In a closed-door meeting, the Orange County Board of Supervisors agreed to sell a parcel of public land to a wealthy Newport Beach political donor named Buck Johns for $13,000. The decision happened in May. The parcel measures about one-third of an acre and sits next to Johns’ personal estate in Upper Newport Bay.
The deal between Johns and the county started smoothly, until locals began expressing concerns about the low price and lack of transparency in the process. County Supervisor Katrina Foley decided to pull the deal and have a fence around the public land taken down. But Johns threatened to sue, and now county officials have backed down and decided to let the sale go forward.
Gustavo Arellano, a columnist for the LA Times, says residents opposing this deal view the recent decision as “business as usual.”