During his life, Don Haidl--the booze-loving, foul-mouthed, piano-playing, Rancho Cucamonga auto-auction king with underworld ties and a hatred for journalists--dreamed of playing cop, so he secretly paid more than $100,000 to Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona, grabbed an assistant sheriff's badge, gun, patrol car, full police powers and, for occasions when he craved public adulation, a fancy uniform with high-ranking, lapel stars.
When he testified in Carona's 2008 federal corruption trial and helped to put his pal in prison for 66 months to save himself from incarceration, the ultra-wealthy Haidl admitted he'd partly wanted the badge to impress his associates, enhance his stance in business negotiations and, if necessary, escape DUI charges after one of his nights out at swank bars.
He also recalled delight from blasting the siren on his Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) car to alert his neighbors to his status and to awe his youngest son, Greg, who would go on to secure infamy in the international-headlines-grabbing Haidl Gang Rape case, in which an unconscious, 16-year-old girl was sexually assaulted with a Snapple bottle, pool cue, apple juice can and a lit cigarette.
It shouldn't be surprising then that the scrappy Haidl--who passed away in December 2012 at the age of 61 (he looked 81)--could still generate scandal in death.
It also isn't shocking that Haidl's festering legacy would involve hillbilly antics, allegations of financial shenanigans and cash.
Peggy Haidl--the deceased's sister, executor of his massive, Newport Coast estate and the person who admitted under oath she delivered envelopes stuffed with $100 bills from her brother to Carona and then-Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo--is suing her brother Dean Haidl in Orange County Superior Court for fraud.
According to the lawsuit, Dean secured a $100,000 loan from Peggy in April 2013, under the pretense he would within weeks sell one of his homes in Rialto and one of his boats to repay the funds, but after making just $13,350 in payments, he transferred his personal property to his children and has been avoiding the debt.
Peggy, who claims she had been trying to aid her brother in keeping his auto-dealer license despite bad credit--wants her $86,650 back (plus interest and punitive damages), and if Dean doesn't fork it over, her Encino-based lawyer has threatened to memorialize family facts that will be "less enjoyable reading" than his earlier demand letters, according to court records.
She asserts in the court filing that Dean created "nothing more than sham, shells and fictitious organizations"--Superior Auto Brokers, Haidl & Haidl Investments LLC., Sunset Real Estate Investments LLC.--"for the purpose of facilitating the avoidance of creditors."
In other court records, Peggy claims that in the wake of Don's death, Dean took a 2012 Mercedes-Benz S550, valued at $76,000, from the deceased's ocean-view, $5.125 million Newport Coast house, and refuses to return it to the estate.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Though Don Haidl owned 100 percent of Hearthstone Properties LLC. and Hearthstone Benicia LLC., entities allegedly valued at nearly $4 million, at the time of his death, he owed the California Franchise Tax Board $663,000 in back taxes as well as unpaid legal and accounting bills totaling nearly $2 million.
Superior Court Judge Sheila Fell is presiding in the Peggy vs. Dean show.