Newport Beach Police Bosses Used Island Hotel As Free Sex, Partying Pad In Quid Pro Quo Deal: Lawsuit

newportbeachpolicebd.jpg
The rough streets of Newport Beach cause police officials to relax for free at luxury resort?
Orange County billionaire Don Bren's Island Hotel gave multiple command-staff officers at the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) free suites, massages, spa services, booze and food, as well as agreed to erase hotel-surveillance footage when the cops didn't want any record of who they were partying with in rooms.

Those allegations are contained in a new federal lawsuit filed by a former highly regarded parking-control officer, who claims he was fired in retaliation for instigating personnel investigations into high-ranking NBPD cops taking gratuities at the swank, ocean-view hotel at Fashion Island in Newport Beach.

In exchange for free, discreet use of the luxury resort, police management quietly eased license processing for massage therapists operating at the hotel and ordered parking violations ignored at the property, according to the lawsuit filed Sept. 23 inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse by Zachary McEligot, who worked at NBPD for more than 12 years.

McEligot isn't guessing about the quid pro quo because, he says, he learned of the details over several years in 2008 and 2009 from a neighbor who worked as the spa director for the hotel, the lawsuit asserts.

McEligot says he earned a spotless, glowing employment record at the department, but after he alerted department officials of the alleged misuse of the hotel, high-ranking officers targeted him for retaliation including falsifying documents to suddenly characterize him as dishonest and incompetent.

Former police chiefs Bob McDonnel and John Klein, Captain James Kaminsky, Sergeant Ron Vallercamp, Deputy Chief David W. McGill, Officer Steve Burdette and City Manager Homer Bludau "were all involved in receiving and demanding free services for themselves and/or for their girlfriends and/or spouses from the Island Hotel in exchange for favors requested by the Island Hotel," the lawsuit claims.

In response to McEligot speaking out about police corruption, City Manager David Kiff, Sergeant Joe Cartwright, Lieutenant Dale Johnson, Deputy Chief McGill, Lieutenant Damon Psaros, Sergeant Jerry Lowe, Sergeant Spencer Arnold and Senior Parking Control Officer Heidi Moss targeted him for unlawful, "groundless" retaliation, according to the lawsuit written by Encino-based attorney Joseph Y. Avrahamy.

"Defendant Chief Jay Johnson approved the termination of the plaintiff despite the clear irregularities and inconsistencies in the investigation and despite that it was clear that terminating an employee was clearly excessive in light of the fact that other employees with much more egregious misconduct were not terminated," the 24-page lawsuit asserts.

Several other acclaimed ex-NBPD officers -- including Craig Frizzel, Steve Shulman, John Hougan and Robert Morton--have previously filed lawsuits inside Orange County Superior Court alleging the department's command staff is a cesspool of self-serving corruption.

In 2009, a jury awarded veteran NBPD officer Neil Harvey $1.2 million after it was proved department management conspired to cheat him out of earned promotions because they erroneously assumed the heterosexual officer was gay. Police bosses became laughably paranoid about Harvey's sexuality after discovering he produced well-written reports, treated citizens with politeness, spoke articulately and lived in artsy Laguna Beach.

According to a recent Forbes report, Bren--owner of Island Hotel and the Irvine Co.--is worth $14 billion, a figure that I believe is conservative.

Bren, a Republican with reclusive tendencies, is accustomed to getting his way with government bureaucrats and elected officials and is known to employ current police officers in his private operations.

The Island Hotel sells itself as "The Center of Coastal Luxury: Experience business and pleasure, comfortably side by side."

McEligot's lawsuit does not name Bren in any alleged wrongdoing.

According to court records, the case has not yet been assigned to a federal judge, and Newport Beach lawyers haven't filed a reply to the claims.

Seven years ago, in "Dirty, Stupid or Both," I reported about organized crime associates from Chicago, Kansas City and Las Vegas huddling at a restaurant/bar near the Island Hotel with then-Sheriff Mike Carona, who was eventually arrested by the FBI and IRS, convicted of corruption, and sent to a federal prison in Colorado.

