Wu: Why did caller tell 911 he was meeting a friend?

September 01, 2012|By Jack Wu

In celebration of Labor Day, I wanted to take a look at Costa Mess' (Mesa's) favorite union operative Chris Lanzillo and the Costa Mesa Police Assn.'s (CMPA) timing in the Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer/DUI debacle.

Let's go through the timeline.

On Aug. 22, Righeimer is given a sobriety test in front of his house and young children and found to be ... stone-cold sober.

Over the next couple of days, press conferences are held, and the Daily Pilot gets a copy of the 911 tape, which identifies Lanzillo — a former Riverside police officer, private investigator and a consultant for CMPA's legal muscle, Lackie, Dammeier & McGill — as the caller.


According to the 911 transcript published in the Orange County Register, Lanzillo said, "I was meeting a friend over at some location. I can't remember the name of it now, and I saw him, like, stumbling out of this location. I don't know, maybe he's disabled."

Then, in Lanzillo's statement to the Pilot, he said that he was on another assignment when he spotted Righeimer getting into his SUV outside of Skosh Monahan's on Newport Boulevard.

Which was it? Was he meeting a friend over at some location (as he told the 911 operator) he couldn't remember the name of? Or was he on another assignment at a location he knew when he spotted Righeimer? (As he told the Pilot.)

And if he were on assignment, which means he was getting paid to watch someone else, why would he just leave that job to watch a supposedly stumbling Righeimer (which the Skosh Monahan's video indicates he wasn't), follow him home (when the 911 operators told him not to), and probably waste 30 to 60 minutes?

If I had hired Lanzillo to surveil someone, I'd be pretty pissed off and would ask for my money back because, dollars to doughnuts, his supposed "target" probably could have left Monahan's and been lost for the night right after my P.I. performed his public service.

Lanzillo surely covets public safety more than his business, right?

Then Lanzillo has the guts to question the integrity of the Costa Mesa police officer's actions, calling it "suspicious" because Righeimer wasn't given a Breathalyzer, and then later complained that he was harassed by the department, which questioned him after he made the call and opened an investigation.

That's perfect: Insult the integrity of the police officers who are investigating you.

Now onto the CMPA and its wonderful timing when firing the firm for which Lanzillo worked.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles