERE, was published yesterday, this issue has gone viral locally and is now reaching audiences across the country.  It seems that practically everyone has posted about it on Social Media and my brain began to hurt just thinking about it. (Just a FYI, Brad Zint wrote about this in real time almost 18 months ago in the Daily Pilot, HERE)

However, in case you're among the two or three people who have NOT heard about this - and because it is part of the Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission agenda tonight, HERE - I feel compelled to provide some information on it.

The shortest version I can provide is, according to the article, the Matt Leinart Flag Football program apparently used the non-profit status of a separate foundation to get special treatment for field use in Costa Mesa - and, apparently, other cities as well.

This is seriously problematic anywhere, but especially in Costa Mesa, where user groups have been screaming for more fields for the children of our community for years!  To have a for-profit group elbow its way up the line to get rare premium field space using false information is unconscionable - at least.

The article indicates that Mayor Steve Mensinger and Councilman Gary Monahan used their influence to get the Leinart program preferred status, and that Recreation Manager Bob Knapp resigned because of this controversy.  The article says, in part:

Knapp said he thought the access to those fields should be granted to other sports organizations that had greater interest in the community and because the city was already renting field space to another flag football league.
Knapp said he was also uneasy because the Leinart league did not meet requirements for having certain percentages of participants that are Costa Mesa residents.
“I was instructed by (Costa Mesa CEO Thomas R. Hatch) to make it happen for them, get them the fields," Knapp said referring to the Leinart league. “So I decided to move on.”
The article also discusses financial contributions made to Costa Mesa school youth sports groups by the Leinart group.

As I said, this is seriously problematic and casts a huge shadow over how city officials handled this matter.  The roles played by Mensinger, Monahan and the direction apparently given by CEO Tom Hatch require some explanation.  Tonight, at the Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, we all should have a chance to have some light shed on this issue - or not.  It seems to me that the prudent thing to do is to NOT approve the extension at this meeting, but to use the time between now and the next one, in July, to thoroughly flesh-out the issue BEFORE perpetuating what appears to be a serious mistake.  I guess we'll see.   


The meeting begins at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall, 77 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA.

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Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

The article in Deadspin is truly priceless. Comments include such gems as:

My personal favorite: "We have to keep digging! Since Leinart's involved, odds are the story's still incomplete." Get it? Incomlete, like most of his NFL passes.

That said, this will certainly turn up the heat! Follow the money.

Knapp was the last honest man in such a position, and they certainly couldn't have that.

6/25/2015 01:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

What's even sadder is that Mensinger knew ahead of time that they were granting a contract as a non-profit to a "for-profit" group. Mensinger has shown during the DG trail mess that he cares nothing for the law, and feels he is above it. Since a letter was written by the Leinert Foundation to the Costa Mesa City Council asking that they continue the "for-profit" contract under the guise of "non-profit" that makes the council as guilty as the Leinert Foundation.

Mensinger has made fools out of everyone who supported him in his efforts to obtain more fields. Apparently the only reason there is a shortage is that the city is renting them out to more than one outside organization. And, using the kids as pawns. Shameful, but not surprising.

6/25/2015 02:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Skeptical in Costa Mesa said...

And we're all surprised about any of this? stevie's judgement will come. I think he'll look good in stripes.

6/25/2015 04:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Weird. So unexpected.

6/25/2015 10:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Naturalist said...

Waitasec. Mayor Mensinger and Roland Barerra have the same patterns of behavior? Birds of a feather? Flock together?

6/26/2015 09:00:00 AM  

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