Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Righeimers', Mensinger Sue Costa Mesa Police Association

The biggest story in my recent - 40 year - history in Costa Mesa broke tonight when Orange County Register columnist Frank Mickadeit broke the news that Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer and his wife, plus Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger have sued the Costa Mesa Police Officers Association!

According to Mickadeit's column, hidden HERE behind the Register paywall, the suit is a result of the DUI confrontation he had with members of the CMPD nearly a year ago when private investigator Chris Lanzillo tailed him from councilman Gary Monahan's gin mill on Newport Boulevard, called the CMPD to report an erratic driver and tailed him all the way home.  Righeimer was questioned by a member of the CMPD and was found to NOT be under the influence of anything, except maybe the two Diet Cokes he had at Monahan's.

If you want some more of the details and can't get behind the Register paywall, you can read the OC Weekly account, posted a few minutes after Mickadeit's, HERE.  I'm not surprised he broke the story... he's buddies with the current council majority and used to spend some time fraternizing with them at Monahan's pub.  He just finished law school...

According to the stories, the 43-page lawsuit outlines 14 causes of action, including assault, intimidation, malicious prosecution, defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Mensinger apparently joined the lawsuit alleging that he suffered physical, psychological and emotional damage.  Apparently, according to Mickadeit, all three plaintiffs indicated that  "they still live in fear of being "set up" by the defendants".

Apparently Lanzillo and his former employer, law firm Lackie, Dammier, McGill & Ethir, APC, are also named as defendants.

The plantiffs have apparently hired big time Irvine lawyer Vince Finaldi, of Manly, Stewart & Finaldi to represent them.  Before joining that firm Finaldi was a Sexual Abuse lawyer, among other things.

No word from the CMPOA tonight.
I'll report more as more information becomes available.  I know the Daily Pilot is working on their story as I type this.  UPDATE:  HERE is the Daily Pilot story


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Blogger kwahlf said...

And the Righeimer re-election campaign season is off to a flying start.
Fear, innuendo, fear mongering, more innuendos. It never stops and it never changes.
Have they been "set up" since this incident? No.
Is campaign season less than a year away? Yes.
Are they targeting our CM Police again? Yes!!
THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is how the councildudes, all of them, run their campaigns.
Goals for the future? Fogetaboutit!
Scott wants them to scare the hell out of the Costa Mesa voters. So they do.
I thought it would be different this time around, when they barely squeaked by last election.
It's not, they offer the same old fear mongering.
When does the McCarthyism surface?

btw, Regarding this case,
What was the conclusion of that investigation?
Did Righeimer ever announce that?

8/20/2013 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Yesterday Tony announces his run.

Today Righeimer kicks off his campaign....time for silly season.

8/20/2013 09:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

Perhaps someone smarter than I can answer this: If this drags on (and it will) would Righeimer and Mensinger be able to be party to the police's contract negotiations? Wouldn't that create a conflict?

8/20/2013 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

And, another question to consider... if there is an emergency at either of their homes, whom do they call - Ghostbusters? I guess they'd just have to direct-dial the Sheriff's Dept. and hope they can find the location.

8/20/2013 10:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

You know, if they run as a duo, Riggy could bring down Tony easily. Pairing with him can be a liability.

That's a good question, Geoff. Who would they call?

And you are also right, the Federal thing is going to be a much bigger problem than a local mudslinging fest at the courthouse.

8/21/2013 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Is that seriously a question? Who do they call? The COPS or 911. They don't call the POA or Firefighter's associations. I wouldn't want an administrator or lawyer showing up to a scene where actual emergency services are needed.
Are you insinuating that our officers wouldn't protect and serve based on political preferences? That's not cool, and I have numerous friends that would take exception to that. Not cool.

8/21/2013 07:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

Maybe a pre-emptive strike? Either way, not a day to be proud of my hometown.

8/21/2013 07:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee said...

James, by law, the plaintiff and defendant should never have contact without their attorney present. The PD was just sued by the plaintiffs. That is a very interesting area, some several shades of grey.

8/21/2013 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, very interesting, very! Perhaps third party involvement?

8/21/2013 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

But aren't they suing the POA, not the police; yes, quite grey but interesting.

8/21/2013 09:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Sue Lester said...

This is what I find especially interesting.

In the complaint, the plaintiffs are asking for injunctive relief...Relief from what???

The Mayor made several statements recently that appeared in the newspaper claiming he believes he has the support of the majority of the Costa Mesa Police Department. If he was being honest in that statement why is he seeking injunctive relief from the CMPOA who consists of sworn personnel from what I believe are the Sgt's and everyone below them? I'm not a super genius but have been accused of having common sense so what exactly does he need relief from?

There is a basic principal I was taught as a child I would like to share. The police are there to help all of us. It's their sworn duty! Most police officers are good and if you aren't doing anything wrong you have no reason to worry. Seems pretty simple.

Don't get me wrong, there are exceptions to the rule. Some police officers are bad. Just like some attorneys, politicians, doctors, teachers, real estate agents, reporters, etc; Every profession has less than honorable people with bad intentions who do horrible things, but to go after your own city's police association for something some crackpot investigator did who was affiliated with a law firm who represented not only the CMPOA but 40+ other police agency associations is mind bending!

One thing I am certain of is that if we thought our city had trouble recruiting new police officers before, we haven't seen anything yet...and YES crime is on the rise! This will insure that is a trend that continues!

I leave you with this last question...when the police department is unable to hire and people continue to transfer to other departments or retire and the city's police department can no longer protect the community, will civil suits be filed against those who deliberately created the situation? I suppose only time will tell!

8/21/2013 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Sue- you are right, again.
You were right about improprieties in the finances for our CM 60th Anniversary Celebration.
You have a great understanding of what's going on in Costa Mesa politics.

8/22/2013 08:41:00 PM  

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