Go HERE to read my report about Hougan's lawsuit claims underscoring the depths of alleged NBPD corruption.

Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

Email: rscottmoxley@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @RScottMoxley.


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59 comments
puckhead68
puckhead68

About six months ago while at a training class, I met some officers that work for the San Manuel Casino. I found that John Klein is the Director of Public Safety there and the word is that John Klein is doing the same stunts at the San Manuel Casino as he did at the New Port Beach Police Department.


I hear Mr. Klein is rude, condescending and is terminating people for personal reasons (just like he did at NBPD) and is running the public safety department in the ground.


Surprised the San Manuel Casino hired this guy with ALL of his lawsuits and negative reputation. Maybe they will figure him out after he costs the San Manuel Casino MILLIONS in lawsuits.



ivangarciars
ivangarciars


OC Corruption 101B: Since when is an insult worse than murder? Answer: when you enter Orange County?

In Anaheim, an unarmed Manuel Diaz was shot and killed by an assailant with a badge. There has been no prosecution. In instance after instance of police shootings, families are hit with excuse after excuse as to why the killing of their unarmed, law-abiding loved one was not a crime. Most toy stores sell toy badges. If you buy one before you commit a crime, does it double as a get out of jail free card?

Why is Quee Chadwick dead? Why was her husband allowed to kill her, take her to San Diego and dump her in a dumpster? Too often Orange County women find they have to die to get the attention of Orange County's law enforcement and lead prosecutor. Even then, crimes against women are rarely prosecuted.

Rackauckaus has yet to prosecute the case of the elderly woman whose life savings was ripped off through banking transfers pulled off by a man who abused and tried to starve the woman before she was rescued. Like other crime victims, the Santa Ana woman discovered that some criminals are above the law. She died in fear, hoping some official or the courts would help her get her money back. Her assailant was a political aspirant who had run for public office and who was tight with friends of Rackauckaus.

At the last city Santa Ana City Council meeting, an informant commented that one of the top complaints of families of deceased Orange County victims of violent crimes is that the autopsy results don't always match what the treating physicians told them about the cause of death. This makes it easier not to prosecute those responsible for violent homicides. Better watch out. In Orange County, a bullet to the head could be declared a heart attack.

Domestic violence is almost never prosecuted in Orange County. I've personally spoken with many victims who find it hard to understand why bruises, blood and death threats mean nothing to Tony Rackaukaus. These victims cannot understand why battered females are treated as yesterday's garbage by the district attorney's office in this county.

However some crimes are prosecuted. If you are of Palestinian descent and you turn your back on the Israeli Ambassador, expect to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Or if you are an American doctor from Iran and you mess up your paper work, expect a jail sentence. An Iranian doctor named Amir discovered no good deed goes unpunished where Rackauckaus is concerned. Amir donated long hours without pay to people in need. His failing was that he was barely literate in English and messed up his paperwork — a crime worse than murder in Orange County. Some young men who were treated by him had filed an insurance claim (though Amir didn't receive any money or contact the insurance company himself). But when the insurance company went to look up the claims of he young men, the paper work had been was badly done. Tony pulled out all the stops to get this language offender. Amir was prosecuted by one of the top deputy district attorneys, Claudia Alvarez, who had nothing better to do than jail people for bad paperwork. She pointed out that he sometime did the sinister act of shortening his name to "Rossi." Part of the trouble is that much of the District Attorney's funding comes from the Insurance Department, giving insurance companies priority over flesh and blood people in Orange County.

So, in Orange County, you are pretty much free to kill away as long as you keep your paper work in order and don't turn your back on any warmongers.

ivangarciars
ivangarciars


OC Corruption 101C: Make sure you have on your bullet proof vest next time you see a police officer.

The police in Orange County are too busy beating or shooting the residents to burden themselves with mundane tasks, like arresting or even investigating violent crimes. I spoke with a beautiful female crime victim in the Santa Ana Hills whose husband had hidden in her attic for a year in violation of a domestic violence restraining order. After he was caught, nothing happened. Restraining order violators are above the law in this county.

