Seal Beach Councilman Shawn Boyd received nearly $104,000 in undisclosed payments from the owner of a trailer park, even as he voted to use city-backed bonds to underwrite the sale of the park to a nonprofit group, according to documents filed by the district attorney’s office.
Boyd didn’t reveal his relationship to park owner Richard Hall, for whom he began working in late 1999, to his colleagues or on required state financial forms.
Boyd also didn’t disclose on the forms, which he filed under penalty of perjury, that he had received money from Hall in 2000 and 2001.
The financial relationship between Boyd and Hall was detailed in court documents filed Wednesday by the Orange County district attorney’s office. The office opened an investigation in October into possible conflict-of-interest violations by the councilman.
Boyd, up for reelection in March, didn’t return calls seeking comment.
Hall made a profit of more than $4 million on the sale of the Seal Beach Trailer Park, which he bought in December 1998 for $2.9 million. He sold it in December 2000 for $7.45 million to a nonprofit group, using $6.4 million in city-backed revenue bonds and a $1-million state grant. The park has provided the city’s only designated affordable housing.
District attorney investigators served search warrants Wednesday on Boyd’s home and an apartment where he has been staying in recent months. Investigators seized financial and business documents, and two computers.
“We are continuing to vigorously pursue this investigation,” Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Pete Pierce said Thursday.
In an interview with The Times in September, Boyd said he had followed state conflict-of-interest laws in his dealings with Hall. He said he didn’t tell his colleagues, even in closed sessions, about his work for Hall because he feared it would be used against him politically.
In a telephone interview Thursday, Hall said he told Boyd shortly after they began working together that Boyd couldn’t have anything to do with the Seal Beach transaction.
“There was no conspiracy to hide anything,” Hall said. “I asked Shawn if he was cool [working on other land deals]. He said he was bulletproof.”
In all, Boyd received $123,800 in payments from Hall that continued through last month, according to the court documents. The portion of that over $104,000 is from periods outside the time of Boyd’s questioned votes.
State law bars elected officials who have received $500 or more from voting or influencing decisions for 12 months on matters that could financially benefit the giver. That covers money paid or formally promised.
Boyd, 33, listed “no reportable sources of income or loans” greater than $10,000 on his state financial forms for 2000 and 2001. He told The Times in September that he had received no money from Hall and was living on savings.
During that interview, Boyd said he expected that Hall would eventually pay him $12,000 for a mobile-home park project in Castaic and $4,000 more for an aborted apartment project in Anaheim.
“We haven’t been able to put anything together,” Boyd said in September. “Nobody makes any money until the deal closes.”
But canceled checks filed with the court show that Boyd received about $54,000 from Hall’s RHC Communities Inc. between June 2000 and January 2001. The money was listed as consulting fees, government relations work and expenses.
Hall paid Boyd an additional $65,000 between June 2000 and December 2001 through payments to consultant David Ellis of Newport Beach, according to canceled checks and invoices from Boyd’s company, Boyd Perkins. Hall paid $4,000 a month to Ellis, of which $3,000 was then paid to Boyd, plus expenses, Hall said and records show.
“I have no comment,” Ellis said Thursday.
Of the $65,000 in indirect monthly payments, $15,000 fell outside the period of Boyd’s questionable votes. The remaining $50,000, plus the $54,000 paid directly to Boyd, equals the $104,000 at issue.
An additional $4,800 payment from RHC Communities was made to Boyd Perkins in September 2001. Hall said that check was for Boyd’s work on the Anaheim apartment project.
After the first check was cashed in June 2000, Boyd voted four times as a council member and twice as a member of the city’s redevelopment agency on matters involving the mobile-home park and its sale. The vote completing the sale was on June 25, 2001. The first vote was Jan. 10, 2000.
Boyd abstained on three other council votes involving the sale. A videotape of one of the meetings shows Boyd acted not because of his relationship with Hall but because he said he was involved in similar real-estate transactions.
Boyd was elected to the council in 1998 after being endorsed by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach). He is facing three challengers in March: retired accountant Walt Miller, county planner Charles Antos and relocation specialist Beverly Pearce.
Seal Beach resident Laura Brecht, who filed complaints against Boyd with Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas and the state Fair Political Practices Commission, said voters should “have their eyes opened” to Boyd’s conduct.
She and other residents said Boyd argued for the sale of the park in community and council meetings. He acknowledged in September that he’d told Hall that several million dollars in city money was available to cover the purchase price--information that residents said inflated the asking price.
Hall denied that allegation, saying he based his sale price solely on an appraisal.