By NICK GERDA, Voice of OC
Orange County district attorney investigators obtained a search warrant late last week seeking records at the offices of an aggressive law firm accused of bullying city leaders across Southern California on behalf of police unions.
The warrant, which was sealed, also targeted a Rancho Cucamonga home owned by the family of law firm partner Dieter Dammeier.
Investigators then raided the office in the morning Oct. 10, carting off “scores of boxes full of documents and other materials,” according to the San Bernardino County Sentinel.
District attorney spokeswoman Susan Kang Schroeder did not return a message seeking comment.
The investigation comes amid accusations that the firm was attempting to blackmail Costa Mesa City Council members in order to get better deals for police officers.
The firm had even posted a playbook on its website that openly called for intimidating city leaders.
“The association should be like a quiet giant in the position of, ‘do as I ask and don’t piss me off,’ ” the playbook advised. “Focus on a city manager, councilperson, mayor or police chief and keep the pressure up until that person assures you his loyalty and then move on to the next victim.”
The law firm drew sharp criticism last year when Costa Mesa Councilman Jim Righeimer, who is now mayor, accused the firm of orchestrating a botched attempt to have him arrested for drunk driving.
Chris Lanzillo, a private investigator who has worked for the law firm, followed Righeimer home from a bar last August and called 911 to report that he was driving drunk.
An officer then came to Righeimer’s house, but determined that the mayor was not drunk after asking him to follow a pen with his eyes.
Righeimer also produced a receipt showing that all he bought that night was two Diet Cokes.
The district attorney’s office has been investigating the Costa Mesa incident, serving a search warrant on the private investigator’s house last year and interviewing members of the city’s police union, according to the Daily Pilot.
Righeimer and fellow Councilman Steve Mensinger filed a lawsuit recently against the Costa Mesa police officers’ union, Lanzillo and the law firm, alleging they were trying to coerce and intimidate council members into changing their votes.
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