Some people are just above the law, like an Orange County man who photographed his restraining order violations and put the photographs into his divorce file and sent the evidence to the opposing council and the court. You would think he would be in jail. One of his victims is dead. Two others are in fear for their lives. When his daughter reported that he sexually abused her, the officers of the Santa Ana Police Department laughed.

Identity theft, grand theft and Internet bank fraud are no longer considered crimes for the most part in Orange County. The Santa Ana Police Department tells victims of grand theft to file civil suits — even when the banks present strong evidence of the crimes. The Sheriff's office also sidesteps these matter and fails to take action against bank thieves. Sandra Hutchens might want to supply her deputies with copies of the penal code. Most are hold-overs from the Corona days.

However, if you are a Latino, hang onto your identification. Misplacing it can get you arrested (long term) in Santa Ana — even if you are an American citizen. But be polite —even if the officers are mistreating you. Calling an officer a name can get you shot and killed in Santa Ana as Kevin Arellano recently discovered.

The Santa Ana Police department has shot five unarmed residents this year. At the August 5th meeting of the Santa Ana City Council, residents packed the room to call for a federal civil rights probe into the Santa Ana police department. Former elected school board member Steve Rocco blamed the Santa Ana City Council for police killings and for covering up murders.

In Fullerton, they don't have to shoot you. The police, there have become experts in beating homeless people like Kelly Thomas to death.

Are you still waiting for that video that shows who entered the parking garage where Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence were supposedly killed? Don't hold your breath. The Irvine Police Department is not releasing it. They've got it. I spoke to the security guard who was present when the police confiscated it. The IPD's refusal of the freedom of information request amounted to an admission that it was in their possession. Is the truth too explosive? Chis Dorner is dead — executed without a trial or even an indictment. So who is being protected by the withholding of the video?

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

And then the Costa Mesa Police will bust you for living in a local motel/hotel room?

What up with that? Saw something with the Code Enforcement Officers today in the Costa Mesa Current.

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

Scott, I have known and worked with Steve Shulman for over thirty years and his credibility is very high in my book.  If Steve says something happened, I believe it did.  The other actors I do not know.  Not defending anyone here as OC seems to believe, but knowing how the System works from the inside, I have trouble understanding how such a level of corruption and mismanagement could exist in any Police organization.  I think all of us in law enforcement will be watching this trial closely, as such cases, if true give us all a black eye.   

OCnomo
OCnomo

This article was from one side, the Plantiff.  The reality is that McEligot did not have a good record there.  He lack discretion and common sense in his decision making which was evident by his Nazi tactics as a meter maid.  He routinely generated complaints from citizens for his lack of tact and fairness in issuing parking tickets.  He annoyed co-workers with constant self antics.  In fact, it was for these reasons that he never could hired as a police officer there or any where else for that matter.  As a result he became a bitter employee that is simply looking for a handout and also to get revenge against those that did not aloow him to be a real cop. 

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

Like I've mentioned before ---> " Mafia Trash Criminal Behavior" being aided and abetted by look-the-other-way-idiots in both the District Attorney's office and the Court's of Orange County, CA. As far as I'm concerned, the only reason America's Sheriff Mike Carona was put away is because he was too sloppy in his criminal inquity. Carona was basically jeopardizing the rest of the corrupt whores of Orange County, CA; a den of life destroying hypocrites, theives and traitors to the United States constitution.But what would I know OCWeekly readers, I was just a "surveillance state" embedded systems engineer for projects in Bogota, Colombia from 1992 to 2005 - who had a weapon of mass defamation deliberately dropped on me by law enforcement in Orange County. Isn't that correct Stan Knee/Brad Gates/Mike Carona/ Randall Gaston groupies/and friends? Quite literally a crowd of life destroying sociopaths masquerading as men of law and integrity.And to you Bernie-Madoff-fraudsters-except-with-less-ethics-of-OC, your hour of judgement in a court of law draweth near; think of it as the people of Orange County,CA finally showing more respect for themselves - ALL the people.

ab123
ab123

Thank you for alluding to Bren's involvement. The point isn't that members of the NBPD enjoyed hotel services free of cost. The point is that there should be boundaries between government and private citizens. What doesn't Donald Bren have in his pocket? Small businesses are driven out of Irvine Co. shopping centers. UCI social science and humanities departments suffer budget cuts while computer science and engineering departments are sitting pretty. I would like praise to Mr. Moxley and Mr. McEligot for having the guts to state the obvious. Ignorance may be bliss but it's also reckless.

