Thanks to some excellent follow up work by Ukiah Daily Journal reporter Tiffany Revelle, we learned last week that the County is still paying an outrageous $308,000 per year in rent to Dominic Affinito for Affinito's 16,000-square-foot Fort Bragg Social Services building. $26,000 per month is dispatched to Affinito's Sacramento headquarters.
This is the deal that Supervisor Pinches alone objected to during Pinches' first term as supervisor in the mid-1990s even before Affinito built the thing, having first gotten four supervisors, including his Fort Bragg gofer, then-Supervisor Patti Campbell, and the “liberal” Fifth district supervisor Charles Peterson, to sign on. Pinches said at the time that if the County could afford to pay more than $25k a month in rent to Affinito, they could just as easily buy the structure outright or build one ourselves, and then Mendocino County would have a building to show for all this money. Instead, the County has paid at least 15 years of rent to Mr. Affinito, which already adds up to about $4.6 million, and Affinito's lease has years to run.
We estimate that at roughly a dollar a square foot, Affinito built the tin-roofed structure for a little less than $2 million. Social Service employees joked that the cleaning crew Affinito hired at starvation wages as after hours janitors, “emptied the trash at night, and applied for food stamps in the same building during the day.”
Can you even imagine Affinito getting away with a deal like this one anywhere else?