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Has OC learned key bankruptcy lessons? – Orange County Register

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When Orange County declared bankruptcy 25 years ago on Dec. 6, 1994, the move unnerved financial markets across the country. And for good reason.

This affluent bastion of conservatism was, at the time, the largest municipality in the United States to ever file Chapter 9.

It was embarrassing — and almost unfathomable that nobody had noticed the warning signs.

Maybe not nobody. Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, was a private accountant who was being prodded by some GOP leaders into running against Democratic treasurer Bob Citron. Moorlach initially resisted, but then looked at the county’s financial statements and was shocked by what he saw. He ran a campaign warning of potential fiscal calamity, but lost the race by a wide margin. He was proven correct about the county’s shaky finances and the rest, as they say, is history.

Citron, who was elected tax collector before the county merged the office with the treasurer, was personally frugal, but lacked investment experience and savvy. Grand jury testimony suggested he even consulted an astrologist on financial matters. Citron’s “exotic” investment scheme created incredible returns for a while, which convinced a lot of officials not to look too closely.


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Jeff Stearman

Jeff has experienced much success in his many years as a Realtor, consistently ranking in the Top 1% of Realtors nationally as well as the Top Agent locally. Jeff also has an MBA and Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI) designation and is Certified Short Sale Specialist and Distressed Property Negotiator and Expert. Jeff has a firm grasp on today’s real estate market and is an expert in all areas of residential real estate, including: traditional sales, residential income properties, vacation properties, luxury homes, as well as distressed properties. Additionally, with his background in mortgage & financial consulting, Jeff can help you understand the numbers side of real estate and offer valuable advice on the different types of home loans and financing options that you could take advantage of. His clients say: "If you want something done, ask a busy Realtor.” The Stearman Group has successfully sold over 3,000 homes because they carefully work with their clients to create successful solutions. They strive to solve your individual housing needs-one client at a time. His team gives only the Best Personalized Service to each of their clients every single time.

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