Susan Skoglund
Susan Skoglund

Tsk, Tsk, Tsk..... Will they be held accountable?

fc2479
fc2479

Does Newport beach really need it's own police force????  Come on what real crime occurs there???   The town would be better off by completely getting rid of this useless and may I add expensive organization and just having the Sheriff contract out it's services.....would solve alot of these corruption problems...

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

A Parking Control Officer has all this information on the dirty laundry of he "Police Mafia?" Give me a break wiill you?  Unless he has hard evidence to back his allegations, I would surmise he has been reading too many dime store novels.   

vjahn97
vjahn97

He's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.

Barb Pliska
Barb Pliska

Its just too bad that something like this has to happen, I know 65 years ago it happened then too, and I was very upset as I am now, today!!!

Adam Abrams
Adam Abrams

This doesn't surprise me. But it does bother me how us Orange Countians just put up with it.

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

Just another day at the Newport Beach Police Department.  



I'm actually OK with the police brass winning the lawsuit, as long as Donald Bren is forced to testify again about children he's sired


Andrew Cusumano
Andrew Cusumano

having heard the horror stories of fourth of july's down in newport, this doesn't really surprise me. the NBPD cops are a bunch of fucking animals; similar to their neighbor's, huntington beach's, rioters, they are responsible for assaults, property damage, kidnapping, and civil unrest/DTP. i'm specifically referencing my friend's imprisonment in the drunk tank despite being sober, but more important than that was that they never officially detained or arrested him. a couple years before that, i saw a guy get slammed, face first, into a car windshield- the windshield was shattered after the impact. if they're gonna be such fucking savages on the job in which they're supposed to uphold the law, why in christ's name would we think they're going to be civil while off the clock?

OCreader
OCreader

NB Police are so corrupt its sickening! I have had my fair share of run ins with them where they were totally inappropriate and actually acted illegally. But you have no recourse. The courts, judges, public defenders, internal investigation, etc. are all in on it and will do nothing. Like the article says, there are other officers with far worse complaints that didn't get fired, in fact, they are protected by their union that their personnel files will never become public record and they "enjoy a blanket of protection" against excessive force. Makes me ill. Fire them all and start over!!

Randal Boss Hurley
Randal Boss Hurley

Justin... Donald Bren IS the same guy who employed me... So he'd probably be down.

Ozzy Ramirez
Ozzy Ramirez

newport beach home of the fake double standard self righteous prick douce bags

Ashley Garcia
Ashley Garcia

Are people REALLY surprised by this? I mean reaalllllly?!

Alice Augusta
Alice Augusta

Will there be a criminal investigation by the DA?

Eon RosVive
Eon RosVive

"protect and serve' themselves.......#filth

James Creely
James Creely

and we thought it was just the congress who act like a bunch of kids. Time for the entire mgmt. to go, from the the top down.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

Itpar: "Who are you foolin"?

"I have trouble understanding how such a level of corruption and mismanagement could exist in any Police organization".

"80 percent of ALL cops are criminals and they violate the laws while they are ON DUTY". And they are being paid to do so and be so by the City Council people and the Mayors of the Cities they work for.

Beezling
Beezling

@OCnomo ...so he used his psychic powers to make them behave unethically? Man. How vengeful.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

18usc241

" Mafia Trash Criminal Behavior" being aided and abetted by look-the-other-way-idiots in both the District Attorney's office and the Court's of Orange County, CA.

