Archive for the ‘California Über Alles’ Category

They’re Masons, Donny.

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Remember the Masonic Fraternal Police Department? Wasn’t that a couple of days wonder?

Latest developments: charges against one of the defendants, Brandon Kiel, have been completely dropped.

And a second defendant, David Inkk Henry, who was apparently the “chief”, died suddenly.

You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena! (#28 in a series)

Monday, April 11th, 2016

I probably should have covered this last week, but it got past me. Work’s been kind of rough. Anyway:

The NYPD reassigned three deputy chiefs and a deputy inspector:

Two of the four officers were placed on modified duty, stripped of their guns and badges and limited to administrative duties, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said. The other two were transferred from their current assignments to less prestigious positions.

Meanwhile, a prominent NYC restaurateur was arrested and charged with running a Ponzi scheme:

The restaurateur, Hamlet Peralta, who owned the now-closed Hudson River Café in Harlem, misappropriated more than $12 million from investors for use in what he said was a wholesale liquor business, according to the complaint, which was unsealed on Friday in Federal District Court in Manhattan. The business was, in fact, fictitious, prosecutors said.

What do these two things have in common? Glad you asked. They both seem to be tied to a federal investigation involving two of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fund-raisers:

A federal grand jury in Manhattan has begun hearing evidence in the case, according to several people briefed on the matter. The inquiry has come to focus on the two fund-raisers: Jona Rechnitz, who raised money for Mr. de Blasio’s campaign and was also a donor to both the campaign and to a nonprofit group that supported the mayor’s agenda; and Jeremy Reichberg, who held a fund-raiser for that nonprofit.

More:

Two of the people briefed on the matter suggested that investigators were trying to determine whether Mr. Rechnitz and Mr. Reichberg benefited from some type of favorable municipal action, or the promise of some action, in exchange for their donations, their fund-raising or some other gesture. But the precise allegations under scrutiny by federal prosecutors in Manhattan and agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation are unclear. The two people, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the case publicly.

In recent months, agents and prosecutors investigating Mr. Rechnitz and Mr. Reichberg learned that they were both also in close contact with roughly a score of high-ranking police officials, and may have lavished gifts upon them, some of the people said. This tangential discovery led the police commissioner, William J. Bratton, to reassign four senior police officials to desk duty last week. Two were stripped of their guns and badges and two others were transferred to less prestigious posts, a rare public rebuke.

Mr. Rechnitz and Mr. Reichberg were also investors in the Peralta Ponzi scheme.

Like I said, I’ve been kind of behind the 8-ball, so here’s another one I should have blogged before now: Paul Tanaka was convicted of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice last week.

Mr. Tanaka was the undersheriff of Los Angeles County: basically, he was Lee Baca‘s second-in-command.

The criminal charges centered on allegations that in 2011 Tanaka orchestrated a scheme to derail the FBI’s jail investigation by intimidating the lead agent in the case, pressuring deputies not to cooperate and concealing the whereabouts of an inmate who was working as a federal informant.

Dumber than a bag of hair.

The LAT claims that Mr. Tanaka could get “as long as 15 years in prison”: as we all know, such claims should be taken with soy sauce and wasabi.

The past is another country.

Friday, March 4th, 2016

They did things differently there.

The San Francisco Chronicle used to give out firearms as subscription premiums.

I am well pleased with the gun, as it is all that is represented to be. I did not expect to get a $100 gun for $13.50.

You could also get a Colt rifle plus a one-year subscription to the paper for $14.50. (“$15 of 1887 dollars would be worth: $362.50 in 2015.”)

Peter Hartlaub for the win:

We were like Leland Yee, but with more follow-through.

(Hattip: Jimbo.)

Uncle quickie.

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

One more quick Leland “Uncle” Yee thought that I didn’t have time for in the previous entry:

Sen. Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) said Wednesday that the Yee case shows the need for stronger controls of campaign financing. She has introduced a bill aimed at closing a loophole in campaign finance law that was exploited by Yee. Her measure would extend contribution limits that apply to candidates’ campaigns to also apply to ballot measure committees formed by elected officials.

