Thursday, September 29, 2016

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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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.
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...

Labels: , , , , , ,


Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

Many, if not most people, including those who oppose the policies of Jim and Steve thought Lanzillo was guilty and his actions were reprehensible. Lanzillo finally admitting to his guilt does not have anything to do with the people who are opposing Steve in this election. It also does not mean that the police association had anything to do with Lanzillo's violation of the law.

Jim characterized Lanzillo's actions as an attempt to gather material to use for blackmail. The more obvious reason for what he did was to find something to use against Jim in the election. A stupid choice. A more logical route would have been to legally look into public records of his finances and business dealings.

Of course, the dark side doesn't bother to try to find material to smear Jay, John, and Sandy (there isn't any). They just make stuff up.

9/29/2016 03:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Atlas Shrunk said...

The "playbook" of the firm Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir (LDME) shows them rejoicing in using hardball (sleazeball) tactics by choice to influence council members and public opinion in general. It is the stuff of novels and nightmares and represents the worst fears that people have about police and the potential for a police state. That an investigator or two hired by LDME went even further beyond the pale from sleazeball tactics to criminality is not surprising. It was predictable.

There are no excuses for their actions, which were an attempt to undermine our representative process. A civil society where the military is subordinate to the civilian cannot abide the sort of activities engaged in here, ever, under any circumstances. In my opinion, even the maximum sentence of four years and four months is far too little prison time for this.

"'Tell them I went rogue and (you) had no idea and you immediately fired me,' wrote Christopher Joseph Lanzillo, a private investigator and former Riverside police officer, in a coded text message to an attorney for the union."

People have been saying that from day one and the line is repeated in one form or another on Facebook and on blog posts routinely.

9/29/2016 05:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

I hope the comments above do not imply that it is acceptable for citizens not employed by the government to engage in such tactics.

9/29/2016 08:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Terry Koken said...

“You are aging, Righeimer,” the journalist said,
“and unjustly suing our cops (la la la)
And you claim that nystagmus has addled your head,
And complain of Lanzillo’s black ops.” (cha cha cha)
“Indeed,” said Da Mare, “it has driven me nuts;
My nights, they are troubled with dreams; (la la la)
Just thinking of Diet Coke screws up my guts,
And I wake with the loudest of screams. (cha cha cha)
Just sitting up here and berating you folks
Is more than a poor man can bear! (la la la)
Oh give me surcease from Poets and jokes,
It’s no fair! It’s no fair! It’s no fair! (cha cha cha)
---June 3, 2014. 'Nuff said.

9/30/2016 12:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

This outcome is exactly as we have said all along. There is no evidence connecting the CMPOA. No evidence that the CMPOA even knew these 3rd party contractors. The only person that would have known who this PI was, is the attorney who hired him. So, let justice be served. Anyone indicating that the CMPOA is involved is clueless or a liar. It appears Mensheimer's bootlickers can add themselves to that list. Shall we start with our own Park Commissioner, Julie Mercurio and add candidate Fitzpatrick to that list? They have been two of the biggest mouths so far, with complete lies.

Justice is being served as it should be. CMPOA is not involved and there is no evidence otherwise. Furthermore, the CMPOA should ask for attorneys fees to be paid by the city. Another instance of Mensheimer costing this city a bundle. Bye bye $$$$$

9/30/2016 09:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

What makes me truly sad about this whole mess is the deliberate destruction of one of the finest police departments in the United States. I worked with those officers, and I know they were good people, well trained and scrupulously honest.

Their ranks have been thinned to the point of threadbareness; they are slandered and berated for no better reason than to score political points and feed Righeimer's hatred.

I hope the people of this city have waked up and paid attention to what the Councilmen have done and are doing. If so, Costa Mesa will have a chance to restore the CMPD to its proud position as a premier arm of the law and protector of the public, as I know Sandy, Katrina, Jay, and John will do if given the opportunity following the election.

9/30/2016 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Jeff Arthur said...

Plenty of evidence linking officers to Lanzillo. As reported in the OC Register 12/18/2015:
"Costa Mesa Officer Jason Chamness -- who was president of the Costa Mesa Police Officers Association in August 2012 -- testified for prosecutors at the preliminary hearing under a grant of immunity. Chamness said the union upped its retainer to the now-defunct law firm Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir from $500 to $1,500 a month to dig up dirt on Councilman Gary Monahan and Mayor Stephen Mensinger and
candidate Colin McCarthy. The firm's official task was “candidate research,” meaning the union wanted to know if the candidates were ever guilty of open meeting law violations and how they voted on various issues in the past, Chamness testified. The defendant private detectives worked for the firm. Union officials were concerned that Mensinger, Monahan and Righeimer, who was elected in 2010, formed a bloc would meet privately to discuss public business in violation of the Brown Act, Chamness testified."

10/04/2016 01:30:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home