Two well-respected, former police detectives have filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court alleging rampant corruption at the Newport Beach Police Department and City Hall.
Craig Frizzell and Steve Shulman say that police bosses repeatedly rigged promotion tests, gave improper consulting deals to favored retired cops, granted secret access to sensitive police databases to unauthorized individuals outside the department, took free hotel rooms, handed special favors to businessmen who provided free meals and retaliated against honest officers who complained.
City officials have not yet formally replied to the May 5 lawsuit, but previously responded by dismissing the pre-lawsuit allegations by Frizzell and Shulman as meritless.
Despite the attempt to appear calm, police and city officials must be fretting, and not just because both Frizzell and Shulman were outstanding officers for more than 25 years.
The two former cops hired John A. Girardi to represent them. You may remember Girardi as the Los Angeles-based powerhouse attorney who won an impressive $1.2 million judgment against Newport Beach police bosses for discriminating against another highly touted veteran cop: Neil Harvey. Underestimate Girardi, who is highly skilled, at your peril.
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A 2009 Orange County jury determined Harvey's career had been sabotaged because police management absurdly speculated that the decorated, heterosexual cop might be gay because he was a perfectionist in his duties and once lived in artsy Laguna Beach.
In their 21-page lawsuit, Frizzell and Shulman say department corruption was "intolerable" and that instead of cleaning up the mess, officials harassed and belittled them for protesting. They also claim that Rob Morton--another honest, accomplished veteran officer--was punished for confronting wrongdoing.
Shulman's detective work was featured on national television after his key role in solving the murder of Tom and Jackie Hawks, who were tied alive to an anchor and thrown off their own yacht in 2004.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
(rscottmoxley at ocweekly dot com)