This afternoon on a radio talk show, Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach defended former Sheriff Mike Carona who was arrested by FBI and IRS agents and convicted of public corruption in 2009 after a federal trial.
Moorlach, a conservative Republican who can probably quote dozens of Bible quotes without catching a breath, suggested Carona had done nothing wrong during "The OC Show" on KUCI-FM radio.
Host Cameron Jackson seemed caught off guard when a discussion about campaign finance abuses and public corruption turned to Carona and Moorlach, a former county treasurer/tax collector and two-term supervisor from Costa Mesa, asked a stunning question.
Asked Moorlach, "What did he do wrong?"
The supervisor didn't then laugh or say he was kidding.
Well, okay, John. There was a two-month federal trial a half-a-block from your office that established Carona's myriad of emotional insecurities, ethical lapses and crimes. But you obviously need a reminder.
The sheriff claimed to be a hardcore Christian who devoted his daily life to God and promised to uphold the laws of the state of California but secretly accepted gifts from dubious businessmen--Rolex watches, custom-made suits, private jet rides, hotel rooms, thousands of dollars in Las Vegas casino gambling chips, a boat as well as stacks of $100 bills.
It wasn't rare when he spent his days not catching criminals but rather prowling for loose women, free lunches or potent cocktails. He set up a disgusting scheme to personally benefit financially by skimming death proceeds from the wives of fallen deputies. He made a $100 bet with a South County businessman that the guy couldn't sell real Orange County Sheriff's Department badges for $5,000 each in campaign contributions (and lost). He asked the wife of an incarcerated inmate in his jail for a romantic weekend trip in San Francisco. He appointed as his number two in the $800-million-a-year agency a future federal inmate. He had sex out of town in a taxpayer-paid vehicle with a county secretary while his wife and young son sat nearby in another vehicle. He put his official OCSD uniform on a nearly nude prostitute in his hotel room in Moscow and, incredibly, thought nothing of allowing a photograph. He promoted unethical deputies and ignored blatant department corruption. He shamelessly tried to capitalize personally on the kidnapping, rape and murder of a little girl. He repeatedly sent the wife of an underlying disgusting birthday cards that named his penis, and I quote, "The Little Sheriff." He allowed a now-convicted con man from the Middle East to film the county's top secret Homeland Security emergency training exercises. He let favored inmates leave jail for weekend trips without requesting permission from judges. He wasted hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on law firms hired to intimidate women he'd slept with from coming forward. He wrote a letter to help a convicted murderer receive a state monopoly on a proposed law enforcement device. He partied in a Newport Beach bar with organized crime associates from Las Vegas. He covered up his abuses by destroying or falsifying documents. He ordered a plane to fly low, loud circles over the residence of a political opponent. He gave a used car salesman without an iota of police training a real badge, full police powers and a cop car. Oh, and John, that man, Don Haidl, likely made Carona sheriff in 1998 by funneling to him more than $120,000 in illegal contributions in that narrow contest.
R. Scott Moxley’s award-winning investigative journalism has touched nerves for two decades. An angry congressman threatened to break Moxley’s knee caps. A dirty sheriff promised his critical reporting was irrelevant and then landed in prison. Corporate crooks won’t take his calls. Murderous gangsters mad-dogged him in court. The U.S. House of Representatives debated his work. Pusillanimous cops have left hostile messages using fake names. Federal prosecutors credited his stories for the arrest of a doctor who sold fake medicine to dying patients. And a frantic state legislator literally caught sleeping with lobbyists sprinted down state capital hallways to evade his questions in Sacramento.