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USC’s Marshall Mess Not Over | Aitken, Ramirez Put on Class Act in OC | Huizar Sticks with Silent Treatment

USC’s Marshall Mess Not Over | Aitken, Ramirez Put on Class Act in OC | Huizar Sticks with Silent Treatment

This is an abridged version of SullivanSaysSoCal – just a few items to hold readers over during a transition … The column will shift from Fridays to Tuesdays, beginning next week, on December 18. That edition will mark a return to full length, with more items covering a broader range and one of our pointedly succinct videos in the mix … Another step in the transition is our website at, which is now ready to allow readers to sign up for digital subscriptions, ensuring they’ll get the Smartest Conversation in Town delivered weekly starting Jan. 1, 2019 … The column will continue to post weekly for free on LinkedIn until then, so stay frosty for next Tuesday, when you’ll find insights on the new crop of scooters around town, get a different perspective on Beverly Hills retail, and find out about a developing aspect of the “Blue Economy,” among other items. Here’s some grist for the mill in the meantime:

“Berkeley South” or “Stanford South” for USC?

School looks set to live out slogan in more ways than one

Some takeaways in the wake of USC Board of Trustees decision to back up Interim President Wanda Austin’s call to remove Marshall School of Business Dean James Ellis from his post … This fight isn’t over whether or not Ellis poses a legal challenge. The move on Ellis—and the manner in which it was handled and communicated beyond the president’s office and board—has set the stage for what could grow into a deep rift between seven-figure donors and givers in the eight- and nine-figure range … The two camps could gravitate toward what has been described as competing visions for USC, with the super donors aiming for a “Berkeley South” and their smaller-but-still-significant counterparts desiring a “Stanford South” … The messy proceedings at the Marshall School have likely complicated USC’s search for a new president – not to mention recruitment efforts for someone to run the business school itself.

OC’s Classy Political Class

Wylie Aitken is known by several marks of distinction – renowned trial lawyer, chair of Chapman University’s Board of Trustees, benefactor of Santa Ana-based nonprofit digital news operation Voice of OC, and mayordomo among Orange County Democrats – a group on the rise, as the recent midterms illustrated … Manuel Ramirez has several calling cards of his own, including chairman of Irvine-based accounting firm RJI International, cofounder of the Hispanic 100 PAC, and treasurer of the Lincoln Club, a cornerstone of the local GOP … Politics didn’t get in the way of Aitken and Ramirez engaging in a pleasant exchange before Chapman’s 41st Annual Economic Forecast on Dec. 13 at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa. Ramirez kindly offered regrets on the results of the recent mayor’s race in Anaheim, where Aitken’s daughter, Ashleigh, lost by a mere 400 or so votes with nearly 80,000 cast… More on Chapman’s economic outlook on Tuesday … Kudos to Aitken and Ramirez in the meantime.

Suggested Questions for Huizar

Photo: Jose Huizar Official Website
Huizar: gives public silent treatment

The FBI and IRS still aren’t answering questions about why they served warrants at offices of 14th District Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar, as well as his home and several other locations, more than a month ago … Huizar, his public staff and his private lawyer aren’t answering questions about the raid by the feds or requests for the basic financial data on Night on Broadway –at least not in public … SullivanSays will continue to ask in hopes of figuring out what the devil is going on in the City of Angels …

First up: Does anyone else find it weird that a City Council office that’s been producing Night on Broadway for five years – which drew a reported 250,000 visitors to Downtownlast year – hasn’t developed a team and process that can pull the show off without the undivided attention of the City Councilmember? …

Next up: Shouldn’t a City Council office be able to come up with all the financial information on prior Night on Broadways at the push of a button? The most recent edition occurred 11 months ago – hasn’t anyone toted up the financials of the event yet? Doesn’t the public have a right to see the numbers? …

One last question, for now, anyway: Anyone know whether Huizar’s wife Richelle—who had planned to make a run for his seat when he hit term limits in 2020 but dropped the campaign shortly after the FBI and IRS raids – has hired a different attorney from her husband’s?

Sullivan Says: Feel free to contact me at [email protected] or (213) 276-0729 with any information, questions or comments you’d like to forward.