Don Haidl, The Man Who Ratted Out Dirty OC Sheriff Mike Carona, Is Dead

Don Haidl obit.jpg
Don Haidl
Don Haidl--a wealthy car auction owner and corrupt Orange County assistant sheriff--loved to drink booze, chain smoke cigarettes, hurl nasty cuss words, surround himself with obedient thugs and wear the expression of a gruff codger.

But Haidl, who reportedly died from natural causes late Tuesday night at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach at the age of 61, also played the piano, enjoyed fine tastes in autos and couldn't block tears when he tenderly thought of one of his sons, Gregory, who infamously put the family name in one of the region's most disgusting sex crimes in 2002.

That stark dichotomy is present even in Haidl's most lasting public contribution. Though he had no law enforcement training in 1998, he used stacks of cash, expensive gifts and huge, illegal campaign contributions to convince soon-to-be sheriff Mike Carona to give him a real badge, lofty title over 2,000 real deputies and full police powers within California.

In short, Haidl funded Carona's corrupt rise, reveled in all its sick glory and then brought down the dirty sheriff who was so cocky that he partied in public with Las Vegas organized crime associates and, despite that shocking fact, won a President George W. Bush appointment to a National Security board following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"Don Haidl's willingness to cooperate with the federal case, after pleading guilty, is the primary reason Mike Carona is no longer the sheriff and is a convicted felon in federal prison today," Assistant United States Attorney Brett Sagel told reporters this afternoon.

It is true that Haidl wore a secret wire to record Carona talking about burying evidence of their crimes and then became a witness for the government against his old pal. The testimony was so damning of the sheriff, in large part, because Haidl's witness stand descriptions of the corruption--personal and professional--repeatedly included evidence of his own warped nature. Money and power and ruthlessly manipulating both to reward friends and punish personal enemies was at the heart of the Carona--George Jaramillo--Haidl operation that guided California's second largest sheriff's department for more than half a decade.

Money, influence and dastardly tactics almost allowed Haidl to rob justice from Jane Doe, the unconscious 16-year-old girl who was gang raped in his Corona del Mar house.

Thankfully, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas didn't cave to the threats. After a second grueling trial in the case, his office won convictions, and six-year prison sentences for the younger Haidl and his two cohorts who videotaped themselves sexually assaulting Doe and shoving a pool cue, lit cigarette, apple juice can and Snapple bottle into her vagina and rectum. Old man Haidl actually paid at least $1.5 million for a laughable defense that accused the victim of raping the three males to launch a porn career.

You won't be surprised that Haidl's lethal courtroom assassination of Carona's character wasn't voluntary. Federal agents caught him trying to illegally write off his son's legal bills on his income taxes and convinced him that the only way to reduce or eliminate his punishment was to cooperate in their probe of the sheriff. He took the deal to avoid spending a day in prison.

On the day I met Haidl in November 2003 the corrupt trio was at the height of its power at the sheriff's department and he wanted me to know the contempt he had for investigative journalists. He spotted me outside Orange County's Central Courthouse in Santa Ana and called my name. I looked back and saw him lighting a cigarette, taking a long inhale, blowing out the smoke, making his hand into a gun and pointing it at me.

With a gravelly voice, he said without a smile, "Nice to meet you, buddy."

Then, he dramatically fired his imaginary gun at my face.

He didn't know it at the time, but that blast backfired.

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25 comments
DocBobby
DocBobby

You're a Bozo, Moxely.

Calling yourself an 'investigative journalist' is a joke.

What do you ever 'investigate'?

All you do is pick and chose between stories fed to you.

You're yellow.

I tend to side with the guy holding the imaginary gun because you're a clown. I don't like clowns - they're creepy.

biglliam
biglliam

This is awesome.  I've been out of the OC for so long, I haven't caught up on what's been going on. I was remembering the abuses I suffered in OC jail when I was a student at UCI. They got away with everything and I know that it's too late to file a lawsuit now, but I will be writing some angry letters.

goldencody
goldencody

As a retired cop myself I can tell you all that there are many many police officers out there that belong in jail. Whether its stealing seized property, falsifying police reports, perjury on the witness stand when testifying against those they arrest, spousal abuse, drunk driving, cheating on their taxes, abusing inmates and much more

Wayne Barney
Wayne Barney

What a piece of sh|t flesh. Rot in Hell @$$hole.

missbrandicruz
missbrandicruz

Moxley has covered this tale in fine form for years. Fitting obit. although a picture of the guy pointing the finger-gun at ya would have been a very good meme.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Just don? God couldn't have given us a twofer on this one?

Sean Henschel
Sean Henschel

I recall OC Weekly breaking the story with the Haidl kid...am I wrong?

Sean Henschel
Sean Henschel

Boo hoo...now if we could take away Convicted criminal Mike Carona's $215,000 annual tax payer paid pension, I'd be even happier.

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

Mike Carona (former Orange County sheriff) is no longer the sheriff and is a convicted felon in federal prison today. He wins a President George W. Bush appointment to a National Security board following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Charlene R. Lamb - a former Orange County police officer (Orange PD) -> Headed U.S. Embassy Security in Libya -> Resigns after Benghazi

Stan Knee - former Garden Grove police chief - who along with Brad Gates, Mike Carona  etc. terrorized me in the 90's - goes on to to work for DynaCorp conducting police training missions in Afghanistan. A pervert of the public trust ironically rewarded with that task as if to make a complete mockery of everything this country stands for; as I remain to deal with the consequences of the weapon of mass defamation delivered so effectively.

I'm highly trained to see patterns - see the pattern?

JackGrimshaw
JackGrimshaw

Rat-faced, rat-principled and now rat-fucked. Perfect. Time wounds all heels ...

Eric Engstrom
Eric Engstrom

Was busted! Love how the Register gives this a$$hole all the credit for it.

Peyton Farquhar
Peyton Farquhar

Ma ma ma Mike Carona... (sing to My Sharona by the Knack)

c337cmdr
c337cmdr

@goldencody I had two cops Haidl hired to kill me.  One went to jail, the other still worked for Haidl when he passed.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@MoxleysDaddy Aren't you a sweetheart! What did Mox ever do to you that got you throwing hissy fits?

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