SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Longtime Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido was under investigation Tuesday over allegations of conflict-of-interest involving a much-scrutinized real estate deal, according to reports.
The allegations center on Pulido’s purchase of a home from Rupen James Akoubian, president of NAPA Orange County Auto Parts, which he later sold for a profit of about $200,000, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Pulido later joined other council members in voting to give NAPA an exclusive city contract valued at $450,000 a year.
In a letter dated Feb. 18, officials with the California Fair Political Practices Commission notified Pulido that an investigation had been opened into the matter, The Times reported.
The move comes following a similar investigation by City Attorney Sonia Carvalho into whether granting the contract was a conflict of interest for Pulido. Carvalho delayed the release of her report on the investigation in December.
When questions concerning the transaction were first raised in December, Pulido told reporters he had done nothing wrong and that he was unsure who was behind the city contract.
“I didn’t catch the vote,” Pulido said. “In other words, I missed the vote when it came to us. It didn’t say Orange County Auto Parts. It said Integrated Building Solutions, which I didn’t know what that was. And the equity exchange that occurred on the house was not with the business. It was with the Akoubian Family Trust, which was a different legal entity.”
Last month, City Manager David Cavazos also came under scrutiny for allegedly making nearly $800,000 in pay, perks and pension this year, including a $315,000 salary that makes him one of the highest-paid employees in the state.