The arrest of a private investigator and a lawyer hired to represent the Costa Mesa Police Officer’s Union has the first real confirmation from the DA’s office that a GPS device was used to track then council member-now Mayor Steve Mensinger’s truck two years ago, but there’s zero evidence that the Union had anything to do with it. Previously, the DA’s office would not even confirm the existence of a tracking device or acknowledge it was tied to the Union, only the council member’s lawyers said so.
The Voice of OC story has the scoop:
The investigators, Christopher J. Lanzillo and Scott A. Impola, are each charged with four felonies, including conspiracy to commit a crime of unlawful use of electronic tracking device, false imprisonment by deceit, and conspiracy to commit a crime of falsely reporting crime, the release states.
If convicted, Lanzillo and Impola face a maximum sentence of four years and four months in jail, as well as revocation of their private investigators’ licenses, according to the DA release. Each is being held on $25,000 bail.
In the months leading up to the 2012 election, Lanzillo and Impola allegedly attempted to ensnare councilmen Jim Righeimer and Steve Mensinger while they were working for the now dissolved law-firm Lackie, Dammeier, McGill and Ethir, which was retained by the Costa Mesa Police Officers Association.
The DA specifically accuses Lanzillo of following Righeimer as the councilman drove home after an evening at Councilman Gary Monahan’s bar and restaurant, Skosh Monahan’s. Lanzillo called 911 and falsely reported that Righeimer was swerving on the road and stumbled out of his car upon arriving home, according to the DA release.
A Costa Mesa police officer arrived on scene and administered a sobriety test, which Righeimer passed. The councilman only had two non-alcoholic beverages while at the restaurant, the news release states.
And in the summer of 2012, Lanzillo and Impola conspired to place a GPS tracking devince on Mensinger’s vehicle “without his knowledge or permission,” the release says.
Righeimer and Mensinger have also filed a lawsuit against the defunct law-firm, the union and Lanzillo.
Lanzillo and Impola are also accused of placing a GPS device on a vehicle belonging to an attorney working for a competing law firm. But the victims of those alleged crimes aren’t identified in the news release.
Now council member Jim Righeimer and Mensigner have field lawsuits against the investigator, the defunct law firm and the union, the union and it’s officials were not charged with any crime by the DA’s office and the two council members are going to have to produce evidence that the union somehow directed the activities of the investigator and law firm are accused of doing.
Time to drop the union from the lawsuit gentlemen.