Detective Was Hired to Try to Find Dirt on City Council Members

Sent woman to flirt with one, called police to say another one was drunken driving


In the run-up to election day, a Riverside County private investigator said he was hired to gather dirt on two Costa Mesa councilmen seeking re-election, and sent a woman into a local sports bar to flirt with one of the elected leaders with the hope of catching him behaving inappropriately.

The alleged setup came the same August night that the investigator called police to alert them that another councilman appeared to be driving under the influence. A subsequent field sobriety test revealed that Councilman Jim Righeimer was sober.

Chris Lanzillo, a Menifee private investigator and former police officer, said in an interview that his effort to catch the council members doing something improper was legal and he declined to reveal who had hired him for the job.