Meet the New Sheriff . . .

Taking a wait-and-see stance toward OC’s new top cop

Back to the noteworthy Register photograph I mentioned: At the historic June 10 board hearing, Hutchens was seated with her hands placed together, prayer-like, in front of her chest. She had cracked a slight smile as if humbled by events.

But there was a hand gripping her left shoulder. Follow the arm past the expensive watch and the cuff links, and you'll find the face of Ronald Cedillos. When Hutchens stood to accept the vote, Cedillos—the man who'd been working behind the scenes for her selection, especially with Supervisor Pat Bates—was the first person she hugged.

For those of you who don't know, Cedillos was one of Carona's early vocal supporters. The wealthy businessman and well-connected GOP activist hobnobbed with Carona and his now-convicted former assistant sheriffs George Jaramillo and Don Haidl. Indeed, Cedillos turned his impressive Laguna Niguel estate into an off-duty personal playground for the trio. There's a good chance his name will surface during Carona's federal trial.

The Hutchens-Cedillos relationship, however, could mean nothing. Cedillos may have entirely honorable intentions in renewing his access to the most powerful cop in OC. After all, he's never been tied to Carona's alleged criminal conduct, and, Cedillos tells me, their relationship ended poorly.

Still, as some Cedillos critics suggest, the relationship could signal the beginning of the end of our new sheriff's honeymoon.


This story originally appeared June 12 on ocweekly.com.

rscottmoxley@ocweekly.com

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