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Supervisor started touting the project six years ago

Business people horse racingNow that Monterey Downs has emerged as a key issue in the 5th District supervisorial race, expect incumbent Dave Potter to try to duck challenger Mary Adams’ assertion that he is to blame for giving the troubled and troubling project a foothold in Monterey County.

Potter’s story, and he seems to be sticking to it, is that he merely made some introductions.  Potter was serving on the state Coastal Commission when he met Monterey Downs developer Brian Boudreau, who was seeking a coastal permit for a Southern California development. Potter was the swing vote in his favor and they hit it off. And that’s as far as it goes, according to Potter.

The record does not back him up, however, so let’s take a look at the early days as told through government records and news accounts:

June 15, 2010: Potter meets privately with Seaside Mayor Felix Bachofner and Seaside City Manager Ray Corpuz to talk about Monterey Downs. Source: Corpuz email.

Aug. 17, 2010:  Potter and his chief aide, Kathleen Lee, attend private meeting with Monterey Downs developers Brian Boudreau and Beth Palmer, discussing “critical paths” for the project. It appears that regular “Monterey Downs team meetings” commence, with Potter’s office in the loop/attending. No other county supervisor attends. Source: Journal entry by Lisa Brinton, Seaside’s Monterey Downs project manager.

Sept. 7, 2010: Potter aide Lee is kept in the loop on Monterey Downs project development actions. No other county supervisor is included. Source: email regarding TAMC-Ped Bike program.

Proprietor’s note: For those of you just tuning in, Monterey Downs is the proposed horse race track complex planned for Fort Ord. It would include housing, a hotel, other businesses and, according to the developer, various spaces for recreation, including an equestrian center, a swim center and more. Among the downsides is that it would require removal of tens of thousands of trees, it would need a considerable water supply that does not seem to exist and, well, it’s a horse race track with all that that entails. Fortunately for the opponents, developer Brian Boudreau appears to be struggling to finance the venture, as evidenced by repeated delays in the approval processes.

April 26, 2011:  Lee continues to be kept informed on project developments. Source: Monterey Downs team meeting email.

June 2011:  Potter and Boudreau travel to Ireland to attend wedding of William de Burgh, director of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, whose brother is a leading horse breeder in Ireland. De Burgh is a backer of the Monterey Downs project. Source: Monterey Herald.

Aug. 3, 2011: Monterey Downs meeting at Potter’s office. No other supervisor attends. Source: Brinton journal entry.

Aug. 9, 2011:  Monterey Downs developers Boudreau and Palmer present the Monterey Downs project to the Board of Supervisors’ Fort Ord Committee. William de Burgh attends. Boudreau says half of all Monterey Downs employees will be brought in from outside the county. Boudreau says Potter had introduced him to Fort Ord. Potter says this is the first time he has seen the project in significant detail. Potter does not disclose his previous secret meetings with the developers, the meetings at his office, his advocacy for the project or his personal relationships with Boudreau and de Burgh. He also fails to disclose that had set up a private talk with the developers immediately following the public meeting. (Sources: meeting video, attendance records.)

Aug. 9, 2011: Private meeting with Boudreau and Palmer at Tarpy’s Roadhouse, set up by Potter using his county email and scheduling on his county calendar. FORA Executive Director Michael Houlemard invited. No confirmation of whether de Burgh attended. Source: Potter email.

Aug. 12, 2011: County Redevelopment Director Jim Cook invites Potter aide Lee to a Monterey Downs “team meeting.” No other supervisors’ staff invited. Source: Cook email.

Oct. 25, 2011: On county letterhead, Potter “as the Fifth District Supervisor and Chair of FORA” sends letter to Seaside Mayor Felix Bachofner expressing his support of Monterey Downs. Potter emphasizes that “the Monterey Downs project is unique” and says, “Please allow this letter to serve as my personal commitment to work diligently with you, City staff and County departments” on the Monterey Downs project. Potter points out his role is important because the project “will ultimately require policy direction from the Board of Supervisors.”

Potter writes, “It is important that the Monterey Downs team moves forward as expeditiously as possible” and “I look forward to working with you and your colleagues on this exciting project and should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at any time.”

The letter is not distributed to the other four county supervisors.

Oct. 25, 2011: Potter again meets secretly with Seaside Mayor Bachofner and Seaside City Manager Corpuz to talk about Monterey Downs. Potter brings the county’s chief administrative officer, Lew Bauman, to the meeting. Potter emphasizes that he wants the Monterey Downs project to move forward and not be placed at “risk.” Corpuz promptly informs Seaside’s Monterey Downs project manager Brinton that “Potter made it very clear he would not accept a revised MOU with the project being wholly in the City because he [Potter] did not want to risk another vote by the Supervisors. [Potter] did say he would be willing to work on an MOU II, my phrase, after the City approves the current MOU. MOU II could include more specific items such as where the project is located.” Corpuz schedules a closed meeting of the City Council to discuss MontereyDowns on Nov. 3. Source: Corpus email.

