Embattled Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca stepped down from the department he's led for 15 years on Thursday. Three of Sheriff Baca's four civilian "field deputies" are retiring with him. You may not know their names, but you have been paying their salaries: a combined half-million dollars in taxpayer money last year alone.
If you have seen Leroy "no" Baca in the news before, it was probably for his Congressional testimony saying that the Muslim Brotherhood does not exist and if they do they're harmless and it's racist to investigate them. Baca has also promoted Scientology. Finding that he is corruptable is not a surprise, it merely makes this a situation relevant to US national security.
Baca's civilian deputies who make more money than any actual cop are:
- Michael Yamaki (see earlier link), whose police job is to run the Riviera Country Club where membership costs $250,000. He drives there and back in his county-issued car and earns $171,000 a year for this service which he has performed since 2005. Oh, another part of his job is to raise money for the Sheriff's Youth Foundation. "When Eyewitness News filed a Public Records Act request asking for Yamaki's work calendars and a description of his job, we were told that neither of those things exist." Yamaki had been the "appointment secretary" to Governor Gray Davis. The Riviera was described by Newsweek as "A Japanese laundry worth $1 billion?".
- Bishop Edward Turner, who makes $105,000 a year for work he has performed since 2000. When ABC called with a question about his charity, "Turner told us that's a question for his accountant. We called, but his accountant hung up on us -- twice." Paul Tanaka, while running against Baca, claimed that when cops in the sheriff's department intercepted $84,020 in drug money sent to Turner's church, Sheriff Baca ordered them to drop the case.
- Tevan Aroustamian, an Armenian community leader involved in a curious incident involving the expulsion of critic Ara K. Manoogian from a meeting of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund. Manoogian claims to be a 'human rights activist" investigating corruption in the fund. I don't know enough about Manoogian to judge his character, but I've seen enough fake "human rights activists" to be suspicious whenever I see these words. Manoogian has claimed that 2,000 Armenian women are held as sex slaves in the Middle East.
- Scott Svonkin, Jewish community leader, member of the California Credit Union board of directors, Los Angeles Community College Board member, banned an allegedly "popular" college course on firearms safety on the grounds that schools should instead teach students to vote for laws to outlaw firearms, caricatured as a bully by LA Weekly's Mars Melnicoff.
Interestingly, these stories are being reported only by the ABC News team of Lisa Bartley and Marc Brown, and by nobody else.
And in New York...
Who was Teddy Leb? Teddy Leb was one of the first witnesses in PBS's "The Man Who Knew", promoting the memory of FBI agent John O'Neill. He was a car dealer with such very close relations to the police and FBI that he thought he was an FBI officer.
Leb was briefly arrested for mail fraud involving a $600,000 loan from Chrysler before the charges were dropped by federal authorities. The charges were brought by Reggie Ward of the competing New York Law Enforcement Foundation, who apparently lost $200,000 investing in Leb's business. Leonard Levitt has interesting things to say about Ward, who would later be appointed commissioner of Mount Vernon police.
Leb was a leader of the Finest Foundation, which once hosted a dinner attended by Police Commissioner Howard Safir and "a large group" held at La Ristorante Taormina, "favored by John Gotti when he was running the Gambino crime family" and "declared by the Police Department to be off limits to some officers". Safir responded to the news by suing the reporters. The city pays for twelve men to "protect" Safir after his retirement. Safir has a very interesting background.
Leb left the Finest Foundation at one point and became part of an organization called NY Cops, or the New York Cops Foundation. Others involved with NY Cops include Jim Kallstrom, a target of TWA 800 conspiracy theorists. The Finest Foundation has "awarded" Bernie Kerik, Joe Dunne, Charlie Campisi, Barry Mawn, and Mary Jo White.
More recently, Leb's company Global Consulting LLC received a no-bid contract from the Business Integrity Commission. Leb's company Global Background Screening has received letters of support from Dow Jones security director Peter Brennan, Pentium Fund manager Vincente-Andres Zaragoza, Forbes security director Ron D'Alessandro, Tourneau luxury watch company vice president Michael J. Chapman, and Audi dealer franchising manager Greg Champion.
New York accuses Leb's business partner Howard Weinberg of failing to pay $930,000 in sales taxes. That document gives us the name of a related company, Auto World Leasing, Inc. Nassau County's tax rate is 8.625%, so with Global Consulting's share of that amount being $574,000 in 2013, we can estimate the company's sales at around $6.6 million.
Somebody named Teddy Leb had been director of a Florida company named Auto Europa in 1991. I have no idea if this is the same person or not.
A similar charity, The Police Foundation, is run by Pam Delaney and Valerie Salembier and pays for things from "30 busts of former Commissioner Bernard Kerik" to "the half-dozen detectives stationed around the world in [Ray] Kelly's overseas spy service... [who] were among the first on the scene of the train bombing in Madrid."
The overall story seems to be that rich people can pay the police chiefs to fund special projects that the chiefs want but cannot get the money for from the city, and the rich people can expect to get special favours from the police in return. It would not surprise me if some of these favours included the police looking the other way from certain business transactions.
Off the topic of bribery but still on the subject of police corruption, Adrian Schoolcraft should be a name known in every household.