DA's Chief of Staff Files Tardy Disclosure Reports With One Fascinating Tidbit

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OC Weekly photo
DA Rackauckas and his chief of staff
The county's long nightmare is over. Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff at the Orange County district attorney's office, yesterday filed mandatory economic-disclosure reports for 2010 through 2014. The move came hours after County Counsel Nicholas S. Chrisos recommended the Board of Supervisors order the filings at a June 16 public hearing.

For anyone expecting shocking revelations, here it is: The one person Schroeder reported giving her gifts during the entire five-year period was Supervisor Todd Spitzer, and given that the two despise each other, the $300 in crystal baubles and flowers he gave in 2010 didn't ultimately buy him favors much less relief from his nemesis' potent wrath.

(Both Schroeder and Spitzer want to follow Rackauckas as DA after the now-72-year-old retires at some unknown date.)

As expected, Schroeder revealed what was already public: Michael J. Schroeder, her ex-husband and a former chairman of the California Republican Party, owns two chiropractic insurance-related entities valued at more than $1 million each and earned more than $100,000 annually.

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Muhanad Badawi Held Without Bond as Danger and Flight Risk; Lawyer Says He's Innocent

Categories: Breaking News

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Anaheim pair was flying the ISIS flag?
UPDATE NO. 2, MAY 22, 4:28 P.M.: At a court hearing in federal court in Santa Ana this afternoon, U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Block found that Muhanad Badawi posed a flight risk and danger to the community and ordered him held without bond pending trial. That's much to the chagrin of the 24-year-old Anaheim man's lawyer, who maintains Badawi did nothing wrong.

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Irvine Seeks Contempt Charge Against Ex-Mayor For Evading Great Park Questions

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OC Weekly photo
Agran: He wants the right to remain silent about how he wasted Great Park project money
The City of Irvine has filed a lawsuit asking a judge to issue a contempt order against former mayor Larry Agran for refusing to answer questions under oath about financial benefits he may have received from Orange County Great Park contractors when he controlled the $1.6 billion project.

Anthony R. Taylor, the city's special counsel, filed the superior court case this week in hopes of forcing Agran, a 1992 Democratic Party presidential primary candidate, to field questions he adamantly refused to answer during a March deposition.

Failure to obey a court order could result in jail time.

Agran--a lawyer and longtime boss of a political machine that ran Irvine and its proposed Great Park project for 12 years until 2012--has had troubled explaining how he spent $250 million in taxpayer funds without building a single, major planned feature.

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Adam Gadahn, American Voice Of Al Qaeda, Killed In CIA Drone Attack

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According to statements by White House officials, Adam Gadahn, the American face of Al Qaeda, and the first U.S. citizen to be charged with treason since World War 2, was killed during a January 2015 CIA drone strike in Pakistan. Officials claim that Gadahn, who had a million-dollar price tag on his head, was not the target of the attack, but rather that he happened to be at a compound in Pakistan's tribal region known to be used by members of Al Qaeda.

Gadahn, who grew up on a Riverside goat farm but whose grandfather was a prominent Jewish doctor in Santa Ana, apparently joined Al Qaeda after moving to Pakistan before the 9/11 attacks. He first appeared as "Azzam the American" in the terrorist group's propaganda videos three years later, covering his face with a scarf and warning Americans that their "streets will run red with blood."


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Josh Hamilton of Angels WON'T Be Suspended

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Photo by flickr user JD'na
Josh Hamilton has not exactly lived up to expectations in Anaheim.
Major League Baseball announced today that Angels outfielder and struggling addict Josh Hamilton will not be suspended for reportedly admitting to officials he relapsed with cocaine.

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Erica Melissa Alonso's Honda is Found But She's Still Been Missing Since Valentine's Date

Categories: Breaking News

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Found it!
Orange County sheriff's deputies this afternoon found Erica Melissa Alonso's white 2014 Honda Civic EX in Aliso Viejo, but the 27-year-old who has been missing since a Valentine's date ended is still no where to be found.

