Thursday, December 11, 2014

P.I. Lanzillo Arrested in Mensinger/Righeimer Case (UPDATED)*

The office of Orange County District Attorney, Tony Rackauckas, today issued a press release, HERE, announcing the arrest of Private Investigator Chris Lanzillo and an associate, Scott Impola, for what is described in the press release as, "committing crimes against two Costa Mesa council members and a competitor attorney."  According to the press release, each are charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to commit a crime of unlawful use of electronic tracking device, one felony count of false imprisonment by deceit, and one felony count of conspiracy to commit a crime of falsely reporting crime to agency.  Both are being held on $25,000 bail and will be arraigned at a later date.  Each could face a maximum of 4 years and four months in jail, plus revocation of their private investigators' licenses.

The press release provides all the details of these allegations.  I won't reproduce them here.

The language of the press release implies complicity by the Costa Mesa Police Officers Association (CMPOA).  That is VERY troubling.  As you will read in the press release, the CMPOA retained the law firm Lackie, Dammeier, McGill and Ethir (LDME) to do "candidate research", which apparently included surveillance on Costa Mesa city council members in the run-up to the November, 2012 election.

This is a VERY unpleasant turn of event for the already-beleaguered CMPD, which has had the staff slashed by 30%, specialty units disbanded and its outstanding police chief, Tom Gazsi, depart for another job last week.

So far, no word is forthcoming from the CMPOA or their legal representatives.  I'll report more when I know more.

Later in the day two attorneys representing the Costa Mesa Police Officers Association issued statements.  The first, Paul S. Meyer, said:
The Association had the Lackie firm on retainer for years for general
legal work and administrative representation for its members. The law firm was quickly terminated when the controversy arose. The Association cooperated with the District Attorney investigation, and appreciates that the Association has not been implicated. The Association puts its members first and continues to provide strong representation.

The second, Seymour B. Everett, said:
"The CMPOA will continue to cooperate and support the DA's office with any investigation and is confident justice will be served for all parties.  As it relates to the Mensinger and Righeimer civil action, the DA's action further demonstrates that the CMPOA did not instruct, direct or encourage any alleged illegal acts by independent private investigators hired by the Lackie firm."

CMPOA President Rob Dimel, when asked about this situation, deferred to his attorneys.

Additionally, Costa Mesa Communication Director Bill Lobdell, when asked if The City would have any comment on this issue, said: "Nope."

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Anonymous David said...

While I read this blog almost daily, I missed the comments that were written about me on June 9th on this matter. Had I read it then I would have commented then.

In June the Daily Pilot published my comments which read in part:

“Every resident, whether he or she politically supports or opposes the council majority, should want the facts. And only the leaders of the Costa Mesa Police Assn. know the facts.

I encourage all Costa Mesa rank-and-file officers to direct association leadership to waive their attorney-client privilege and simply disclose what took place. The Orange County Fair Board did just that last fall in connection with an investigation.”

I once again ask the question, why wouldn’t we want to know the truth? I would hope that the rank-and-file officers who very likely knew nothing about what took place would also like to know the truth.

(And, for those who might assume that the letter was written for political reasons, I campaigned or and made financial contributions to the campaigns of both Katrina and Jay.)

12/11/2014 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Honeyman said...

If our new mayor and mayor pro-tem really cared about this city, they would take the high road and announce they were dropping the lawsuit against the CMPOA in the best interests of Costa Mesa and let the DA's office take the matter from here and abide by that decision. However, we know the chances of that happening are slimmer than Peace on Earth this Christmas season, Millard sending me a Hanukkah present, and the Lions winning the Super Bowl.

12/11/2014 01:07:00 PM  
Anonymous atlas shrugged said...

What was done to Righeimer and Mensinger was inexcusable. It matters not what your political persuasions are. It's wrong to conspire to intimidate someone using the legitimate authorities. The officer responding did his job. The persons that made the false report are despicable. No excuses. No whining. No bull excrement. What was done is wrong. Righeimer and Mensinger are entirely within their rights to demand redress in whatever legal forum they are able. The good men and women of the CMPD should demand the same answers, too.

12/11/2014 03:01:00 PM  
Anonymous CM Resident said...

I am simply amazed that any person who supports law enforcement would have anything but complete disgust for what happened and demand that the scumbags behind this be held accountable and go to jail - and that includes whoever requested or authorized these activities.

You want people to take the high road, Honeyman? Start here:

12/11/2014 03:36:00 PM  
Anonymous cindyrellawaiting said...

atlas shrugged wrote:
"It's wrong to conspire to intimidate someone using the legitimate authorities."
Do you mean like Righeimer and Mensinger have been doing for the last 4 years???

12/11/2014 04:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Dumb Biker said...

Does TR have it right for once? We'll see.......

12/11/2014 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger zennymoon said...

I would like to remind everyone that the Constitution allows the sane rights to all their citizens and our law enforcement are afforded the same rights, don't read anything into the opting for these rights. It should be mentioned PORAC had many complaints about this law firm and was the moving force to bring the firm to the forefront of action. CMPD Assoc and many other agencues are victims of this low life attorney group...
don't blame the victim..let tge statem fo it's thing. I believe in tge system, even though sone political types have avoided consequences of their acts.

12/11/2014 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger Honeyman said...

Yes, Resident, I want people to take the high road...especially the elected officials that are voted into their offices by the "other" CM Residents! Never have I said Lanzillo was anything but despicable and shady, but I expect the mayor of my city and the council members to be rise above personal agendas and do what is best for the city. I would actually have a modicum of respect for Righeimer if he did this, but he is all about what is best for Riggy and not this city.

12/12/2014 06:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Lanzillo and pal were arrested. Doesn't mean they were any more guilty today than they were yesterday. Doesn't indicate who directed them either. If it did, the CMPOA would have been arrested also. I'm still betting it was the law firm that directed this activity.

12/12/2014 08:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike O'Reilly said...

So Tony the Rack has no problem investigating and then arresting the alleged perpetrators but can't find out who laid the gravel trail in the park? Am I missing something here?

12/12/2014 01:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Teresa Drain said...

For the COIN we pay, can we get a little more than "Nope"?

See row #141 $186,883.15

12/12/2014 02:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Mike, no mystery there. T-Rac works for his friends.

12/13/2014 02:21:00 PM  

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