Legal complaint questions Costa Mesa Councilman Allan Mansoor's residency

Legal complaint questions Costa Mesa Councilman Allan Mansoor's residency
Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Allan Mansoor — seen here during a candidates forum in 2016 — recently received a legal complaint alleging he did not live in the city for several months last year and should have to vacate his council seat. (File photo)

Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Allan Mansoor was hit with a legal complaint this week alleging he didn't live in the city for part of last year, which would be a violation of state law, and therefore should be removed from office.

The complaint — obtained by the Daily Pilot Friday evening — claims Mansoor and his family lived for a time in a house owned by his in-laws in the 1600 block of Pegasus Street in Newport Beach.


It seeks approval from the state attorney general's office to file a "quo warranto" action to determine whether Mansoor is lawfully entitled to remain in office. Should Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra's office sign off, that action could then be filed in Superior Court.

"You shouldn't be able to break the law with impunity — especially if you're supposedly serving the city," Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission Chairwoman Liz McNabb said Friday. "It's very basic: You need to live in the city that you represent, according to the [California] Government Code. It's a rule of law issue."

McNabb said she is part of a group of people who collaborated to bring the action forward. The complaint is signed by Art Perry, a local resident who serves on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District board.

Mansoor, who is running for mayor, dismissed the allegations in an emailed statement Friday afternoon.

"If our Attorney General does not reject the politically motivated complaint outright, I will defend myself and expect to prevail based on the law," he wrote. "Regardless of any temporary circumstance between my family's move from one Costa Mesa residence to another, Costa Mesa has been mine and my wife's home for most of our lives."

Representatives from Becerra's office could not be reached for comment Thursday or Friday.

Mansoor was elected to the City Council for the third time in 2016 and his current term runs through 2020. He previously served on the council from 2002 to 2010 before winning election to the state Assembly.

According to state Government Code, if a city council member "moves his or her place of residence outside of the city limits or ceases to be an elector of the city" while in office, "his or her office shall immediately become vacant."

"Because Mansoor resided in a neighboring city … during 2017, he became immediately disqualified from continuing to serve out the remainder of his term on the Costa Mesa City Council," the complaint states. "His seat must now be declared vacant so that it can be filled by a proper replacement."

Among the documents sent to the attorney general's office are declarations from two residents on Pegasus Street who attest that they saw Mansoor regularly staying at the Newport Beach house last year.

"Numerous neighbors saw Mansoor's vehicles continuously and repeatedly parked in front of the Pegasus house late at nights and early the following mornings," the complaint states. "The lights inside the house were turned off during these periods, indicating that Mansoor spent several nights sleeping at the Pegasus house. This trend was observed for many months."

As of September 2016, Mansoor was registered to vote at an apartment in The Enclave complex near South Coast Plaza, according to records from the Orange County Registrar of Voters.

However, the complaint alleges another man listed that same apartment as his address when he updated his voter registration information last September.

Records show Mansoor registered to vote at a new address on Canyon Drive in the city's Westside in late October.

Per state law, Mansoor has at least 15 days to respond to the complaint. The original filers would then have a chance to reply.

"What the attorney general does is grant us the ability to file the lawsuit," McNabb said. "Then we would have to prove the case, and he would have to prove where he lived."

A quo warranto action isn't a foreign concept in Costa Mesa. In 2012, the sanitary district filed for and received state approval to pursue such a suit against former board member Jim Fitzpatrick — arguing that role conflicted with his other position as a city planning commissioner.

Fitzpatrick ended up resigning both positions, though he later rejoined the Planning Commission.

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