Lanzillo Pleads Guilty - The Yapping Begins
Yesterday it was widely reported that Private Investigator Chris Lanzillo decided to plead guilty to four (4) felonies in the case involving Mayor Steve Mensinger and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer plus then-councilman Gary Monahan that occurred more than four years ago.
LOCAL MEDIA COVERAGE
You can read the details as provided by the local media, more or less, here:
- The Daily Pilot, in which Mensinger is quoted, HERE.
- The Orange County Register, in which Righeimer is quoted, HERE.
- The Voice of OC, which basically just presented a copy of the press release from the Orange County District Attorney, HERE.
- The OC Weekly's brief article which regurgitates some of the press release with their own historical information, HERE.
Since this story broke yesterday social media has been white-hot with comments from sycophants of Mensinger and Righeimer, gloating and bleating about this "victory", and continuing to cast aspersions on the men and women of the Costa Mesa Police Department. I cannot see the Costa Mesa Public Square page, but I suspect they got so overheated that they just had to come sneaking our from behind their barricade to other Facebook pages to spew their venom, because I can see those. It's interesting that many of those taunting readers are current or former appointees of the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem. Just saying...
NO EXCUSE FOR THIS KIND OF STUFF!
I'm not going to try to replay that whole sordid affair, but I will refresh your memories a little. And, I'm not going to try to defend what apparently was done - those felonies Lanzillo pleaded guilty to yesterday. There is NO excuse for that kind of behavior, period! Even if you don't like the policies of certain politicians and fear what they might do if elected - those fears turned out to be well-founded, by the way - that kind of stuff is unacceptable.
The events involving the alleged attempt to entrap Gary Monahan - he chose not to involve himself in this legal battle for some reason - and the attempt to set-up Righeimer with a false DUI report have a preamble. I've written about this before.
...HOW IT UNFOLDED
The events above occurred on Wednesday, August 22, 2012. The day before, at the City Council meeting, a peculiar thing occurred. Before the meeting began I notices a gent escorting folks into the auditorium and placing them strategically around the room. I thought it was weird at the time. As the meeting progressed it turned out that those folks were all there to speak during Public Comments about alleged problems along Ford Road created by homeless folks. One-by-one the folks stepped up and complained about this problem. Later, then-mayor Righeimer responded in an unprecedented manner. He looked at Police Chief Tom Gazsi and commanded him and CEO Tom Hatch to present themselves at the Ford Road location the next day, Wednesday, August 22nd, at 3:00 to address this problem with residents! I've never before, nor since, seen that kind of action taken place. I thought it was strange at the time and still wonder about it today.
ADJOURNING TO GARY'S
After that meeting - Gazsi, Hatch and other staffers, plus Righeimer and Mensinger were in attendance - Righeimer and Mensinger adjourned to Monahan's gin mill at 20th Street and Newport Boulevard - just a few blocks away. I've often wondered about probable Brown Act violations happening that day, but that's a separate story. The point here is, from that point forward the intrigue with the private investigators unfolded. I've always wondered if those two events were somehow intertwined... still do.
THE GLOATING BEGAN IMMEDIATELY
So, now we have the mayor and mayor pro tem gloating and their surrogates yapping like so many hyenas, pretending to speak for all residents, and all of them seem ready to string up the men and women of the Costa Mesa Police Department, even though there is NO EVIDENCE that they knew of these events, much less directed their law firm and the investigators to do them... NONE.
LET THE CASE RUN IT'S COURSE
As I've said from the beginning, I'm willing to let the legal process run it's course and let the chips fall where they may. Lanzillo will be sentenced in January. His partner, Scott Impola, will go to trial in March.
THE BOGUS LAWSUIT PERSISTS
And yet, the bogus lawsuit filed by Righeimer and Mensinger against the Costa Mesa Police Association - the men and women of the CMPD - continues to hover like a dark cloud over this city. In that lawsuit Righeimer claims emotional damage, yet he's managed somehow to expand his business interests and is building a new country club mansion - apparently to sooth his frayed nerves. Mensinger actually found a job and has finished HIS mansion across the fairway from Righeimer.
MEAN-SPIRITED, VINDICTIVE MEN
I continue to be willing to let this drama play out, but cannot understand why the mayor and mayor pro tem persist with the lawsuit, except as a tool of political retribution. Both have demonstrated over the past half-decade that they've been in control of this city that they are mean-spirited and vindictive men. This is a perfect example of those character flaws. So, the beat goes on...