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Prosecutors Make Sweetheart Deal To Avoid More Law Enforcement Cheating Revelations

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Let's Make A Deal: Bryant Islas should be a happy man today
In yet another unambiguous, if reluctant, signal of Orange County's troubled jailhouse informant program, a prosecutor this week dismissed attempted murder charges in a case that could have carried life in prison punishment, a move with potential dubious motives counter to the public interest.

Make no mistake: People v. Bryant Phillip Islas joins a list of recent homicide cases the Orange County district attorney's office (OCDA) has ended by handing incredibly favorable plea bargains to suspected killers and attempted murderers.

Like in People v. Joseph Govey, People v. Leonel Vega and People v. Isaac John Palacios, prosecutors quietly gave Islas a March 17 sweetheart deal to avoid a trial scheduled that day.

Why?

In the ongoing scandal that resulted last week in a superior court judge kicking District Attorney Tony Rackauckas off a death penalty case, an Islas trial would have produced additional, new evidence of cheating by prosecutors, sheriff's deputies and Santa Ana Police Department detectives--or, as Rackauckas is labeling the corruption: acts of benign negligence that coincidentally tilted cases in favor of the government.

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At Great Park Shenanigans Deposition, Lawyer Larry Agran Can't Recall If He Can Recall

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Two-Faced Larry: Effective 2012 campaign mailer against Irvine's longest career politician
Until reality caught up to him last November and shattered his heavily concocted image as a good-government activist, Larry Agran served as the leader of a political machine that for a dozen years dictatorially controlled Irvine and the Orange County Great Park project.

The ugly reality includes Agran's penchant for secrecy, cronyism, narcissism and mismanagement, especially at the Great Park, a noble idea the career politician slyly converted into a biennial election tool to keep his council alliance in power, a circumstance that allowed him to give $167,000 per month in no-bid, public-relations contracts to his own political operatives.

After skipping a scheduled February deposition and demanding conditions such as taxpayers must pay for at least two lawyers defending him as he dodges potential criminal charges, Agran finally sat on March 13 with Anthony R. Taylor, the Aleshire & Wynder attorney conducting an independent audit of Great Park shenanigans.

Not surprisingly, the failed 1992 presidential primary candidate's paranoia emerged at the outset of the deposition, with Fred Woocher, one of Agran's lawyers, asking if anybody not present in the room was listening via a wire. Taylor said no, and then had to entertain the same question two more times.

Next, Agran's team encouraged Taylor to employ the California Public Records Act as a weapon for stalling journalists from reading the deposition for at least two weeks, claiming city officials would need 10 business days to find it.

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Little Saigon Loan Sharking Case Tied To Police Ends With Settlement

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A Little Saigon bikini bar owner victimized by an loan shark ring FBI agents say used at least one Westminster Police Department (WPD) officer as an enforcer has settled her civil lawsuit out of court.

Following the August 2013 arrests of Fountain Valley businessman Kevin Khanh Tuan Do and WPD officer Anthony Duong Donner, businesswoman Hanh Le filed her lawsuit claiming she had been harassed and threatened to make illegal 60 percent annual interest payments on a $170,000 loan from Do.

Terms of the settlement were not made public in papers filed this month inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse.

Hanh reported that when she was late on payments on-duty police officers tied to Do repeatedly "carried out drive-bys" at her residence, entered her business and home without permission, directed high-intensity spotlights from their patrol vehicles into her shop, harassed her patrons under false pretenses, sent threatening messages and conducted bogus traffic stops on both her and her customers.

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Ringling Bros. Gives Elephants That Perform in Anaheim Every Year Their Walking Papers

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Photo by Keith May/OC Weekly
Soon to be jobless.
The Feld family, which owns Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, announced today that it has accomplished something animal-rights activists have not: End the use of elephants in the Greatest Show on Earth.

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