Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu Resigns Amid Federal Investigation Related To The Sale Of Angel Stadium

Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu has resigned amid an FBI’s corruption probe related to the sale of Angel Stadium.

His resignation takes effect at midnight Tuesday.

The resignation comes as it was revealed last week that the mayor was the subject of a probe by the FBI, which alleged in a search warrant affidavit that he had fed insider information to Angels executives in the stadium deal and arranged to have a helicopter bought registered in Arizona so he could save money on taxes.

The FBI alleges that Sidhu was hoping to get a $1 million-dollar campaign donation from the team. That never happened and the FBI says the Angels were unaware of the scheme, but this has been building for a while now.

“A fair and thorough investigation will prove that Mayor Harry Sidhu did not leak secret information in the hopes of a later political campaign contribution,” Sidhu’s Attorney Paul S. Meyer said in a statement. “His unwavering goal form the start has been to keep the Angels in Anaheim, so that this vibrant social and economic relationship would continue…

“Mayor Harry Sidhu has has always, as his foremost priority, acted in the best interests of the City of Anaheim, and he does so today. In order to continue to act in the best interests of Anaheim and allow this great City to move forward without distraction, Harry Sidhu has resigned from his post as Mayor effective May 24, 2022.”

This comes as last week, three Anaheim City Council members called on Mayor Sidhu to resign amid the FBI corruption probe into his involvement in the proposed sale of Angel Stadium to team owner Arte Moreno.

Source: ABC7

Escape From A House Of Horror — Jennifer And Jordan Turpin Speak About Escape From Horrific Imprisonment And Abuse They Suffered For Years At The Hands Of Their Parents

On the night of Jan. 14, 2018, 17-year-old Jordan Turpin made a daring escape from her home and called 911 in order to save herself and her siblings from their abusive parents.

Once law enforcement arrived, Jordan Turpin showed them pictures of her siblings in chains on a phone she had kept secretly from her parents. Officers perform a welfare check at the Turpin house.

Jennifer Turpin, the eldest child of David and Louise Turpin, recalls her parent’s violent outbursts, especially her mother’s volatile mood swings, extreme punishments and abandonment in a trailer.

David and Louise Turpin occasionally took their children out to take posed photographs to portray a happy family. In reality, the 13 children were starved, tortured and filthy.

After Jordan Turpin was outed secretly watching a Justin Bieber music video, her mother violently choked her. After that, she decided to begin planning an escape.

Santa Ana Police Officers Blast Disney Tunes At Scene To Avoid YouTube Video Recording

video posted on YouTube shows Santa Ana police officers waking up a neighborhood during an investigation Monday night as they blasted Disney music from one of their patrol vehicles to stop a YouTuber from recording on scene.

In the video, an officer said they were at a scene near West Civic Center Drive and North Western Avenue for a vehicle theft investigation.

The first song heard playing in the video is “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from the Disney/Pixar film “Toy Story.”

It was almost 11 p.m. when “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” “Un Poco Loco,” and other Disney hits filled the air. At one point, the YouTuber is heard telling officers to “have respect for the neighbors.”

The music drags on, waking up people in their homes, including children and Councilmember Johnathan Hernandez.

“It was eerie, and it was discomforting because you don’t hear Disney music being played that loud near 11 o’clock at night,” Hernandez told Eyewitness News during a Zoom interview Wednesday.

Hernandez is seen in the video speaking with one of the officers.

“Why are you doing this?” Hernandez asked.

“Because they get copyright infringement,” the officer replied.

The YouTuber is heard in the recording saying it’s because “he knows I have a YouTube channel.” That channel is called Santa Ana Audits.

On Wednesday, it had more than 3,500 subscribers and appeared to focus on recording SAPD officers on scene, a right protected by the First Amendment as long as there is no interference with police work.

Eyewitness News reached out to professor of music and copyright at Berklee Online Dr. E. Michael Harrington, who said the incident got into copyright law.

“I’ve been reading about it and seeing it on YouTube,” Harrington said. He was talking about officers playing music without purchasing the rights to it, a tactic to discourage recording.

“I think it’s clearly illegal because it is a public performance,” Harrington said of the officers playing the music loud enough for the public to hear.

In addition, when the videos are shared, the person posting it risks fines or even getting banned from the streaming or social media platform.

