The controversial Upland law firm known for its aggressive legal representation of accused dirty cops, police labor unions seeking additional government pay and perks, and tied to a bizarre incident involving Costa Mesa Republican Mayor Jim Righeimer is dissolving, according to Southern California news organizations.
Citing the Daily Journal, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday that Police Officers Research Association (PORAC), a Sacramnto-based police union lobbying outfit, earlier this month removed Lackie, Dammeier, McGill N Ethir from recommended firms because of allegations of fraudulent billing practices.
A PORAC letter obtained by reporters claims police legal defense accounts were over-billed or hit with imaginary bills.
Local residents most likely have heard of at least one prior member of the firm: the feisty Michael D. Schwartz. He represented an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent who was convicted earlier this year in a bribery scheme to undermine an Orange County District Attorney's office assault case at John Wayne Airport. He also represents Jay Cicinelli, the ex-Fullerton Police Department cop facing criminal trial for his role in the beating death of Kelly Thomas.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas targeted the Lackie firm for investigation after it was tied to a plot involving an erroneous accusation that Righeimer had driven home intoxicated from a Costa Mesa restaurant, Skosh Monahan's pub.
Righeimer, a longtime opponent of California's public employee unions, believes he was targeted for retaliation because of his refusals to make additional taxpayer concessions to cop unions.
The mayor and Councilman Steve Mensinger are suing the Costa Mesa police union for alleged intimidation tactics, a move cops called laughable and ill-advised.