Posted by Chris Nguyen on December 20, 2012
Former Orange County Assistant Sheriff Don Haidl died of unspecified natural causes at Hoag Hospital at the age of 61. Haidl is best remembered for his roles in two of Orange County’s most high-profile trials of the last decade: as the father of Gregory Haidl who was convicted of sexual assault and for wearing a wire to record Sheriff Mike Carona in the corruption probe that sent Carona to federal prison.
Haidl had become Assistant Sheriff in 1999 as part of the “Three Amigos:” Carona, Haidl, and Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo. Independently wealthy, Haidl did not accept a salary as Assistant Sheriff. Haidl admitted to funneling illegal campaign contributions and numerous personal gifts to Carona and to providing money to Carona’s mistress.
The rape trial of Haidl’s son, Gregory, marked the beginning of the end of the “Three Amigos.” In 2002, 17-year-olds Gregory Haidl, Kyle Nachreiner, and Keith Spann video taped their sexual assault of an unconscious 16-year-old girl in Don Haidl’s home. After the first trial in 2004 deadlocked, Don Haidl resigned from the Sheriff’s Department to focus on his son’s defense, convinced that his position as Assistant Sheriff had caused his son to be treated more harshly by the media and criminal justice system. During this time, he engaged in a tax fraud scheme in order to recoup part of the money he used to pay his son’s legal bills.
During this time, Carona urged Jaramillo to obtain leniency for Haidl’s son by intervening with District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. Jaramillo initially refused but eventually attempted to intervene in the case. Rackauckas rebuffed Jaramillo and refused to grant Haidl’s son any favors, and the trial proceeded. After a series of other issues involving abuse of a Sheriff’s Department helicopter and controversy over his relationship with a company attempting to gain contracts with law enforcement agencies, Carona fired Jaramillo in 2004, just a few months before Haidl resigned.
In 2007, Haidl wore a wire three times to record, among other things, Carona’s efforts to coordinate their testimony regarding money funneled to Carona. The tapes would prove critical to convicting Carona of witness tampering in 2009, a year after Carona resigned as Sheriff to focus on his own legal defense. Sandra Hutchens was appointed Sheriff by the Board of Supervisors to replace Carona and still holds the post to this day.
Carona remains in federal prison on the 2009 witness tampering conviction. Jaramillo pleaded guilty to mail fraud and filing a false tax return in 2007 and was released in 2011 after serving time in federal prison and a halfway house. Haidl pleaded guilty to tax fraud in 2010 but was spared any prison time due to his cooperation in the Carona investigation and trial.
Posted in Orange County | Tagged: Don Haidl, George Jaramillo, Gregory Haidl, Keith Spann, Kyle Nachreiner, Mike Carona, Sandra Hutchens, Tony Rackauckas | 1 Comment »
Posted by Chris Nguyen on August 16, 2012
Raghu P. Mathur
With the retirements of Councilmen Joel Lautenschleger and Allan Songstad, for the first time in the history of Laguna Hills, the majority of the City Council will not be members of the inaugural City Council that took office in 1991. Five candidates have filed to replace Lautenschleger and Songstad, and all but one is a major contender.
In alphabetical order by last name (with their ballot designations), the candidates are:
- Andrew Blount (R) - Small Business Owner
- AJ Djowharzadeh (R) - Small Business Owner
- Dore Gilbert (R) – Physician/Army Reservist
- Bill Hunt (R) – Small Business Owner
- Raghu P. Mathur (R) – University Administrator/Educator
We can quickly rule out AJ Djowharzadeh (R), who won 6% of the vote in his 2010 bid for Laguna Hills City Council.
The major contenders are:
- Blount is a businessman who’s launched real estate, financial analysis, and software companies. Blount’s gathered the endorsements of various elected officials, including District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, Assemblyman Jim Silva, and various City Councilmembers from across Orange County.
- Gilbert is a former Trustee on the Saddleback Valley Unified School District, serving from 1981-2010. He is a doctor who joined the Army at the age of 60 and is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army Reserve.
- Hunt is the former Orange County Sheriff’s Lieutenant who unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Sheriff Mike Carona in the 2006 election. As an OCSD Lieutenant, he served as the de facto Chief of Police for San Clemente. Carona demoted him after the election, and Hunt elected to leave the department instead. After Carona resigned in 2008 in the face of a 66-count federal corruption indictment, Hunt sought the appointment to be Orange County Sheriff, but the Board of Supervisors appointed Sandra Hutchens instead. Hunt unsuccessfully challenged Hutchens in the 2010 election. He now owns a private investigation business in Laguna Hills. Hunt’s gathered the endorsements of various elected officials, including Senator Mimi Walters, Assemblyman Don Wagner, the majority of the Laguna Hills City Council, and various City Councilmembers from South Orange County.
- Mathur is the former Chancellor of the South Orange County Community District, the former President of Irvine Valley College, and a former Trustee on the Saddleback Valley Unified School District, serving from 1983-1992. Mathur has gathered the endorsements of various elected officials, including District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, Orange County Board of Education President Dr. Ken Williams, and several City Councilmembers from across Orange County.
Posted in Laguna Hills | Tagged: AJ Djowharzadeh, Allan Songstad, Andrew Blount, Bill Hunt, Don Wagner, Dore Gilbert, Jim Silva, Joel Lautenschleger, Ken L. Williams Jr., Mike Carona, Mimi Walters, Raghu P. Mathur, Tony Rackauckas | 2 Comments »