“YouTube has bots that go around and they match the song they’re hearing, and then if that’s on YouTube and it wasn’t cleared, then the music, the song recording and the copyright, they get taken down, and then the person [who] posted it, who is trying to be a good citizen to say, ‘Watch what this cop did or cops, they should be prosecuted,’ that person now gets a copyright strike for doing an act that’s far more important than what the cops are doing,” Harrington said.

An SAPD spokesperson told ABC7 Wednesday the incident is under investigation.

Chief of Police David Valentin issued a statement confirming the incident involved one of their officers. The statement from Valentin read, “My expectation is that all police department employees perform their duties with dignity and respect in the community we are hired to serve.”

In the YouTube video, Hernandez tells the officer, “I’m embarrassed that this is how you’re treating my neighbors. There’s children here. Have some respect for my community.”

The officer is heard replying, “I realize I made a mistake sir. I apologize.”

The two shake hands in the video.

“You know what? People make mistakes all the time, but unfortunately, we can’t afford to make these mistakes when we’re public servants,” Hernandez told Eyewitness News.

ABC7 reached out to others who witnessed the incident, but they didn’t feel comfortable going on the record, saying they feared retaliation. People in the neighborhood said this wasn’t the first time they’ve seen this happen.

Harrington said copyright fines can run anywhere from $750 to $150,000.

That’s times two because both the writer and the owner of the recording can take legal action.

Source: ABC7

CalOptima Abruptly Fires Entire Legal Team As Concerns Mount Over Agency’s Direction — Orange County’s Health Care Plan For Poor And Disabled Residents Is Drawing Scrutiny, With High Turnover Among Agency Leaders

The board for CalOptima, which provides publicly funded health coverage for nearly 900,000 needy Orange County residents, abruptly fired its entire in-house legal team of attorneys and support staff late last week. Some had been with the agency for more than 20 years, according to records.

The agency instead will rely on a contract with Sacramento firm Kennaday Leavitt for legal services.

The board approved a $1 million contract with that firm in November, for two outside attorneys to support CalOptima’s nine-member legal team, whose salaries totaled roughly $1.5 million. The agency said at the time that additional help was needed as demands for legal services increased. CalOptima now says the decision during a closed session meeting Thursday night to fire the in-house team was about “improved efficiency.”

The move comes amid increasing concerns about how the agency is operating under the direction of its board chair, Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do, with substantial turnover in key positions over the past two years while salary levels for newly created or replacement positions have jumped significantly.

The agency’s chief medical officer, executive director of quality initiatives, communications director and other key staff members all have left in recent months. The last chief executive officer stayed only a year, with an interim CEO in his place. And the salary for that job jumped in September from a minimum of $400,000 to at least $560,000.

Do could not be reached for comment Monday.

A CalOptima spokesperson didn’t respond to a request about these concerns or additional information on the legal team’s departure. She instead emailed a statement that said: “CalOptima has taken action to utilize external legal resources to improve efficiency of the agency in support of its mission and to better serve our members.”

CalOptima is the health care insurer for poor and disabled O.C. residents, a majority who qualify for Medi-Cal coverage. The agency has an annual budget of $3.7 billion and operates under the direction of an eight-member board of directors.

The board started discussing the idea of contracting for outside legal services in late 2020. Do led an ad hoc committee that formed Dec. 3, 2020, to consider getting help to “address the substantial and increasing demand for legal services.”

During its Sept. 2 meeting, the eight-member board unanimously voted to request proposals from outside law firms to “augment, and integrate with, the legal services currently provided by the agency’s employed and contracted lawyers,” according to a board report.

Two months later, at the Nov. 4 meeting, the board approved using up to $1.05 million in reserves to contract for a year with Kennaday Leavitt, which has attorneys specializing in health care law, for general counsel to “work with internal lawyers.” The contract includes two additional one-year extension options and covers two full-time attorneys at $70,000 per month plus up to $210,000 in business expenses.

When the request for proposals went out, it included a requirement that the firm must have its main office in the Southern California area. But that requirement was dropped when the committee came back to the board with a recommendation to contract with Kennaday Leavitt, with veteran healthcare attorney James Novello in the top post.

During the Dec. 20 meeting, the board met behind closed doors to discuss Kennaday Leavitt’s job performance. Then, on Thursday, Feb. 3, the agenda listed a closed-door session to discuss “public employee discipline/dismissal/release.” Following that meeting, a clerk reported the board had “approved the closed session item.” The Register learned all seven in-house attorneys plus a supporting paralegal and office staff member were let go.

