Is OC's Political Dark Lord on the Run?

Spotted Michael J. Schroeder--the black Hummer driving dark lord of Orange County Republican politics--in public lately? Legal process servers certainly haven't and they're a bit frustrated. They've been repeatedly foiled at Schroeder's Xerox Centre offices in Santa Ana and at the hillside Corona del Mar home he shares with wife Susan Kang Schroeder, public affairs counsel to District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.

The servers want to hand Schroeder, a lawyer and close adviser to Mike Carona, a subpoena ordering him to undergo a deposition before ex-Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo's upcoming civil trial against the county.

In 2004, Carona, then sheriff, fired Jaramillo, his handpicked top aide. Jaramillo claims the firing was illegal and in retaliation for complaining about Carona's alleged misconduct in office. Carona representatives describe the lawsuit as hogwash.

Who to believe? Both Jaramillo and Carona--for five years the two top cops in Orange County--are now convicted felons.

So back to Schroeder (AKA Vader). After Jaramillo's departure from Carona's inner-circle, he became one of the sheriff's closest advisers. Jaramillo insists that Schroeder took him to a Los Angeles Lakers' game (undisputed) and during the outing threatened him with retaliation if he exposed Carona (disputed).

Joel W. Baruch, Jaramillo's Irvine-based attorney, would like to question Schroeder about events. It's safe to say that Baruck thinks Schroeder is dodging him.

Is that true?

"I'm hiding in plain sight in Sacramento," a laughing Schroeder told me during a phone call late this afternoon. "And on Monday, I'll be hiding in plain sight in New York. These guys [the process servers] just don't understand how much I travel."

Jaramillo's trial is set to begin April 6 in Superior Court Judge Andrew Bank's courtroom.

--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly


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