I would agree with that because I had to take anger management classes for someone elses behavior and was arrested falsely for elder abuse because the old man lied to the paramedics. He had Alzheimers/Dementia. The Judge didn't even listen and I could not talk to the judge directly because they assigned a public defender, it's a money game to them. I found out the PD made something like $900.00 per hour that he spent time on it for. The taxpayers payed that to him through the courts.

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

@fc2479 City Councils never want to give up control of their fiefdoms, especially that of Public Safety.  This is why we do not have regionalization of Law Enforcement and only limited in the Fire Service, with the OC Fire Authority.  Second issue is that when the Sheriffs contract to a City, their is very little personal  ownership by the Officers assigned and the service levels are generally not what citizens have come to expect?  In Newport Beach, with it's upper class economic environment, the citizens demand nothing but the highest level of service.  Whether they are getting it or not, has now been called into question.  If the City Council were smart, they would hire an outside firm to conduct a detailed interal investigation into the allegations which have been made and if true, clean up the Police Department from top to bottom and settle the law suits.  Of course, City Counciils are 80% ego and 20% reason, so most likely nothing will be done and it will play out in court?    

OCreader
OCreader

@ltpar Are you actually defending these police officials? Do you really think all of this is ok? Because all of your comments are in defense of dirty cops, Lieutenant? Just because you are a cop, you believe its OK to treat people badly, rough them up, whether they deserve it or not, and receive special privileges? This is exactly what these articles are exposing and you are just proving them right.

rscottmoxley
rscottmoxley topcommenter

@ltpar I agree that we'll have to wait to evaluate the evidence that's produced in the case, but--given the undeniable, solid character of the other NBPD officers (Morton, Hougan, Frizzel & Shulman) who've complained in specific detail about police management corruption--I wouldn't rush to cast this latest lawsuit by a department insider as fiction.

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

@Andrew Cusumano It's a jungle out there Andrew and spoiled little girls like yourself need to be careful where they tred and with whom they hang out.  When hoards of outsiders invade their community during Spring Break or holidays, the citizens of the Beach Cities demand their law enforcement officers maintain control.  If you are drunk and disorderly, sober and disorderly. or just disorderly and give the Cops a ration of shit, don't expect the public relations approach.  Can't take the heat, go to Palm Springs or the River next year. 

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

@OCreader Typical attitude from a recipient of out of control behavior. "Everybody is wrong but me and I should not have to account for my actions to anyone."  Sorry OC but that crap doesn't wash with anyone, especially the citizens of the City in which wou were doing your deeds.  Yep, the Cops take a hard approach to misbehavior and that comes from lessons learned over many years in dealing with people like yourself.  Don't like the action in Newport Beach or Huntington Beach, why don't you try Mexico for your next holiday?  The Mexican Cops will make those in Newport Beach look like the worlds greaest PR specialists. 

thesch
thesch

@FocoYou FocoMe Hellllloooooo YOU!!! when are you calling Tom again..ask him about his Channel 11 ex wife.  Christina Gonzales..

OCreader
OCreader

@Alice Augusta  HAHAHAHA...NO! They are in cahoots!

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

@tongue_twister_for_t   Let me see if I can phrase this in words you can grasp, "You are so full of shit, it is coming out of your ears."  Hope I am not being too subtle for you? 

OCreader
OCreader

@ltpar @OCreader Typical attitude from an ignorant COP! I happen to not only be a citizen of Newport, I am a homeowner. I don't vacation here, I LIVE HERE! So go back to what ever inland city you live in and shut the hell up. I am not malicious or out of control. They ultimately dropped charges against me, BECAUSE THE COPS ACTIONS WERE WITHOUT ILLEGAL AND AGAINST MY CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS! Other run ins, were for tinted windows, etc. where they were inappropriately flirting with me, also no ticket. Although, I didn't mention Huntington in my comment, I will mention that yes, I have also lived in HB, where I was pulled over twice for tinted windows, both times I was let go with a warning. I have NEVER had an issue with them, and they have the worse reputation for excessive force. And yes, I have also vacationed in Mexico. Many times, in fact, and never once, has any Mexican police, federali, or any other official, ever approached me, pulled me over or harassed me for any reason at all, Lieutenant!

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