Public Unions

Affidavit Shows Cop Union Targeting Foes

A case in California spotlights their political 'playbook'


My column last week was about two private investigators who allegedly set up a Costa Mesa councilman for a fake DUI. The PIs worked for a police-union law firm that represented the local union, which was dismayed by the councilman's policies (e.g., pension reform, outsourcing) and hired the firm to provide surveillance of them.

Is this ugly story a case of two rogue investigators or does it say more about the nature of unions?

I believe the latter, although union defenders I heard from insist it's the former. New information — an affidavit filed by the Orange County district attorney in Superior Court last week — bolsters my argument. It details the degree to which the Costa Mesa Police Officers Association was involved in political "games."

The PIs are accused of placing a GPS device on one councilman's car, and reporting a DUI on another councilman even though he wasn't drunk. No one alleges the union wanted the investigators to break the law, but the affidavit says some union officials wanted the law firm and its "candidate researchers" to track and embarrass political foes.

In March 2012 the union even asked its members to increase its dues for such purposes. Although the board members "were hesitant" to explain the purpose of the hike to an inquisitive member, "they eventually stated that the increase was for (Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir) and was going to be used to go after politicians," according to the court filing.

A top union official first denied that tracking politicians was the purpose of the money, but then "later stated the candidate research included digging up dirt on councilmembers because he believed they were corrupt and breaking the law …."

After the ensuing bad publicity following the DUI incident, the Costa Mesa Police Officers Association denounced the law-firm's tactics and fired the firm. But according to the recent affidavit filed in court, the Costa Mesa police union continued to pay the law firm "after the firm was supposedly fired."

How contrite could union officials have been?

Also following the publicity, one of the investigators, Chris Lanzillo, issued a press release saying that he was on assignment at the bar in Costa Mesa and that he couldn't give details about the assignment. But the DA's filing reveals that Lanzillo and the other investigator, Scott Impola, "made plans to place a female operative into Costa Mesa City Council Member Gary Monahan's restaurant in order to observe unethical behavior on behalf of Gary Monahan that could potentially affect the outcome of the Costa Mesa City Council election in November of 2012."

The affidavit describes a woman with a low-cut blouse coming in and Impola texting Lanzillo that she's "hooking" Monahan.

Maybe they went "rogue."

But it all looks uglier in the context of one of the emails published in the affidavit in which a Costa Mesa Police Officers Association official wrote to other board members: "maybe we should think of informing" the law firm's managing partner that Councilmen Jim Righeimer and Stephen Mensinger "will be in Vegas soon. I'm sure they will be dealing with other 'developer' friends, maybe a Brown Act or two, and I think (Mensinger) is a doper and has moral issues. I could totally see him sniffing coke of (sic) a prostitute. Just a thought."

The law firm represented 120 police unions, including the Escondido Police Officers Association, but it disbanded amid a billing scandal. And it bragged about its "playbook," which taught unions how to get their way during contract negotiations. The affidavit includes a section on the playbook, given that Costa Mesa and its union were indeed involved in negotiations at the time of the DUI call.

Under its heading, "Let the Games Begin," the playbook offers police unions this advice: "Focus on an individual: Avoid spreading your energy. 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." Yes, "victim."

In some ways, the allegations against Lanzillo and Impola are a sideshow. What does it say when police unions hire law firms that advise them to play these games that victimize their foes?

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  1. It says that the “war on cops” meme is a classic case of projection.

  2. What does it say when police unions hire law firms that advise them to play these games that victimize their foes?

    Um, it says that public sector unions are an affront to nature and need to be eliminated.

    1. THIS.

      This isnt even a pro/anti union issue. George Meany was opposed to the existence of pubsec unions.

    2. Good point, but it is not just public sector unions that are corrupt. Most all unions are corrupt and run by people that have no interest in the rank and file, but only in lining their own pockets.

  3. I still think this is a lay-down RICO case that could easily take down the whole union.

    If anyone cared to try, that is.

    1. Who’s going to arrest the culprits – the cops?

      1. Civil suit.

        No one needs to arrest them, just sue them in federal court.

  4. Because why?


  5. Dude i never thought about it like that.

  6. Paging Dunphy. Dunphy to the white courtesy phone.

  7. Locally we have #PointerGate going on.

    A good recap is here:…..sign-story

    Basically the new mayor of Mpls called out the cops on some reform stuff and pushed for body cams.

    Suddenly the cops are complaining to a local dufus reporter about how the mayor was photographed with a known gang banger throwing signs with him. The dufus buys the story and runs with it. He shows the pic on TV and gets some local cops to say that their lives are in danger because the mayor is obviously a gang banger too.

    Hilarity ensues.

    Cops scuttle off and sort of deny that they had anything to do with the story. Local dufus reporter sticks to guns.

    Even thought it is from the Daily Kos (trigger warning!) this article has some funny examples of other local pols pointing in pics (including the GOP candidate for governor in the last election)…..y-of-2014#

  8. “Cop shares his street smarts in new book”
    “”As a street cop, one of your major goals is to prevent violent crime and take felons into custody, but they don’t come to you. You have to go out and find them, and one way is stopping people for minor violations ? littering, riding a bicycle on the sidewalk. Then you can ID them.”…..978555.php

    That’s what he said; fishing expeditions are just fine.
    (posted in AM links, but seems appropriate here)

    1. It’s about catching felons. The cash we take in is simply coincidental.

    2. “Page not found.”

  9. my co-worker’s ex-wife makes $80 hourly on the laptop . She has been out of work for 8 months but last month her pay was $13204 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read More Here….

  10. So, the article is great and all, but why are we calling these ‘games?’ The behavior here is criminal. They’re trying to extort public officials.

  11. What does it say when police unions hire law firms that advise them to play these games that victimize their foes?

    It says that they are organized crime syndicates that should be prosecuted and subject to RICO civil suits.

    1. “they” are the police unions, or the law firms, or both?
      I vote: Both!

  12. up to I saw the check 4 $7874 , I didn’t believe that…my… sister woz like they say actualey bringing home money parttime on their laptop. . there sisters neighbour started doing this for under 16 months and just paid the mortgage on there condo and got Lotus Elan . go to the website………

  13. Unions hate conservatives. Conservatives swing from the nutsacks of cops. Isn’t that funny?

  14. Affidavit Shows Cop Union Targeting Foes
    A case in California spotlights their political ‘playbook’

    I knew Fist of Etiquette would make radar for his sarc of state.

  15. Sound like a solid plan dude.

  16. What does it say?

    It merely confirms that cops and their unions are low-life scum-bags, turd-sacks, vile, vicious, sub-human degenerates.

  17. my neighbor’s step-mother makes $66 an hour on the laptop . She has been unemployed for 10 months but last month her income was $18451 just working on the laptop for a few hours. hop over to this website,,,,,,,,,,,

  18. just before I saw the receipt which said $5461 , I didnt believe …that…my mom in-law woz like they say actually bringing in money in their spare time at there labtop. . there sisters roommate has been doing this 4 only about twenty months and by now paid the mortgage on there house and purchased themselves a Audi Quattro . this link………

  19. I Got Hooked On Having An Online Business Almost A Decade Ago When I Created An Online Course And Made My First.

  20. At Tristarpi – we are pretty shocked to read this news. Such stuff get de-motivating when the cases are closed unsolved. I heard they were planning to have a trial but cancelled it. Is it true?

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