OC's Scariest People 2013
Illustration: Lalo Alcaraz | Design: Dustin Ames
Every year, we pick the 31 scariest people in Orange County so you can laugh, cringe and be glad we didn't pick you this time around. But we hear you, gentle readers: You want more. More Instagrams, more tweets, more interacting with us. In that spirit, we've decided to offer cutout dolls of some of our scariest people, complete with accessories! Now you can pit Christopher Dorner against pervy Judge Scott Steiner, with Todd Spitzer saving the day by hijacking yet another press conference. Or you can just continue reading our latest collection of OC's lowest of the low. And don't forget to visit our Navel Gazing blog, on which we'll reveal the latest inductee to the Bob Dornan Scary OC Hall of Fame!
1. CHRISTOPHER DORNER
The poster boy for scary in 2013 was Christopher Jordan Dorner, the 33-year-old former La Palma resident who famously washed out as an LAPD officer (because he was flippin' nuts!). In early February, Dorner terrorized all of Southern California generally and anyone in a police uniform specifically. The former naval reserve officer's blood spree began with the lives of a bright, happy, young couple in Irvine—the female half being the daughter of the police captain who had represented Dorner in disciplinary proceedings. The discovery of those bodies was quickly followed by the disclosure of the madman's online manifesto against the LAPD (and, oddly, in favor of certain celebrities, including the stars of KFI's John and Ken Show). Amid an all-points manhunt that included false sightings, raids on empty dwellings, and cops using a Latina mother-and-daughter team delivering newspapers as target practice, a Riverside cop on routine patrol was shot to death and two other policemen were injured. Then, in the Big Bear area standoff that would end SoCal's nightmare, one deputy was slain in an exchange of gunfire and a second was hurt. With cabin walls in flames around him, Dorner presumably shot himself dead, but his folk-hero status survived. Mitigating factor: The only bright spot in all this? Howard Stern Wack Packer Captain Janks crank-calling KCBS-TV Channel 2 during the final showdown.
2. GREG PARHAM
Despite the fact that his bosses—Deputy U.S. Attorney General Andre Birotte, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama—had repeatedly insisted their policy wasn't to interfere with patients obtaining medical marijuana in states in which it was legal to do so, Greg Parham was a man on a mission. The assistant U.S. Attorney was in charge of the federal government's pot-eradication efforts in Southern California, and as he saw it, his job was to shut down every cannabis dispensary in his jurisdiction, policy and public statements be damned. Internal emails obtained by the Weekly reveal that Parham instructed his colleagues to threaten landlords with seizure of their properties without regard to whether their tenants were complying with state law. Worse, the emails showed that Parham and his pals relished the knowledge their actions were ruining lives and found such news cause for celebration. Mitigating factor: Thanks to our coverage, embarrassed higher-ups in the Obama administration forced Parham's office to drop several major cases against landlords in Orange County.
3. AARON KUSHNER
Have you ever watched someone being interviewed on television that clearly has no meaningful grasp of the topic? Regardless of the pending question, this interviewee expertly regurgitates marketing-department prepared lines with fake sincerity. That has been the m.o. of Aaron Kushner, the public face of a secretive business entity that purchased Freedom Communications Inc. and its flagship Orange County Register in 2012. It's one thing for a corporate flack for, say, a real-estate-development firm to utter nonsense to inquiring reporters. But it's another, more problematic thing when the empty suit is the leader of a media empire of more than 30 publications. It's even worse that Kushner, whose prior experience in journalism was buying an established greeting-card company, seems to think his carefully manufactured utterances equal facts. Adding free tickets to Angels games, cocktail party-like pictures and saccharine reports of churches, clubs and high-school sports doesn't push the paper into the "great" journalism category worthy of a complete paywall that even The New York Times or Washington Post don't dare. Perhaps what's most frightening is that so many otherwise-clear-headed reporters have cheapened their bylines by leaping on the Kushner bandwagon. Mitigating factor: A profile we wrote on him won us Best Business Story awards from both the OC and LA Press Clubs.
