Mike Schroeder will jump out of bed this morning in Corona del Mar, neatly hang his Darth Vader pajamas in the closet, shower, kneel at his USC football altar and don an expensive, natty suit befitting Orange County’s leading Republican strategist-slash-chiropractic insurance company king.
It’s a big day in Schroederdom. He’ll drive his jumbo-sized, black Hummer to the state court of appeal (COA) in Santa Ana in the hopes of teaching a onetime disciple a lesson: Don’t Mess with Mike. Schroeder—consigliere to both District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and Sheriff Michael S. Carona—wants the justices to toss First District Republican Supervisor Janet Nguyen from office.
Not gonna bore you with technical election junk, but Schroeder claims the Registrar of Voters certified the wrong Nguyen as the winner (by just three votes) in last February’s special election. He says the Republican who finished second, Trung Nguyen, should be seated. Surely coincidentally to the merits of the case, Trung is, to put it bluntly, Schroeder’s boy. Janet, on the other hand, has had the audacity to show occasional independence from local GOP bosses like Schroeder.
But there’s more at play here than petty, inside political baseball. If the COA tosses Janet’s election, Schroeder—the reigning mastermind of OC insider games—will be in excellent position when his pal—the federally indicted Carona—leaves office prematurely. How? In his corner, he’d have three likely votes on the board of supes: Trung Nguyen, Pat Bates and Bill Campbell. That board majority gives Schroeder key influence over who will complete the remainder of Carona’s term at the county’s most powerful government agency.
So if you see Schroeder running excitedly into the COA building on Spurgeon this morning, it's not a pit stop. It's not even to distribute Mitt Romney For Prez brochures. Half of his law enforcement empire is at stake.
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-- R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly