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Righeimer blasts police association's former firm

Council members from around O.C. say Lackie, Dammeier & McGill and its clients have harassed city officials leading up to elections and contract negotiations.

August 28, 2012|By Joseph Serna
  • Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer talks with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, right, and Jim Dow, the mayor of Buena Park, after a press conference at Costa Mesa City Hall on Tuesday.
Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer talks with Congressman… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer took to the steps of City Hall on Tuesday to criticize a law firm that until recently represented the city's police association.

Righeimer said Lackie, Dammeier & McGill's negotiating tactics are having a "chilling effect" on elected officials throughout Southern California who want to reform pay and pension packages for public safety personnel.

"They're forcing you to vote against the best interests of your community," he said.

During the press conference, Righeimer and city council members from Buena Park, Fullerton and Irvine claimed that the Upland-based firm and its clients have harassed city officials leading up to elections and contract negotiations.

"What we have here is people supposed to serve public interests … subject to intimidation," said U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), who attended the press conference.

Rohrabacher called for the U.S. departments of Labor and Justice to investigate.

A private investigator associated with Lackie, Dammeier & McGill followed Righeimer home from a bar Wednesday and called 911 to report that he was driving drunk. An officer arrived at Righeimer's house, conducted a quick field sobriety test, and found the councilman — who later produced a receipt for two Diet Cokes — to be sober.

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Lackie, Dammeier & McGill has denied any involvement in the incident. The P.I. who made the call, Chris Lanzillo, said he was not retained by the firm to follow Righeimer.

Lanzillo, a 42-year-old former Riverside police detective who has his own investigation agency in Riverside County, said he was on another assignment when he called 911. He has also strongly denied assertions that organized labor or anyone else set up Righeimer.

In a statement to the Daily Pilot, Lackie, Dammeier & McGill defended its negotiation tactics and the way it represents associations.

"When our clients are treated unfairly or unlawfully, yes, we are aggressive, within the limits of the law, to vindicate our client's position," wrote Dieter Dammeier, the firm's managing partner. "We will not apologize for 'aggressively' protecting those that put their lives on the line every day protecting all of us … "

The firm also said that it enjoys strong working relationships with several cities.

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