4. GABRIELLE NESTANDE
By day, Gabrielle Jane Nestande was a Texas legislative aide, former debutante and scion of a powerful Newport Beach political family headed by Bruce Nestande, a former OC assemblyman, county supervisor and campaign chairman to various high-profile GOP candidates who still advises OC's Republican Party. One night in 2011, petite Gabrielle downed five celebratory beers, a vodka drink and a 3-ounce shot, transforming into "Gabby Nasty," the nickname she earned in the Austin area for plowing her BMW into a nanny out for her last early-morning walk. Nestande, who'd previously worked on Governor Rick Perry's campaign, initially avoided the most serious fatal DUI hit-and-run charges, sparking a public outcry that had a state attorney taking the case over from local prosecutors. Gabby was convicted of criminally negligent homicide, sentenced to 180 days in jail and, just before her stretch ended in September, beaten up by a fellow inmate. None of this, by the way, was covered by the Register. Mitigating factor: Bruce got house arrest after a hit-and-run DUI crash into a parked car in Newport Beach. That was after a previous conviction for DUI hit-and-run in San Bernardino County. The appletini obviously does not fall far from the tree.
5. SOUTH COAST AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) made national headlines this year for the first time by attacking the only thing in Orange County besides hating on Arte Moreno that unites all of its squabbling tribes—the fire pits in Huntington Beach and Corona del Mar. And while the most middle-class uprising this side of an HOA coup may have beat back the SCAQMD's proposed complete ban for a compromise that kept most of the pits burning, it's important to stay vigilant because you never know when the NIMBY nay-sayers will rear their overprivileged heads once again. Mitigating factor: They somehow got us to praise SanTana's Mayor-for-Life Don Papi Pulido, so . . . yay?
6. KRIS MURRAY
Anaheim's Boss Bitch, Kris Murray went from unknown Curt Pringle puppet to prominent Curt Pringle puppet long before the city burned last summer in riots that made national headlines. Serving as a proxy for OC's eternal Dark Lord, Murray formed a council coalition opposing Mayor Tom Tait (a longtime Pringle ally until the two split under mysterious circumstances) at every turn, from massive hotel-developer subsidies to public calls for police reform to sweetheart proposals to the Angels to an ACLU lawsuit seeking district elections. After a sham committee she prepared to study electoral issues offered a surprise deadlock recommendation that single-member districts go before Anaheim voters, Murray ignored the notion, opting instead for at-large district elections, a proposal as ludicrous as her claims Pringle has no influence on her. She has taken every opportunity to throw her political weight around, no matter how meritless or low the exercise in power may be. Mitigating factor: Her piercing, ocean-blue eyes . . .
7. NICOLAS CENDOYA AND KYNDALL JACK
When hikers are lost in the wilderness, it's usually the circumstance that's scary. But when 19-year-old Nicolas Cendoya and 18-year-old Kyndall Jack decided to go for a hike in Trabuco Canyon on March 31, and then went missing for several days, the duo became OC's own version of Alive, except without the cannibalism or heroics. Search parties found the teens separated, missing clothing and totally out of it. Over the following days, they told reporters stories of being stalked by vicious wild animals, voices speaking to them, and eating plants and dirt. Commenters smelled psilocybin gone wrong, but a police search turned up meth in Cendoya's vehicle, which they had taken to the hike. We can't confirm if they were high at any point during their trip, but we are certain the pair incurred a $160,000 search-and-rescue tab they don't have to pay, hospital bills, and a reserve deputy and volunteer left severely injured when both fell trying to reach the teens. Mitigating factor: At least the kids were trying to enjoy nature.