Nov. 21, 2011: Monterey Downs project team, including Boudreau and Corpuz, meets to discuss the “Potter concern” about Monterey Downs “moving forward.” Source: Project manager Brinton journal entry.

Nov. 30, 2011:  County Redevelopment Director Jim Cook email regarding Monterey Downs consultant is sent to Lee at Potter’s office. Source: Cook email.

May 26, 2012: When questioned by the Herald about his involvement in the project, Potter responds that “all he had done was ask his friend [Boudreau] to lend a hand to the horse park organizers.” Potter also claims “he’s seen no formal proposal and is withholding judgment until he does.” Source: Monterey Herald.


From Monterey Downs website

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jean May 19, 2016, 8:24 pm

    Impressive investigative reporting.
    In any Olympic year, a “10”

  • Eric Petersen May 19, 2016, 9:24 pm

    Lisa Brinton now works for the City of Salinas…

  • Eric Petersen May 19, 2016, 9:54 pm

    There is so much more…

    Some time ago, I started poking into the public side of Brian Boudreau’s finances. Wow! If this guy is having problems arranging for financing, I can see why! If he asked me to loan him a dollar, I would never expect to see that dollar again.

    Briefly, there are over two dozen liens of various types against Boudreau and the many small corporations he has controlled. The face value of the liens is over $600,000. There are Federal tax liens, California tax liens, and many Los Angeles County tax liens. There are a couple mechanics’ liens, one huge. The last I checked (a while ago), he was at least two payments behind on the property taxes on his personal residence (in a gated community).

    The many small corporations are a common, perfectly legal scam. A corporation is opened, does business for a while accruing debts, then closes and is replaced by another small corporation. The funds by the first corporation are difficult if not impossible to collect, due to the “corporate shield.” It is done commonly by those who do not want to pay their taxes or other liabilities.

    A couple years ago, we took a couple days and went to Los Angeles County. Malibu Farms, the family estate, is a large, green parcel in the hills over Calabasas. It is close to Mulholland Drive. My understanding is that this was the original location of the proposed Boudreau horse track, but when he tried to get the land annexed to Calabasas, it went to a vote and he was soundly defeated. He sued the woman who wrote the ballot argument against him.

    Since we were there, a fire destroyed one of the buildings on the estate. I do not know if that building has been replaced.

    The ownership of the family estate has gone through several changes. It was originally owned by Malibu Farms, Inc, which went into Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. It was then owned by a Nevada corporation, also called Malibu Farms, Inc (perfectly legal). It was then transferred to another California corporation, also called Malibu Farms, Inc.

    A bit about the bankruptcy; Chapter 7 bankruptcies are usually reasonably simple. On this one, though, there was an “adverse actionm” a filing by the trustee because the trustee noticed that something was wrong. The court noted that Brian Boudreau and his then-living father were doing some things which the court considered inappropriate.

    Lastly, after I embarked on this project, I assembled more than an inch of paper, then got sidetracked. So what I need to do is get back to work and find out what has happened during the past two years. It could be interesting!

    About my research, everything here can be verified on-line, with the exception of the visit to Los Angeles County.

  • Eric Petersen May 19, 2016, 9:58 pm

    Oh, I left something out. The idea of having several small corporations is simple, all the corporate owner has to do is quit filing required documents with the State of California, and eventually the corporation will be suspended. At that point, liabilities become difficult to collect. It does not cost anything, and there is not the fairness which is suposed to be there with a bankruptcy. Great way to get out of paying bills!

  • john m. moore May 20, 2016, 7:36 am

    Royal’s factual report impeaches Miller’s editorial in today’s Pine Cone. If only Royal and Larry Parsons had applied the same energy in analyzing two pension reform initiatives by Dr. Dan Davis(phd Cal. Tech, Mabari 18 yrs)et al , Pacific Grove city atty and mayor Kampe would be gone for their actions related to the POA law suit and those reforms. See “The Fall of Pacific Grove, Part Two(2015).” (Google it. Impeach the facts if you can.JMM)

    • Louis MacFarland May 20, 2016, 10:54 am

      John, glad you made reference to the latest issue of the Pine Cone. In my opinion, Paul Miller is an extraordinary activist and the Pine Cone is his platform, the new issue is nothing short of an election week(s) hit piece, more about trying to influence an outcome than reporting.

  • Larry Parsons May 20, 2016, 7:56 am

    The county skids were already greased for Monterey Downs at least a month earlier than the first date on this timeline. Here’s a story I wrote for the Monterey Herald in May 2010 (the first on the proposed horse-human development) on the first negotiating agreement with Boudreau’s group. It was on the Board of Supervisor’s consent agenda (typically for non-controversial items) and the then-county redevelopment chief was very bullish on the proposal. Interestingly, the board was to be briefed on the deal (evidently for the first time) in a closed session the same day. I imagine Potter was involved in getting it to this point, given his relationship with Boudreau, but I didn’t flesh out the political players. I wanted to inform the public the basics about a very large project in the works, which at the time had a very small profile. I figured there would be some public interest. I figured right.

