Orange County DA raids law firm accused of political bullying
October 17, 2013
Smear campaigns and legal threats directed at political reformers are beginning to draw the attention of law enforcement in California. [LA Times]
Last week, Orange County District Attorney investigators raided a law firm that is accused of bullying political leaders across Southern California.
The Upland law firm Lackie, Dammeir, McGill & Ethir that represents police unions in Southern California announced last month it would dissolve. The firm is currently facing a lawsuit from Costa Mesa city leaders, who allege they were harassed for political gain.
Since last year, Orange County prosecutors have investigated accusations that a private investigator working for the law firm followed Costa Mesa Mayor, Jim Righeimer, home from a bar and reported him to the police for drunk driving. An officer arrived at Righeimer’s door and administered a sobriety test.
Righeimer, who is an advocate of police pension reform and was a councilman at the time, passed the test and then produced a receipt from the bar showing he had only purchased two diet cokes.
In September 2012, investigators obtained a search warrant for the home of Chris Lanzillo, the private investigator accused of following Righeimer.
After the Righeimer incident, officials in other cities, too, accused Lackei, Dammeir, McGill & Ethir of bullying.
The firm’s website, which was taken down last year, listed tactics in its “playbook” of offensives on city leaders.
“Focus on a city manager, councilperson, mayor or police chief and keep the pressure up until that person assures you his loyalty and then move on to the next victim,” the site said.
The website also listed tactics that included, work stoppages, “blue flu” strikes, storming city council meetings, holding officials up for public ridicule and targeting individuals.
“GardenGroveSucks.com was a big hit,” the site noted as an example of its style of political campaigning.