8. CASHA CHEEMA
Fleeing any hit-and-run situation, even a minor fender bender, is cowardly and criminal. Fleeing after hitting two people on a motorcycle on a freeway? Meet Casha Cheema. On Oct. 9, the 25-year-old Irvine resident sideswiped two people riding a 2009 Yamaha while trying to avoid slowing traffic in front of her, sending the pair flying into the center divider. The unidentified driver received minor injuries, but 24-year-old Yuliana Gutierrez suffered major head trauma and died five hours later at the hospital. Witnesses say Cheema stopped to check on the motorcyclists, but left the scene when she saw the CHP heading her way. Mitigating factor: Cheema gloated about her negligent driving skills in a 2009 YouTube video, which ought to help the manslaughter case against her.
9. THE WHITE RABBIT AT DISNEYLAND
What's more heartwarming than a child snuggled in the warm embrace of a costumed character at Disneyland? That's the idea an African-American family from San Diego had when they visited the Anaheim theme park last year and sent their children to hug the White Rabbit from Alice In Wonderland. But, allege Jason and Annelia Black, the harried hare was more villainous than the Queen of Hearts, turning his back on black kids while showering white and Asian youngsters with affection. Disney offered an apology and $500 in park passes in exchange for a confidentiality agreement; the Blacks refused, suing instead for policy changes and confirmation the cast member in question had been fired. A couple of weeks after the news surfaced, the bigoted bunny was at it again, caught on video pushing a teenaged Latina who tugged his tail and screaming, "Don't even start your shit with me!" Mitigating factor: At least Disneyland's Pancake House, which employed a mammy serving white suburbanites, has long been shuttered.
10. ANIMAL LIBERATION FRONT
Although it occasionally infiltrates slaughterhouses and releases bone-chilling cow-torture videos, this radical animal-rights group is mostly famous for acts of vandalism. A few years back, Animal Liberation Front (ALF) placed a non-explosive incendiary device outside a bank in South OC that was allegedly tied to an animal-testing laboratory. And there's the action a presumably small number of ALF members carried out a few months back at Taco Asylum, the popular, locally sourced Costa Mesa eatery, because it serves rabbit tacos. One or more idiots showed up late at night on July 28, glued a lock on a door, spilled a bunch of red paint—let's take a wild guess: bunny blood?—and spray-painted the slogan "Free the Animals" on the restaurant's front deck. Mitigating factor: These silly saboteurs will deepen their affinity with our furry friends once the FBI hunts them down and puts them in a cage.
11. STANWOOD FRED ELKUS
"I'll admit what I did was a terrible thing," 75-year-old Stanwood Fred Elkus reportedly told a newspaper scribe during visiting hours in May at Theo Lacy Jail in Orange. What the Lake Elsinore barber is accused of doing is shooting eight rounds into the chest of Dr. Ronald Gilbert, a popular Orange County urologist who was likely dead before he hit the exam-room floor of his Newport Beach office. The Gilbert family's attorney believes Elkus, who allegedly posed as a first-time patient, was disgruntled over prostate surgery performed several years earlier by a doctor with a similar name. Knowing you did something terrible is one thing; trying to shield your assets so they do not wind up with Gilbert's grieving wife and two sons—as Elkus is accused in court of having done—takes the sickness to another level. Or depth. Mitigating factor: If the prostate sufferer is convicted, his toilet will be inches from his prison bunk for the rest of his life.
12. LAMDA THETA DELTA
We don't know which is worse: UC Irvine's Asian frat Lambda Theta Delta (the Delta Tau Chi of the campus, except without the coolness), who produced a music video featuring one of their members performing in blackface and posted it to their official YouTube channel, or the American education system that has somehow glossed over a few hundred years of racism and produced kids who are just so . . . ignorant. In their (very weak) defense, the frat members did go into self-imposed exile, but is that because they're atoning for their sins? Or are they hoping it blows over in the year they're gone? We'll see when they come back in Fall 2014. Mitigating factor: One less obnoxious group of bros on Ring Road!
