Thursday, April 08, 2010
Treasurer Street reaches a dead end
|Orange County doesn't seem to have the best of luck when it comes to electing good treasurers. According to O.C. historian (and former OCBC CEO) Stan Oftelie, two of the county's earliest treasurers, William B. Wall of Tustin, and Josiah C. Joplin of Trabuco Canyon, were Southern Democrats and Confederate soldiers. Joplin, who fought at Gettysburg for the Old South, was elected seven times despite political charges that his son, John Booth Joplin, was named after John Wilkes Booth, President Lincoln's assassin. Joplin denied the charges.
In the 1950s, Treasurer Henry Gardner, a conservative Republican, was criticized by the Orange County Grand Jury for spending most of his workday at a Santa Ana cocktail lounge rather than investing county tax dollars. The Grand Jury said Gardner worked about 15 minutes a day, signed a few papers, then was busy getting soused by 10 a.m.
And who doesn’t know the story behind disgraced O.C. Treasurer-Tax Collector Bob Citron, Democrat, which ended in the notorious 1994 county bankruptcy? Citron pled guilty to six felony counts and three special enhancements. Charges also included filing a false and misleading financial summary to participants purchasing securities in the Orange County Treasury Investment Pool. His successor, Republican John Moorlach, was elected saying, “Chicken Little was right. The sky IS falling!”
Now Moorlach’s successor Republican Chriss Street has been found liable by a judge for $7 million in damages for breach of fiduciary duty and self-dealing. His investment powers – part of his job duties as an elected official – have been suspended by the O.C. Board of Supervisors.
To make matters worse, Street’s taxpayer-funded wages are now being garnished to satisfy the civil judgment against him. So it appears O.C. taxpayers are now footing the bill for Street’s bad debts. Street decided not to run for re-election. Good thinking. He should also do taxpayers a favor and resign.
From streetfortreasurer.com: “When we create laws, no matter how good our intentions, that exempt individuals from the consequences of their actions, we eliminate responsibility and promote irresponsibility.”