By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Nothing in Orange County is certain except this: between March 30 and April 14, county government secretaries and wives of criminal defendants are temporarily safe from Sheriff Mike Carona.
(For all images, click here.)
No, Carona hasn’t taken yet another vow of marital fidelity. Nor has he gone yachting again in the Pacific Ocean as a pampered, secret guest of a multimillionaire businessman/campaign contributor. Thanks to about $25,000 in public funds, the sheriff and his tight-knit inner circle are spending their Spring Break in Europe.
Yee-ha! Pour those Grey Goose martinis, boys!
Weekly readers remember our (unauthorized) photos from Carona’s last visit. Wasn’t it sweet of the “born again” sheriff to lift and carry that young blond woman in his arms? (See image 1.) It’s those types of sacrifices that set him apart from other politicians. As long as his nagging wife isn’t around, he’s willing to lend a hand, both arms—hell, any part of his body.
Few know about Carona’s ties to Jamestown’s Captain John Smith, who reportedly threw his cape on a street to save the Queen of England from a puddle. In Russia, the sheriff was similarly chivalrous. He let a scantily-clad brunette—supplied by the local government for her “interpreter” skills—prance around in his hotel room wearing his official cape. (See image 2.) It must be as cold inside Moscow hotel rooms as it is outside.
But I’m told this latest trip has the whiff of decorum. The sheriff is visiting Great Britain and France for “confidential briefings” with law-enforcement, private-sector and government-sector officials “regarding the prevention of international terrorism and drug trafficking,” according to county staff. It sounds damn serious, and trust me, I’ve checked the itinerary. Nowhere does it state, “Trafalgar Square, midnight, blowjob.”
Nonetheless, the foreign-intelligence services must have had a good chuckle while checking Carona’s background. In January, for example, the California attorney general determined that Carona had lied when he denied asking the wife of a burglary suspect to accompany him on a romantic weekend in San Francisco. (See image 3.) Classy, huh?
AG investigators also heard an audio recording that our boneheaded top cop inadvertently made of himself while hiding in a vehicle with a government secretary. The recording—made while out of town on “official business”—captures Carona professing his “love” to the woman as well as kisses, fondling, moaning and groaning. (See image 4, from actual transcript.) Nearby, his wife sat oblivious in an SUV.
How much time the sheriff has slotted for partying on the current trip isn’t known. Before he left, his staff boasted that Interpol, the renowned France-based international-policing organization, would share its “classified systems.” Interpol tracks organized crime around the globe, which should baffle Carona, who has repeatedly enjoyed the company of an organized-crime associate who owned an infamous Las Vegas titty bar. (See image 5.)
Though law-enforcement records show Rick Rizzolo’s ties to legendary mob hitman Joey “The Clown” Lombardo (whose deadly work was portrayed in Casino), our sheriff insisted Rizzolo is an honest businessman. Carona even accepted a $1,500 campaign contribution from him, but he returned it when reporters began snooping around the transaction. In January, a federal judge put Rizzolo in prison after an FBI underworld-racketeering probe.
You have to wonder if Carona feels queasy? on this trip. Interpol also investigates police corruption worldwide. Did the agency show our sheriff its file on George Jaramillo, his hand-picked, former top deputy and “friend for life” who is now serving a jail sentence after a bribery-and-perjury investigation involving activities at Carona’s department? (See image 6.)
Or of Joseph Cavallo, the sheriff’s longtime drinking and camping pal, who faces felony corruption charges for somehow operating a lucrative bail-bonds scam out of Carona’s county jail? (See image 7.)
Or of Don Haidl, a used-car salesman and onetime Carona assistant sheriff, who’s been investigated three times by state officials in connection to allegations of tax fraud, illegal gun-running and bribery of a Los Angeles police officer? (See image 8.)
Or of Charles Gabbard, a convicted murderer/robber/thief who got Carona to write an official endorsement letter backing his product after more than $40,000 in illegal contributions were deposited into the sheriff’s campaign banking account? (See image 9.)
Or of Lebanon-born Joseph Medawar, ?a con artist whom Carona allowed to film Orange County’s top-secret anti-terrorism training procedures? Medawar, who used the sheriff as a willing prop in his get-rich-scheme, is ?currently incarcerated in a federal prison. ?(See image 10.)
Or of Carona himself? (See image 11.)