13. RICHARD JOHN RACK
Richard John Rack checked more than just homework during his time as a math teacher at Shorecliffs Middle School in San Clemente. The 51-year-old creeper pled guilty to two felony counts of lewd acts on a child age 14 or 15, one felony count of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor under 14, and one felony count of oral copulation of a minor under 16 earlier this summer. Deputy District Attorney Vanessa Woods told a jury that Rack would "test" middle-school girls by holding their hands and praising their appearance. If they responded favorably, he would move on to hugging and kissing. Orange County Superior Court Judge Sheila Hanson could sentence Rack to up to 10 years in state prison. Mitigating factor: Rack will most likely be called "Dick" in prison.
14. THIS GUY!
[See image of Tobias Fünke.]
15. MATT CUNNINGHAM
A pioneer in OC's blogging community, Matt Cunningham was shamed into digital hiding a couple of years ago when the longtime Republican operative outed sex-abuse victims in his pathetic campaign to defend his priest, John Urell, a Diocese of Orange bigwig who had long shielded pedophile priests from the law. Cunningham re-emerged last year to start a new blog funded by the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce with the sole purpose of tarring Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait and activists trying to reform the corrupt town. When he's not trashing attempts at democracy, Cunningham hails the status quo and whines that Republicans aren't paying attention to Anaheim, which only proves how influential he truly is. Did we mention he outed sex-abuse victims? Mitigating factor: He inspired two of the greatest nicknames in OC blogging history—"Jerbal," for his Baba Booey-like chompers, and "Fart Boy," because his ethics are as smelly as a juicy ripper.
16. ERIC LAMAR WELLS
Watching linebacker-sized Eric Lamar Wells weep at his June sentencing hearing after selling two minors, ages 13 and 17, to anonymous horny men in Las Vegas; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Anaheim (near Disneyland) was laughable. "I've changed," said a teary-eyed Wells, a violence-prone, veteran pimp. The 26-year-old Stockton resident, nailed by a human-trafficking task force that included the FBI and the Anaheim Police Department, sought leniency because he'd grown up poor and got hooked on a cocaine habit. But, alas, there's nothing preventing a poor person from knowing it's despicably criminal to use minor girls as well as your own girlfriend, the mother of one of your kids, for prostitution. Mitigating factor: Wells' weepiness might be attractive to lonely inmates during his 10-year prison stint.
17. THE DOUCHEBAG LONG BEACH COP WHO STEPPED ON DORIAN BROOKS
The incident actually happened last year—June 19, 2012, to be exact—but it wasn't until March 26 of this year that a lawsuit charging Long Beach police with brutality during pot raids got our attention. A videotape used as evidence in the suit shows cops barging into a medical-marijuana dispensary and ordering employees to lie down. Then the tape shows a cop happily marching onscreen and purposefully stepping on the back of a prone African-American man named Dorian Brooks, who had just complied with the order. The footage also shows cops trying to destroy security cameras, but the wiring was remote, so no luck there. The past 12 months have been full of examples of cops and feds acting like total douchebags in the unwinnable war on weed, but since this particularly malicious and cowardly act happened to be caught on tape, it wins the contest. Mitigating factor: Long Beach, which had banned pot clubs after its corrupted attempt to legalize them fell apart, is reportedly going to allow them to operate again.
18. TODD SPITZER
In the early morning hours of Feb. 19—seven days after Christopher Dorner's life ended in Big Bear—another blood-soaked nightmare befell OC when 20-year-old Ali Syed fatally shot a young woman in his family's Ladera Ranch home before taking off in his parents' SUV to open fire on local freeway motorists. By the time the gunsmoke cleared, three more were dead, including suicidal Syed. A press conference at which media members hoped to fill gaping holes created in the frantic spot-news coverage was hijacked by headline-grabbing Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer. The Spitz, who cut off a police official giving vital details about the crime spree, was there to remind reporters that Ladera Ranch and Irvine, where the Dorner bloodshed began, are within his supervisorial district and he would present "a community discussion on violence" (later canceled). This came after Spitzer inexplicably showed up in Big Bear the night the Dorner manhunt ended, granting more unnecessary interviews for reasons only Todd knows. Mitigating factor: Proving he's no two-trick press-conference hog, Spitzer grabbed the mic after Easter, when reporters and TV crews gathered for details on rescued teen hikers in Trabuco Canyon, which is, as you of course know, also within you-know-who's district.
