Righeimer attorney warns of legal action

City Council candidate claims police union official and a local blogger may publish falsehoods about his past.

September 30, 2010|By Joseph Serna,

COSTA MESA — City Council candidate Jim Righeimer's personal attorney has sent letters to the Costa Mesa Police Assn. and a local blogger, warning that he will seek legal "remedies" against them if they print falsehoods about his client's past.

Righeimer, who chairs the city Planning Commission, is at odds with the police union regarding his position that public safety pension contributions should be reduced to help improve city finances. He recently got into a debate with officers about the wisdom of staging a DUI checkpoint during weekday rush-hour traffic on Harbor Boulevard.

It is widely expected that the police union is going to campaign against him before the Nov. 2 election, sources have said.


The five-paragraph letter from attorney Mark Bucher, Righeimer's brother-in-law, outlines three falsehoods and distortions that arose when Righeimer last ran for office. The accusations involve Righeimer's personal finances, dealings in real estate and a minor brush with the law.

The Daily Pilot has elected not to repeat the allegations verbatim, as they are known to be inaccurate or exaggerated.

"We all know what this campaign is about: I want to ask tough questions about budgets and the high cost of public employees pensions," said Righeimer. "The unions want to smear me and my family instead of answering the questions. I will defend my family vigorously while continuing to ask the public employee unions the tough questions. The voters will not be fooled by their smears, dishonesty and under-handed tactics."

Allen Rieckhof of the police association said some of Righeimer's past is just a matter of semantics.

"We think he's trying to get ahead of his history," Rieckhof said. "It's a desperate attempt to stifle the police union from exposing Righeimer's checkered past … we'll let the voters of Costa Mesa make up their minds after they review all the information they have versus a one-sided statement."

Though the letter is concerned with inaccuracies, Righeimer, a former Pilot columnist, did have some business and personal problems in the late 1980s and early- to mid-1990s.

Records show that he had several tax liens against him and was sued in civil and small claims court. It took him nine years and selling his house, but Righeimer said he has paid back everything he owed.

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