Hats off to the Times' Christine Hanley for scooping the world on the latest controversy involving (pick one):a) Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona giving deputy badges to someone with no police experience who goes on to make an ass of himself;
b) Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona and a campaign donor who goes on to make an ass of himself;
c) Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona . . . ass.
The quick rundown on the latest dart, which comes courtesy of the Times' inside Sheriff's sources who requested anonymity lest they be fired by their increasingly Nixonian (and a touch Kennedyesque, thanks to the mob ties–here and here, too) boss:
In September, Stephen Mensinger, the president and chief operations officer for billionaire developer/GOP Sugar Daddy/ex-Ambassador to Spain George Argyros' Arnel Management Co. apartment slumlord division, walked into an Alaska Airlines office next to John Wayne Airport's baggage carousel to find out what happened to his bags containing guns and game meat he'd just brought back from a hunting trip. The attendant Mensinger approached was in the middle of helping another customer, so she suggested he double check the carousel and fill out a claim form. The Arnel executive apparently exploded, calling the attendant a “dumb blonde.” When the attendant made a disparaging remark about hunters into her phone — a shocked supervisor on the other end of line wondered who the asshole was — Mensinger then yelled, “I'm a sheriff!” He snapped pictures of the woman with his cell phone and said he could get her fired. The attendant was so frightened she wanted to call in security, but the same department Mensinger (pick one) …
… claimed to be employed by–the Orange County Sheriff's Department–patrols the airport.
Well, wouldn't you know it, after Mensinger made his scene and left, the airlines called the sheriff's office and discovered the slumlord was not a “sherff,” hell, he wasn't even a deputy or a reserve. He's an “honorary reserve,” which means he has no police powers because he has no police training. What he has — thanks to the thousands of dollars he, his boss Argyros and Arnel have showered on Carona, Carona's buddies and GOP candidates nationwide, is an honorary badge, department identification, a permit to carry a concealed weapon and a nifty decoder ring.
Sidebar to all you fucking gun nuts: I'm supposed to feel safe because Mr. Exploding Tomato Soup Can packs heat?
It's just another in the long list of crimes, misdemeanors and indiscretions associated with the county's top cop. But one thing Hanley's story left out–we assume the Times ran out of room–is another I'm-a-Sheriff incident that landed even closer to Argyros. Check out this blast from the Weekly's past, our Oct. 31, 2002, OC's Scariest People issue that was themed “Son of Scary”:
24. GEORGE ARGYROS JR.
Son of billionaire developer/Spanish ambassador George Argyros. Junior is best known for impersonating a police officer in Idaho after confronting a motorist he thought was driving too slow, flashing an Orange County Sheriff's Advisory Council medallion and threatening to arrest the man. That stunt got him two and half days in jail, plus a $300 fine.
The rotten apples obviously don't fall too far from the Argyros tree.
POSTSCRIPT: Moxley's got more Mike Carona skullduggery in tomorrow's Weekly.