19. RACKY'S ATTACKERS
The longtime OC Weekly news box stood on Main Street in Huntington Beach for as long as the paper existed . . . until the U.S. Open of Surfing riots that engulfed downtown Surf City last summer. Vandals smashed up Racky, no doubt still pissed that Steve Lowery's Diary of a Mad County column is no longer published. The Weekly put up a substantial reward in exchange for info on the assailants that has yet to be claimed, showing how much people actually read our blogs. Mitigating factor: While the rioters knocked down The Orange County Register news rack with ease, they heaped the most abuse on Racky—yet she never buckled under the pressure. Battered and bruised, but standing plain and tall—what a metaphor for journalism in Orange County!
20. WILLIAM FITZGERALD
Used to be that this babbling Anaheim gadfly only railed about Disneyland fireworks in his neighborhood. Maybe he was on to something, and the pyrotechnic chemicals finally went to his brain because William Fitzgerald has set his sights on other enemies: Muslims and Vietnamese. But nothing prepared the Anaheim City Council audience for the anti-Semitic tirade he unleashed a few weeks back at Councilman Jordan Brandman. Speaking about Hitler and the Holocaust, Fitzgerald had this to say: "It was the Jordan Brandman type of evil Jews that led to the hatred of all Jews in Germany and the Holocaust." He also called the council member "an evil, greedy, scheming" Jew who "bragged" about having relatives who died in the Holocaust. Finally, despite having been politely asked to refrain from "mean" personal insults by Anaheim's mayor, Fitzgerald went full Nazi and concluded his speech by saying, "Jordan Brandman is one very sick faggot." Mitigating factor: Those Disneyland fireworks are Jewish, right?
21. ARTE MORENO
It was bad enough that Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim owner signed Albert Pujols in 2012 to a mega-deal that means Halos fans get to see the first-ballot Hall-of-Famer turn into Willie Mays with the Mets instead of Willie Mays with the Giants over the next decade. It was even worse when Moreno signed Josh Hamilton this year to a mega-deal that means Halos fans get to see their team's finances shackled for the next five years on two over-the-hill hitters. But Moreno went from merely being a bad owner to becoming a possible welfare queen when details emerged of a package the Anaheim City Council crafted to keep the Angels in town. The deal seeks to give Moreno rights to develop the land around Angels Stadium (and all the subsequent tax revenue) and allow the team to drop any Anaheim references in its name. Meanwhile, Moreno won't speak to the local press, justifying legendary sports columnist TJ Simers' nickname for him: Angry Arte. And he makes all front-office personnel dress in those god-awful red polos that Moreno probably grabbed from a Warehouse Shoe Sale bargain bin. Mitigating factor: He's antagonizing Mike Trout with his penny-pinching, meaning the young slugger will show Moreno the errors of his ego by bouncing.
22. LOU CORREA
When federal officials recently announced they would tolerate the sale of marijuana in states that had well-regulated marketplaces, their bold new policy was a tribute to the leadership of politicians in Colorado and Washington. California, on the other hand, isn't yet covered by this mandate. The reason: weak-kneed, feckless hacks in Sacramento who prefer to sit on their hands rather than figure out a way to protect the rights of citizens covered by the 17-year-old Compassionate Use Act. Then there's Lou Correa, the Democratic state senator from Santa Ana who's even worse. Earlier this year, he introduced a totally useless, scaremongering law that only the police could love; Senate Bill 289 would make it illegal to drive with any detectible amount of marijuana in your system. Translation: smoke a joint and get pulled over the next morning, and you'd be breaking Correa's stupid law. Mitigating factor: Correa's colleagues in the state Legislature refused to go along with his knuckle-headed plan.
