Posts Tagged Tony Rackaukas
Last week a judge stepped in to slow down the sale of the OC Fairgounds to a private developer as reported by the Voice of OC(EA). Seems hizzoner wants some time to look into all the allegations of hanky-panky that have been swirling around for the past year.
More allegations of monkey business at the fair that creates a pattern of obfuscation, disingenuousness, and misfeasance that goes back well over a year.
But wait, hasn’t Tony Rackaukas already blessed the doings with his benediction? Yep, but despite our do-nothing DA’s whitewash of the entire 2009 Summer of Fair Love, lots of people have lingering questions about the role of some of OCs leading repuglicans in this whole mess.
Those doubts are fueled by a guy named David Padilla, a Fair trustee who apparently didn’t go along with his colleagues who were busted trying to create their own entity to acquire the property. As reported in the Daily Pilot, here, and the Voice, here, Padilla, who was recently removed from the Board by outgoing Governor Schwarzenegger, still has lots of unanswered questions himself. And even a few assertions.
One of the most intriguing parts of the story was this:
Among the things the board does not know are details of the activities of the law firm of Nossaman LLP through former State Sen. Dick Ackerman as well as the activities of the county’s lobbyist, Platinum Advisors, which has close ties to county GOP Chairman Scott Baugh.
Padilla was the only board member to respond to public inquiries and records requests for information on the role of both individuals. Padilla said earlier this year that he was told Ackerman was only paid $19,000 for his work.
“I have recently determined, after months of inquiry, they were paid over $150,000 for services I have not been able to get answers for,” Padilla said. “It was my intention to continue to press for the details on both these issues.”
We know that the DA has found nothing untoward in Ackerman’s behavior, despite Ackerman’s own morphing tale, but $150,000 grand would pay for a helluva lot of schmoozing with the Guv, and it’s about time the public found out exactly what Dickie Boy was up to in Sacramento during those long hot summer days of 2009, including billings, invoices, and diaries.
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.
Oscar Wilde once described an English fox hunt thus: the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible.
While you ponder that pithiness, consider the firing the other day of junior grade deputy DA Todd Spitzer by his boss, District Attorney Tony Rackaukas. The Register reports, here.
Supposedly Spitzer was trying to get some info out of the bad toupe wearing Public Admintrator/Guardian, John Williams. The latter thought it was improper, ratted out Spitzer to Rackuakas, who for the first time in his career actually punished a politician.
A politician? Yes. For Spitzer is a former County Supervisor, Assemblyman, and had put his DA-seeking career on hold, waiting for T-Rack to end his miserable legal misrule. And Spitzer has $1,000,000 in the bank.
Anyhoo, the plot thickens when we contemplate DA spokeswoman Susan Kang Schroeder, wife of OC political impresario Michael Schroeder, the guy who brought us Mike Carona. Ms. K-S has been rumored to be a challenger to Spitzer of the DA heir apparent title.
Just writing all this crap has made me exhausted and in need of a cleansing shower.
Ta ta, for now…
This just came over the transom:
FULLERTON, CA – – Supervisor Shawn Nelson has garnered the support of Orange County’s top law enforcement leaders – Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.
“Supervisor Nelson understands the vital public safety issues facing Orange County,” said Sheriff Hutchens. “He is working diligently to make sure safe homes, schools and neighborhoods are a priority of Orange County government.”
Shawn Nelson was elected in June to finish the term of former Supervisor Chris Norby. He is on the November ballot for a four year term. His opponent is the second place finisher from the June ballot.
Nelson easily won in June in spite of a record-breaking $1.4 million campaign from public employee unions promoting his opponents. He is a former Fullerton City Councilman and a youth sports coach. Shawn and his family reside in Fullerton.