The department's morale sunk to new lows during the controversy. City
officials and business leaders seemed torn over their longtime support
for the chief. Long-standing officers aired their deep-seeded grievances
and ultimately the rank-and-file officers put the icing on the cake by
issuing a 90% vote of no confidence for Campbell.
Murphy wound up firing Campbell and Villa, then -- faced with a long,
grueling civil lawsuit -- later did an about-face and made a deal with
both officers and their attorneys to rehire them back and retire them
with their pensions and benefits intact.
As for the women, the total who joined the suit swelled to 10 and a
city investigation dug up even more who said they suffered from Campbell
and Villa's alleged antics. And while they all wound up with cash
settlements from the city, many saw their careers in law enforcement
Today, the remnants of the ugliness that besieged the department are
long gone, and Chief Bob McDonell, hired by Murphy to restore the
department's morale, prefers to keep that old news where it belongs. In
history's scrap heap.
5. ORANGE COUNTY BANKRUPTCY. On Dec. 6, 1994, Orange County's perfect
little world came crashing down.
The county, known for its wealthy, successful residents who live in
million-dollar coastal homes, filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy
in U.S. history. The filing came five days after rising interest rates
caused its risky, high-yield investment fund to crash, losing $1.5
billion in money from 180 public agencies.
Among those agencies were the cities of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa,
as well as the Newport-Mesa Unified School District. The district had $82
million invested -- $47 million of which it borrowed specifically to put
in the pool. Costa Mesa had about $3 million tied up and Newport Beach
had $16 million. In the five years since, they have recovered most of it,
but officials acknowledge they will never get all of it back.
If only they had listened to John Moorlach, the Costa Mesa certified