23. DIA DE LOS MUERTOS
Not the centuries-old Mexican religious holiday that is increasing in popularity en los Estados Unidos, but the proposed Pixar movie on the subject that led Disney to trademark the name in anticipation of hundreds of shoddy products. An online petition demanding the Mouse drop its efforts secured 20,000 signatures within a day and worked: a spokesrat quickly confirmed Disney was withdrawing its filings, claiming the tentative title of the forthcoming film had changed—and then the world howled in laughter. Mitigating factor: The fiasco inspired the brilliant "Muerto Mouse" illustration by legendary cartoonista Lalo Alcaraz that graces our cover, his best lampooning of Disney since "Migra Mouse."
24. KENT WYCLIFF EASTER AND JILL BJORKHOLM EASTER
A jury trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 28 for this Irvine couple accused of planting drugs in the car of a mom whose daughter attends the same school as the Easters' son, and then calling the cops on her. The mom had apparently worked volunteer yard duty and lightly disciplined the Easters' golden child, which led to an unsuccessful civil suit brought by the lawyer couple. The next move, according to prosecutors, was having Kent stick a bag containing Vicodin, Percocet, marijuana and a used pot pipe behind the driver's seat of the woman's unlocked vehicle—but in clear view of anyone (such as a cop) who peered inside one morning in February 2011. Kent and Jill allegedly called and texted each other just before and after a call was made to police about a drugged-up woman driving erratically before parking in an elementary school lot. But the "case" unraveled about as quickly as the Easters became Irvine's Bonnie and Clod. Mitigating factor: Potential readers now know about Holding House, Jill Easter's crime novel under the name Ava Bjork.
25. ANTHONY DUONG DONNER
Most Orange County police officers involved in underhanded deeds are smart enough to cover their tracks by crafting plausible-deniability ruses that routinely work on a gullible public. If the FBI is right, Donner—a Westminster police officer—didn't comprehend key sections of the well-worn Dirty Cop Handbook. The Golden West College graduate faces federal charges that in exchange for free housing from Kevin Khanh Tuan Do, a Fountain Valley businessman, he used his job (and uniform) to regularly act as the muscle in a Little Saigon extortion operation that demanded a whopping 60 percent annual interest. One victim, the owner of a Little Saigon coffee shop, claims cops—not just Donner—routinely visited her business to intimidate her when payments were due. Following August arrests, Do and Donner have pleaded not guilty. Mitigating factor: Ex-OC Sheriff Mike Carona needs a cellmate.
26. SCOTT STEINER
Orange County Superior Court Judge Scott Steiner is a conservative Republican with a beautiful wife and kids, but this year, he faced an allegation he'd committed sexual misconduct in connection with a former student at Chapman Law School, where he taught. Of course, it's not remarkable when a public figure strays into occasional infidelity. This particular allegation originated at the school, got transferred to the Orange County district attorney's office—Steiner's prior office as a prosecutor—and then landed at the California Attorney General's office, where officials declined to file criminal charges after a sheriff's department probe. What is noteworthy, however, is the volume of reports of different gorgeous, young women linked romantically to our Don Juan judge. Holy geez, dude. You need a male chastity belt? Mitigating factor: Move over, Bob Dole—Viagra has a new spokesman.
27. DINA NGUYEN
There's a lot of trash we can heap on the Garden Grove councilwoman, but the reason she makes our Scariest list this year is for her defense strategy as the attorney for the Vietnamese American Federation of Southern California, the homophobic organizers of last year's Tet Parade. Dina Nguyen, who represented the organization with former Garden Grove City Councilman Mark Rosen, defended the federation's decision to bar entry to LGBT organizations by showing pictures of men in thongs during a gay-pride parade completely unrelated to the Tet Parade. The move drew the ire of Orange County Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Glass, who made a point to say he was offended the lawyers thought he would be offended. Unfortunately, he was unable to issue an injunction requiring the organizers to allow LGBT groups to participate; LGBT individuals marched with other organizations instead, sans thongs, much to Nguyen's displeasure. Mitigating factor: Her escapades drew former Nguoi Viet Daily News managing editor and current Bolsavik Publisher Hao-Nhien Vu out of the shadows, so there's that.
