Stories That Made a Difference

And some we regret

A passenger suffered a partially collapsed lung and broken ribs. Rather than report the accident and request an ambulance—or take a sobriety test, for that matter—Wersching had another passenger drive her to the hospital and then called the police dispatcher to send a tow truck to pull his car out of the sand. He received a 60-hour suspension for improper conduct, failing to report acts of misconduct and violating the law. Shortly after shooting the unarmed Saldivar, Wersching was promoted to detective.

Article info deleted from website due to embarrassment, Aug. 6, 2004

A freelancer turns in an article on Method Man sagging with massive factual errors—Method Man's real name is Manny Methodson, Method Man is a Methodist, Method Man wrote the monster '70s hit "More Than a Feeling"—and due to using a fact checker who—at best—did not insert his own custom surprise errors into articles, and also due to no one in OC Weekly editorial ever listening to any hip-hop that isn't 20 years out of date, article goes to press, triggering massive two-letter backlash. Said freelancer was blacklisted from OC Weekly but appeared in the very next issue of LA Weekly. When contacted, he did not apologize for severely fucking up. However, the Method Man madness made life easier for the local hip-hop community, absolving them of having to pay attention to OC Weekly.

"God Bless America" by R. Scott Moxley, Oct. 5, 2001

To persuade patriotic Republicans to trust him with their life's savings, Eddie Allen claimed for decades that he was a financial genius who managed "assets in the billions" for wealthy investors; earned a law degree at Harvard University; played baseball for the New York Yankees; flew Air Force Onefor President John F. Kennedy; as a colonel in the Air Force, was injured and held as a Vietnam War POW in the 1960s after performing covert CIA missions in Southeast Asia; was rescued personally from the Viet Cong by Henry Kissinger; and frequently dined with Ronald Reagan.

As Moxley discovered through months of research and dozens of personal interviews (including high-ranking espionage officials), none of it was true. Allen, married to Jo Ellen Allen—an Orange County Republican Party official, Southern California Edison executive and self-styled Christian conservative—may have been the most colorful con man in local history. Moxley found dozens of people across the U.S. who'd been victimized by Allen's multimillion-dollar scams. One, Mrs. Lee Pickett of Washington, was nearly blind, her husband on his deathbed, when Allen tricked her out of $553,000—her life savings. She pleaded with Allen to return her money but failed and lost her home. Pickett later thanked the Weekly for helping to expose Allen as a crook. "What Eddie did to us is so despicable," Pickett said in 2001. "We are the victims. He has to be stopped from doing this to anyone else."

Allen once ran from Moxley in a parking lot and, on another occasion at his office near John Wayne Airport, pretended he couldn't hear his questions, but the Weekly's series put an end to Allen's big paydays. Having kept millions of stolen dollars and apparently immune from prosecution thanks to his wife's connections with local prosecutors, he never paid for his crimes. A 73-year-old Allen died quietly of a heart ailment in February 2004.

"Juvenile Justice" by R. Scott Moxley, Feb. 18, 2000
Watson issued an order that anyone—lawyers, cops, jurors, witnesses, court observers—with HIV must publicly declare their status prior to entering his courtroom. When asked by the Weekly if his order was discriminatory, Watson said, "I don't care." He cared later. After the story was published, Watson rescinded the order and found himself apologizing to the state's commission on judicial conduct.

"Mr. Big Mouth" by R. Scott Moxley, March 12, 2004
When the Weekly exposed the assistant OC sheriff for potential conflicts of interest involving a Newport Beach company that paid Jaramillo and his wife $25,000 for consulting, Jaramillo was quick to respond: "I have good reason to hate you guys." Within days of the Weekly exposť, Sheriff Mike Carona fired Jaramillo, the FBI raided his office, and the DA opened an investigation that ended with Jaramillo's arrest. Case pending.

"Who the Hell's in Charge?" by R. Scott Moxley, March 23, 2001

Moxley exposed the DA's friendship with a businessman who concedes he'd been a longtime mob suspect by the DA's own mafia squad. Said Rackauckas, "We don't have organized crime, you know, any of the traditional [New York or Chicago Mafia] families operating out of Orange County." Two years to the month after our exposť, the LA Times mirrored our report: Rackauckas and Patrick N. Di Carlo remain pals.

"The Abortionist Who Funds Pro-Life Republicans" by R. Scott Moxley, June 26, 1998

We love Orange County for precisely these kinds of stories: Moxley's revelation that OC's vociferously anti-abortion Republican politicians, including Dana Rohrabacher, Scott Baugh, John Lewis, Ross Johnson and the Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, took contributions and accepted dining or racetrack invitations from a man who owns abortion clinics in several states and proudly claimed he's conducted about a half-million abortions. The politicians acknowledged Allred's financial support but denied any hypocrisy. In June 2005, one of Allred's abortion clinics in LA was sued for wrongful death after allegedly failing to remove all of a dead fetus from a 32-year-old woman's uterus.

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