As Clockwork sits in deliberations as an Orange County Superior Court alternate juror, speaking as this is being banged out is our foreman, Stephen Mensinger. When Mensinger is not being paid $15-a-day to fulfill his civic duty, he earns bukoo bucks to preside over Irvine-based developer SunCal's multifamily division. In essence, he's in charge of the apartments, townhomes and condos that are included in SunCal projects.
One such project is the delay-plagued Marblehead oceanview project in San Clemente. Register business columnist Jonathan Lanser reports on his real estate blog today that among the projects bankruptcy court-bound Wall Street giant Lehman Bros. was financing was Marblehead.
Overheard in the jury room before deliberations began was Mensinger remarking on Lehman's woes effecting SunCal. This was days before the news broke. Those travails may explain why his cell phone has seemingly been glued to his ear during our breaks and pleasant walks to and from our cars in the parking structure next to Santa Ana Stadium.
Of course, as this Ticking Justice Dispenser has learned, that's just speculation, not hard evidence. Motion to strike the previous statements from this blog post, Yer Honor!
Another fun Mensinger fact: before joining SunCal in December 2007, he was president of Arnel Management Co., the apartment division of billionaire former U.S. Ambassador to Spain George Argyros' Costa Mesa-based Arnel & Affiliates real estate company. Longtime readers know the Weekly has pounded on Argyros, Arnel and particularly the apartment division over the years (far too many citations to link to).
So, in an attempt to lighten the mood a bit, Clockwork brought up the delightful encounter former Weekly editor Will Swaim had with Argyros and his wife Judie or Julia or whatever the hell she's calling herself these days at an Orange County Performing Arts Center function years ago. But Mensinger already knew the story; he was sitting a couple plush theater seats away from his former boss. When we remarked that Argyros probably remained cordial upon meeting Swaim because nothing we can write would bother a billionaire, Mensinger replied no, he believed such reporting did bug Argyros. Then he said something about the Weekly writing whatever people tell us. (To which Scott Moxley told us all his reporting on Arnel slumlording was based on documents, not someone telling him what to write.)
Another fun Mensinger fact: when he was announced as SunCal's new multifamily division president, another Weekly nemisis was unveiled as the developer's commercial division president: Jim Righeimer. For those keeping score at home, that would be two Weekly Scariest People in Orange County within one degree of separation of my jury foreman. Small world indeed.
A final Mensinger fun fact: he's a helluva jury foreman, guiding this four-woman, eight-man (and one ticking alternate) panel with great care, fairness and diligence. But the Great Unanswered Question remains:
How the hell did Clockwork not get out of jury duty?