28. KELLEY CAHILL
There's no arguing the disgusting nature of Internet scam artists who swipe another person's name and photographs, then invent sob stories to entice money from good-hearted victims looking for love. To help educate the public about such thieves, ABC's 20/20 spent an hour in 2011 on the worthy topic. The show exposed several individuals who'd successfully conned people they'd never met out of large chunks of cash. Unfortunately, the show's producers also included a segment with then-host Chris Cuomo that featured the whining of Orange County's Kelley Cahill. In comparison to the real villains mentioned on the show, Cahill's outrage about David Williams, her ex-boyfriend, fell flat. Williams didn't steal anyone's identity or devise a con game to use Internet romance to swindle cash. In fact, the two met, they dated, she voluntarily gave him gifts, they moved in together, and then they experienced one of those non-criminal, ugly breakups that happen thousands of times a day across the nation. Like Glenn Close's spurned character in Fatal Attraction, Cahill went on a campaign to destroy her ex, and ABC gave her an undeserved national platform. Williams sued for defamation, claiming he broke up with Cahill after he caught her lying to go on a sex date with another man. Earlier this year, a veteran judge ruled Williams' case had legal merit, a move that caused ABC to settle before trial. Cahill wants to keep the drama going: She operates a dating-service business, iCheckmates, that profits from her alleged victimhood. Mitigating factor: Adding an "i" to your business name is so 2007.
29. OC WEEKLY WHISKEY BANDIT
Over the course of a year, this asshole whittled down this infernal rag's Scotch and bourbon collection without anyone's permission. Staffers blamed our office's Mexican janitorial staff, drawing accusations of racism from Mexican In Chief Gustavo Arellano, who pointed out that said thief never touched the tequila—"and the only whiskey Mexicans drink is bukanas," he boasted. Arellano had to eat his own words when a nanny cam caught the Whiskey Bandit—a Mexican janitor—polishing off some high-priced Scotch, then cleaning the drinking glass with his grimy T-shirt. Ewwww. . . . Meanwhile, Gustavo now hates Mexicans. Mitigating factor: At least he didn't steal the $1,000 in petty cash floating around the office.
30. HOAG HOSPITAL SENIOR LEADERSHIP
When Hoag Hospital merged with St. Joseph's Health System in an effort to make sure the hospital didn't go out of business, one of the requirements of that partnership was that Hoag had to abide by St. Joe's "Statement of Common Values," which prohibits elective abortion. Instead of owning up to change, Hoag leadership tried to deflect criticism and claimed the decision to do away with elective abortions was to improve care, invoking the anger of eight of its OB/GYNs. The doctors released a signed public letter refuting many of Hoag's claims, highlighting that many other procedures performed at Hoag, including gamma knife brain surgery and robotic uterine fibroid surgery, were performed less than 100 times per year. Did those get the knife? Nope. Mitigating factors: Health care is pretty cool.
31. STEVE SMITH
Last April, music promoter Steve Smith tried to organize a spinoff of the annual Punk Rock Picnic by stealing the identity of the original fest from its founders and promoting his own, advertising headlining sets by Danzig and GWAR aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach. The promoter had neither a venue nor confirmed headliners, yet he still sold tickets to unwitting punks and collected pay-to-play money from local bands who would give their left nut to be on the same stage as Oderus Urungus. But weeks before the festival, Smith canceled, blaming the city of Long Beach, and bailed on everyone who trusted him with their cash. Hardly anyone has seen or heard from him since—except in court, as Smith is getting sued by a pissed-off vendor. Mitigating factor: The possibility of GWAR sacrificing Smith's effigy to Satan next time they play the Observatory.
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