Gosh, just what does Tom Fuentes do for a living?
Recently, DtB revealed Mr. Fuentes’ Form 700s—required filings for office holders on which they declare their sources of income. 700s are all about possible conflicts of interest, that sort of thing. You know: clean government.
Well, it appears that Fuentes makes his money as a “consultant” to all sorts of firms and entities, from sleazy, right-wing propaganda outfits (such as Landslide Communications) to mysterious construction firms (Hilbrick Construction) to “institutes” of natural history (in Coto de Caza!).
He’s like a bee, pollinating posies all over the county and beyond. Sheesh.
Recently, an article in The Voice of OC revealed that Fuentes also busies himself with introducing his pals to Highly Important People and even maneuvering said pals into lucrative government positions.
Take his pal and SOCCCD trustee colleague John Williams:
…Tom Fuentes at one point had an office at [real estate auction firm LFC's headquarters], and sources close to the transaction [between LFC and the County] said he made the introduction between the company's owner and Williams.But wait! Anyone who’s ever met John knows how stupid he is. Why would Fuentes promote a government post for a stupid person? (And, sure enough, Williams has totally f*cked up the PA/PG office, or so says Common Sense and the OC Grand Jury. Twice.)
Fuentes said he couldn't remember making the introductions but admits it "may well have been the case."
"I've known the owner of LFC for 30 years. I was there for a couple of years, and I know John Williams," Fuentes said.
But, Fuentes said, "there's no business relationship" with the firm currently, which is why his state statement of economic interests (Form 700) filed with the South Orange County Community College District doesn't indicate any income from the company.
Fuentes said he had his offices at LFC several years ago when he became a senior fellow with Claremont Institute because the firm donated office space to the program. He still regularly communicates with an email address with an lfc.com tag.
Yet Fuentes said he had no knowledge of the [recent] LFC land transaction for Williams' office. However, he has always been a strong supporter of Williams, and sources say he has lobbied county supervisors on Williams' behalf.
Fuentes' introduction of Williams to LFC was around the time that Williams convinced county supervisors to combine the appointed job of Public Administrator (with an annual salary of $20,000) and the elected job of Public Guardian (which pays $138,000) and hand both offices to him.
Fuentes said he didn't recall lobbying for Williams in recent years but said he is a strong supporter and wouldn't discount the fact that he's let people at the county know his opinions in the past….
Come to think of it, why has Fuentes promoted the careers of manifestly unethical bastards such as Mike Carona, Chriss Street, and Tony Rackauckas?
It’s quite a mystery ‘cause everyone who knows Tom knows how pious he is—and how much he hates wasteful and ineffective government. To a guy like Tom, “Thou shalt not waste taxpayer dollars” is, like, the Twelfth Commandment (he’s got an Eleventh Commandment, too, but never mind about that).
Did you notice how, in the VOC article, Tom distanced himself from LFC? He doesn’t know about the recent LFC/County land thing, he says. He only hung around LFC offices ‘cause Claremont Institute had offices there, he says.
But wait just one darned minute! As we reported yesterday, people remember Tom urging, for instance, Orange Coast College to hire LFC for a big land sale. That was just three years ago.
A STAUNCH FELLOW:
And there's something else. Recently, a staunch fellow visited me. He handed me a business card. I read it. I started to speak, but he cut me off with a gesture of silence. I guess he’s the staunch, silent type.
“What’s the matter with you, dude? Are you some kinda Republican or something?” I asked.
“Why, yes. I’m a moderate Republican,” he said. He then explained that, a few years ago, Fuentes handed him a business card, the one he had just handed me.
Then Mr. Moderate Republican simply walked out the door.
Gosh. The card—which is pricey and embossed—announces that Thomas A. Fuentes is “Senior Vice President” of—you guessed it—LFC!
I’m experiencing cognitive dissonance. Surely a “Senior Vice President” for a big fancy company like LFC would get some kind of salary. But no salary from LFC is mentioned in any of Tom’s 700s! (I’ve examined Fuentes’ 700s going back many years.)
Could it be that Tom does all this work for LFC for free? That doesn’t sound like Tom at all. He's into capitalism, man. He sleeps with a Teddy Bear he calls "Adam Smith."
I’ve asked around, and it’s pretty clear that failing to indicate sources of income on 700s is pretty serious. And no wonder.
Gosh, I just don’t know what to think. What do you think?
Maybe the authorities should look into this.
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