“Today’s sentencing of a former elected official underscores the need to close campaign finance loopholes wherever they exist,” Bates said in a statement. “My bill will help restore the spirit of the Political Reform Act of 1974 that sought to end the culture of corruption that many believe is pervasive in politics.”

Yes, folks, you read that correctly. Campaign finance reform is the only thing standing between you and your elected state senator smuggling guns to Islamic terrorists and rebel groups in the Philippines.

You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena! (#27 in a series)

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Convicted former California Democratic State Senator Leland “Uncle” Yee was sentenced today.

As you may recall, convicted former California Democratic State Senator Leland “Uncle” Yee pled guilty to one count of racketeering:

Yee admitted in a plea deal that he was part of a racketeering conspiracy that involved exchanging official acts for money, conspiring to traffic in weapons and money laundering. Specifically, Lee promised an undercover FBI agent favors in return for campaign contributions.

And what did he get for all this?

Five years in prison and a $20,000 fine. He’s also apparently going to have to give up $33,000, at least some of which will come out of his political campaign accounts.

During the hourlong proceedings, Yee asked the court for leniency in light of his public humiliation, his wife’s severe illness, his admissions of wrongdoing and his past record of public service.

Speaking of “his past record of public service”, as a convicted felon, convicted former California Democratic State Senator Leland “Uncle” Yee, who was a prominent advocate of gun control and received an award from the Brady Campaign, will no longer be allowed to own firearms. Legally, anyway.

Edited to add: more from the SF Examiner.

Keith Jackson, a political consultant and former San Francisco school board president who pleaded guilty to the same racketeering conspiracy charge as Yee, was also sentenced Wednesday to nine years in prison.

According to the same article, Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow’s sentencing is scheduled for March 23rd.

SFGate:

He then sentenced Jackson’s son Brandon to 4 1/2 years in prison, and sports agent Marlon Sullivan to 5 1/2 years, for separate racketeering charges. Both men admitted plotting with undercover agents, who posed as criminals, to deal drugs and firearms and take part in the murder-for-hire scheme.

Breyer told Yee on Wednesday that his willingness to traffic in guns, while publicly trumpeting his support for gun control, was “inexplicable … hypocritical … the most venal thing and the most dangerous thing you’ve done.”

You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena! (#26 in a series)

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

I haven’t been paying as much attention to the LA County jail scandal as I used to: things sort of got away from me.

But this is stunning and noteworthy: the former LA County sheriff, Lee Baca, has pled guilty to lying to the feds.

In a plea agreement filed in federal court Wednesday morning, Baca admitted that he lied when he told federal authorities that he was unaware that his subordinates planned to approach the FBI agent leading the jail investigation at her home.
Baca agreed not to contest other allegations leveled by federal prosecutors, including that he directed subordinates to approach the agent, stating that they should “do everything but put handcuffs” on her, the agreement said.

I believe this is the incident in question.

Baca’s plea deal apparently includes a provision that he won’t serve more than six months, and it seems possible that he could get probation. His #2 man, Paul Tanaka, is going to go on trial in March; the plea deal also apparently does not require Baca to testify against Tanaka.

Edited to add: longer article from the LAT about Baca’s plea.

“Operation Pandora’s Box”, summarized for your convenience.

One hundred and sixty two.

Friday, January 8th, 2016

Somehow “tax-fattened hyena” doesn’t seem fitting, and crustacean related jokes seem inappropriate.

So. Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow: guilty.

On 162 counts, “including murder in the service of racketeering, murder conspiracy and racketeering.”

(They said “murder” and “racketeering” twice. They must like “racketeering”. And “murder”.)

LAT. SFGate. SF Examiner. Of course the defense plans to appeal.

Your Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow update.

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

It took us a non-trivial amount of digging to find this, but:

The case against Chow went to the jury on Tuesday.

