A Newport Beach man’s dream of getting rich by selling law enforcement officials a high-tech devices that could end high-speed chases has pulled advisors to Orange County, Ca., Sheriff Michael Carona into a tale of cash, ambition, and alleged influence-peddling, says the Los Angeles Times. Carona may not have known of Charles Gabbard’s plan to trade shares in his company, CHG Technologies, for political contributions. The Times says the “scandal has evolved into a high-profile embarrassment for the sheriff, one of the state’s rising political stars, in part because of his image as a straight-talking cop beyond reproach.”
Carona has hoped to make a Republican run for lieutenant governor in two years. Carona named as top assistants two friends: George Jaramillo – a lawyer and former Garden Grove police lieutenant who managed Carona’s campaign – and Don Haidl, an entrepreneur who was one of Carona’s top campaign fundraisers.
Problems began with the 2002 arrest of Haidl’s son Gregory, who is accused with two other youths of rape. They allegedly videotaped themselves having sex with an unconscious girl during a party at his father’s home. As detectives were quizzing the younger Haidl, Jaramillo, who was second in command of the 4,200-member Sheriff’s Department, appeared in uniform to advise the teenager not to speak with investigators, prompting complaints from Newport Beach police.
In October 2003, sheriff’s deputies caught the younger Haidl and two friends allegedly in possession of marijuana. Jaramillo and a lieutenant agreed not to record the incident in the activity log in hopes that the news media would not learn about it.