  • Janet Collins May 20, 2016, 9:08 am

    Teflon Dave speaks with forked tongue….

  • Janet Collins May 20, 2016, 12:53 pm

    And just reading the Pine Cone today, they think that “holier than thou,Potter” walks on water, and shame on Mary Adams for maligning him in such a vicious way…She had promised to play nice, nice . He couldn’t possibly have had a hand in putting the skids to the Regional Project (BS), giving his vote to sell the Ordinance to Cal Am so that THEY could run a desal plant he surely did)…Oh yeh, and he didn’t have the fuzziest idea when Collins was asked to begin working on the Regional Project.( BS)…That crappy bunch hired a firm to “investigate” all of the Regional goings on, and guess what?? It was a firm that both Potter and Calcagno had both personally used themselves previously…And all of Collins grand theft charges were based SOLELY on Potter’s assertion that Collins missed ONE meeting…From that one meeting the County manufactured dozens of grand theft charges..Don’t we just have a wonderful D.A.???So in regard to the investigation,Conflict of interest? You think??? No wonder they couldn’t use any of THAT info, slimy bunch…Mary is not slinging dirt on Potter, poor boy…It’s there for any one to use…It takes just a little digging..and bless you Royal, you are doing just that…I could tell a lot more, but am not able to at this time….Oh, well..But suffice to say, the layers are beginning to come off the onion…Hopefully , people will see that 20 years is ENOUGH…Yes, one could say I’m just a bitter old woman, but for good reason…I could write a book…..

  • Dan Turner May 20, 2016, 2:35 pm

    Turns out there a lot of muck to rake at the bottom of Potter’s Pond.
    Also, I’m not surprised that Mr. Pine Cone has begun to call Mary Adams names. As his position on Potter becomes politically and morally indefensible, name calling is all that’s left to him.

  • Michael Baer May 20, 2016, 3:45 pm

    Wonderful investigative reporting Royal. Thank You and I will direct my friends to this article.

  • david fairhurst May 21, 2016, 9:54 pm

    Royal, please contact me. I’ll share the truth and show you the legal shenanigans Potter, Miller and yes, Heston at KSWB pulled on me to “shut him up” and destroy me. I know “Brian B.”, I went to school with him in Calabasas, he was a bully then and he is now, just as Potter is. Know that the “Slime Gnome Miller” was chased out of Malibu for his slander and garbage there (just over the hill from Calabasas and in the domain of the “coastal commie-ision”. I did my part to get “Potter” off the “Commission” with my “ranting” and introducing the legal head (Todd Sloan, an old Malibu friend) specializing in Coastal Commission Law teacher at Pepperdine U. with former State Senator Barbra Bass (a lady I have had disagreements with, but understanding that she had principals in her beliefs and her ultimate concern was for the people of California).
    What has continued to sicken me is that for over 20 years I warned your ilk about “Potter” but I was chastised because I disagreed that you had to vote for “Potter” just because he called himself “Democrat”, and that was all that counted. I made mention of that in the past on this blob and took some serious “hits” and attacks for only speaking what I see as truth. Yes, of course vote for “the” Democrat when they represent those true values and beliefs (go Bernie, crash Hitlery), but to vote for a Satin reincarnated just because he says he is one of you is what sunk this ship.
    Janet, I love you and have always appreciated the insight of “old women” and if they are a bit “bitter” there must be a damm good reason, but know that I did get my first “hit” piece on Potter in the mail, (I like the photos to put on the tar..t board) hope that there is more to come.

  • amy anderson May 26, 2016, 11:04 am

    Kudos to Royal and contributors to continue telling it like it is about Dave Potter and his buddies.
    This includes Paul Miller, who in his zeal to accuse Mary Adams of essentially lying about POtter (on the potterfacts website), did just that himself when he intimated that some of the facts for which he couldn’t find the source were probably untrue. IE, intimating that Mary and her campaign were lying, making it up. Well, 3 hours after the “hit” edition came out, Mary’s campaign called and gave Paul Miller the links to the articles that he hadn’t been able to find. So… what prevented Miller from calling Mary’s campaign in the first place and asking for the links? I’m guessing that he preferred to suggest Mary was making things up – not truthful – than to find out otherwise. Unfortunately, his hit piece convinced at least some people in Carmel not to vote for her, as told to me by strangers when I was campaigning for Mary at the Carmel PO. SHAME ON MILLER! But what did I expect anyway… Thanks again ROYAL! Another angry ‘old woman’ on the warpath!

  • bill leone May 27, 2016, 10:58 am

    Amy, we, the people of Monterey County, need more women of every kind to be on the warpath.

    bill leone (one of 6 Progressive Candidates for Monterey County Democratic Central Commitee)