A cynical person said the other day that when he was born, OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas’ mom pushed him out along with a can of white paint and a four inch bristle brush.
It’s common knowledge around town that T-Rack, as he is fondly known, rarely, if ever, pursues political miscreants, but in the case of the OC Fair Board and its odd behavior in the summer of 2009 he had no choice. See, the State AG refused to handle the issue due to a conflict of interest and dumped the investigation back to OC, where Rackauckas was waiting with paint and brush to work on his next masterpiece.
After almost a year the DA coughed up a 50 page recitation of the facts. Or to be more precise he regurgitated what was told to him by the individuals involved and subsequently passed it along as Gospel. Of course there were no depositions, no testimony under oath, or any other annoying and time consuming probative truth-getting-at devices.
According to OC’s own Picasso, the Create-Your-Own Board crew exercised poor judgment, but, since they obviously had nothing to gain from the sale except for a few miserable tix, no harm done, get it? After all, the fact that the real estate could be worth nobody-knows-how-many millions to people behind the scenes was not an issue to the DA because the new Board was to have served without compensation. And after all the DA isn’t a mind-reader, right?
So nobody did anything wrong – even though the Fair Board members clandestinely created their own non-profit to buy the Fair with the help of former State Senator Dick Ackerman, paid for The Flack with public money (later reimbursed after the fact) and also hired Ackerman, not to lobby the Legislature, oh, no for that would be illegal, but rather as a mere “consultant” to go up to Sacramento to feel out the Governor on his seriousness to sell the OC Fair property. Just talking to the Guv’s crew ain’t lobbying per the Government Code, and the Dickster is home and dry, right?
Here is the DA’s report, on page 15, quoting The Dickster:
Mr. Ackerman stated that he and the OCFEC “had absolutely no input into the language [of the bill] whatsoever.”
Um, yeah, right, T-Rack. But then there’s the problem of some acutely embarrassing words right out of Ackerman’s own mouth. Here he is in an October 23, 2009 article in the Daily Pilot in which Mr. Consultant tries to explain away his activities:
“In order for the fair to be sold, it would require budget language to authorize the state to sell it,” he said. “I did some preliminary work to get the language in the budget.”
Well that’s just swell, Dick. That language sure wasn’t going to write itself and then jump into the bill on its own, now was it? Working to get language into legislation is exactly what lobbyists do. In fact, that behavior may well serve as the very definition of lobbying. And it certainly doesn’t square with what the DA says Ackerman later claimed was his job.
And finally, note that in the report Ackerman says he had “no input.” Strike as non-responsive, Dickie-boy.
The issue isn’t whether you are a failed lobbyist, but rather that you were doing it in the first place!
I also wonder if the DA’s investigators even bothered to ask OC legislators like Assemblyman Jim Silva, just who it was was lobbying him heavily, as he indicated to OJ Blogger Vern Nelson, last year. Did he talk to Mike Duvall, who also opposed the sale? Naw, why bother.
Aw, Hell, who really cares anymore? It’s not like anybody expected Rackauckas to actually look into a case where the principals didn’t sport gang tats.
Personally, I think you have admire the certain peculiar of skill set required to be able to define something by describing all the negative space around it, and coming to the conclusion that there was really never anything there in the first place.