We will keep an eye out for the verdict, or lack of one.

Shrimp for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

I’ve been trying to keep up with the Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow trial. Really, I have.

But the press coverage has been kind of pathetic. I keep looking for stories in the San Francisco newspapers, but no joy.

The latest update is from the LAT: apparently, we’re now into the defense phase of the trial, and “Shrimp Boy” is testifying.

He said that he ran an escort service, dealt cocaine and was involved in a street gang, but upon his release from prison in 1989 got jobs at a supermarket and law office. That did not last, he said, as he continued to face scrutiny from police.

Chow was convicted on a federal gun charge in 1995 and released in 2003 after agreeing to cooperate in another prosecution. He said he decided to renounce criminal activity after engaging in meditation and focused instead on writing his biography.

Do you want to read that? I kind of want to read that, though “Chow doesn’t always understand English and that his diction and tenses are not always used correctly.”

Chow’s attorneys say the FBI agent instigated the crimes for which people were later arrested and forced money on him, often when Chow was drunk.

Obit watch and random notes: November 24, 2015.

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

I’ve written previously about Ron Reynolds, a state representative and lawyer who was charged with barratry.

Well, it has been a while. The other seven people who were arrested with Rep. Reynolds took pleas, but Rep. Reynolds went to trial. And…?

You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena!

The Fort Bend County Democrat was convicted Friday of five counts of illegally soliciting clients, or misdemeanor barratry. A six-person jury on Monday rejected his plea for probation, and instead sentenced him to 12 months behind bars and a fine of several thousand dollars.

I’ve also written about Kelly Thomas, who was beaten to death by the Fullerton PD. The city (meaning local taxpayers) is going to pay out $4.9 million to his family, in settlement of their wrongful death lawsuit.

Obit watch: noted elsewhere, but I did want to mention the passing of Ken Johnson, former player for the Houston Astros (and the Colt .45s, their predecessor), and the only pitcher ever to “complete a nine-inning game without yielding a hit and still manage to lose it.”

(Oddly enough, there’s a good explanation of how this happened in the FARK discussion thread.)

Also among the dead: Adele Mailer, Norman’s ex-wife and the woman he stabbed in a drunken rage.

Some guests recalled that the point of no return came when she told her husband that he was not as good as Dostoyevsky.

Quick random notes: November 10, 2015.

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Mike Thomas out as athletic director at Illinois.

The Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow trial stated yesterday.

On one occasion, Hasib said, Chow told an agent, who clandestinely tape-recorded his comments, “I don’t commit crimes myself, but I know a lot of people who do.”

More from the LAT.

My mother was complaining last night that the authorities were being awfully close-mouthed about the shooting of Judge Kocurek. I figured they were playing things close to the vest because the investigation was ongoing.

Well. Well well well. Well.

Austin police said Monday night that it is aware of the arrest in Houston of a person of interest in Kocurek’s shooting and that the person is being detained on unrelated charges, but declined to comment any further citing the ongoing investigation.

Short random notes: September 24, 2015.

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

James Mee has his job back.

I feel sure I’ve written about this before, but I can’t find the post now. Mr. Mee was a deputy with the LA County Sheriff’s Office. He was fired because of his alleged involvement in a police chase that ended when the vehicle he was supposedly chasing crashed into a gas station.

At least, that was the claim. So why was he really fired? Well, Mr. Mee was also one of the officers who arrested Mel Gibson back in 2006.

Mee’s lawyers argued that sheriff’s managers falsely blamed Mee for leaking details of Gibson’s 2006 arrest and the actor’s anti-Semitic tirade to celebrity news site TMZ.com. Mee, his attorneys alleged, was repeatedly subjected to harassment and unfair discipline in the years that followed, culminating in his firing over the 2011 crash.

This one’s for Lawrence: Frank Gehry is working on a project to rehabilitate the Los Angeles River. This has some people upset.

(Obligatory. Plus, the video I’ve linked to before has been taken down, so call this a bookmark.)