The latest rendering of Urban Village’s San Juan Hotel & Villas project. Courtesy of Urban Village
Rendering of Urban Village’s San Juan Hotel & Villas project. Courtesy of Urban Village

By Allison Jarrell

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is currently investigating allegations of criminal misconduct in a referendum that ultimately overturned the approval of the Urban Village Hotel & Villas project, which was slated to be built in downtown San Juan Capistrano.

The San Juan Hotel & Villas development, which was approved by the City Council on Nov. 19, was set to be operated by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and would have included commercial, hotel and residential uses downtown. A group of citizens opposed to the development actively petitioned against the project, and the resulting referendum led to the City Council voting 4-1 to repeal the project’s approval on Jan. 20.

Since then, the project has been the subject of two lawsuits, one from Urban Village, whose lawyers contend that the referendum was illegal. Urban Village principal Josh Host has also said in the past that he witnessed false information being given to referendum signers. The other suit was filed by a group of residents concerned that the council’s initial approvals of the project violated state planning and zoning law and the city’s municipal code and general plan.

Mayor Derek Reeve co-hosted a Coffee Chat community meeting at the Mission Grill on March 13, and during the forum, Host brought up an investigation by the District Attorney’s office, asking Reeve for insight into the matter.

“I can tell you exactly what I know to be factual,” Reeve responded. “There was a public records request yesterday by the District Attorney’s office for documents related to Urban Village.”

Roxi Fyad, a spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney, confirmed that the office is “investigating a complaint relating to allegations of criminal misconduct regarding the Urban Village referendum.”

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comments (5)

  • Wow, just wow. They have been in office a few months and they are already under investigation by the District Attorney for criminal misconduct?

    Where is watchdog Clint on this one? Oh yeah, it’s not Sam Allevato being investigated. I wish I was friends with Clint, because then I would get a free pass to break the law without ridicule.

    • Clint Worthington

      Richard Brown, if you read the City of Irvine website you will find that the Orange County District Attorney has already opened up a formal investigation into the Great Park which includes Sam Allevato.

      In reference to the referendum, if you read the last sentence of the story it states the District Attorney is investigating a complaint. They also asked for copies of documents under a public records request, which is the same public records request that you and I can do.

      Much different than a formal investigation.

  • Did you ask the City Clerk for a copy of the paperwork supplied by the DA? What documents did the DA request? Might help tell the whole story.

  • Yes please Allison, give us more information about the DA investigation. Who are they investigating? My guess it’s Patterson and Ferguson for collecting signatures by lying to people, telling us the citizens will be able to vote for or against the project. Showing false pictures of the hotel, telling people “SJC residents were left out of the process” all while wearing a city council badge! Or is the DA investigating who donated to their campaign to see if William Griffith, new hotel developer, put these puppets in office to overturn Urban Village so his hotel could be built? The citizens of this town deserve to know more about this. Please dig in Allison. PLEASE.

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