Supervisor Doug Chaffee, who said he recently moved from alternate to full board member and has only attended a couple CalOptima meetings, said the process of changing the legal staff started before his tenure. But he said the current interim CEO, Michael Hunn, reviewed the situation “and concluded that it was not very efficient,” Chaffee said, so Hunn asked the board to “make an organizational change” to exclusively use the new outside counsel.

Chaffee said the dismissed legal staff will receive severance packages per the agency’s policy, but he didn’t have details on the amount. As to using a contracted firm instead of in-house staff for legal services, he said, “I think there is a cost savings; time will tell exactly how much.”

In recent years CalOptima has weathered its share of criticism. In 2013, the county’s Grand Jury raised flags about a wave of CalOptima staff departures and issues with leadership.

The agency seemed to have course-corrected, with little controversy for several years. But since Do took the helm of the agency, some local healthcare officials have started to criticize recent changes.

In December, a past chairman of CalOptima’s board raised concerns with the recent appointment of Do’s deputy chief of staff to a newly created position at the agency, pointing to the staffer’s lack of experience in the healthcare industry and starting salary of $282,000, the Voice of OC reported.

The month before that, the Hospital Association of Southern California expressed dismay that a majority of the OC Board of Supervisors ignored its recommendation on whom to appoint to a vacant CalOptima board seat, picking someone from Los Angeles County instead of someone with local experience, according to another Voice of OC story.

Source: OC Register

Human Remains Found In Lake Elsinore Identified As Tustin Woman Missing Since 1977

Investigators believe they have positively identified the human remains found down an embankment in Lake Elsinore in 1986 as those of a woman who had been reported missing to Tustin police in 1977, Riverside County District Attorney’s office officials said.

The remains were found along Ortega Highway by a Caltrans crew doing survey work, and were reported to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. At the time, sheriff’s investigators determined the person had been shot in the head, but could not identify the person or any suspects at the time, a news release said.

In August 2021, the Cold Case Homicide Team exhumed several remains in cold case homicides and the remains found in 1986 were among those sent to a Department of Justice lab for possible DNA comparison.

Linda LeBeau, who was also known as Linda Louise Durnall, was divorced and reported missing to the Tustin Police Department by her boyfriend in 1977. At the time of her disappearance, she was 27 years old and police investigators were not able to resolve the case, a news release said.

The remains were positively matched to LeBeau through a familial DNA match in the Department of Justice’s Missing Unidentified Persons database.

Tustin police have followed multiple leads in the case, which has remained an open investigation.

The Regional Cold Case Homicide Team is comprised of members of the DA’s Office Bureau of Investigation, the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner Department, the FBI and the Riverside Police Department.

Source: OC Register

Memorial Hospital Of Gardena Accused Of Stacking Deceased Patients Outside In The Rain

California hospital is being criticized for leaving the bodies of nearly 20 COVID-19 patients lying outside in the rain before security guards could eventually move them to a refrigerated morgue.

Soaking wet body bags are seen piled up outside the Los Angeles-based Memorial Hospital of Gardena, owned by Pipeline Health System, in footage captured by CBSLA. Employees are also seen in the footage rearranging the body bags of 19 deceased COVID-19 patients and carrying them into a mobile freezer in the hospital’s parking lot. 

A morgue inside the hospital could only hold six bodies, which has posed difficulties throughout the pandemic, a hospital spokesperson told CBSLA.   

The spokesperson added that the mobile freezer outside the hospital is kept at 34 degrees Fahrenheit, the necessary temperature to store the bodies, and denied that the bodies were left out in the rain.

‘Because of the overcrowding situation, hospital administrators took action yesterday to organize the outdoor cooling unit in a more orderly fashion,’ Memorial Hospital of Gardena wrote in a statement to CBSLA.

‘Hospital protocol calls upon security guards to assist in the process when mortuaries come to pick up bodies, primarily helping to lift and move the bodies,’ the statement continued.  

However, a witness recalled watching teary-eyed employees carrying the bodies into the freezer in a recent downpour.

‘Security had tears in their eyes. They’re crying. Some of the security had to leave because they got fluid on their clothes when they did move the bodies,’ the anonymous witness told the news outlet.

The witness referred to what appeared to be body fluids on the bags and said there was no way the bodies were being stored at an adequate temperature. ‘Impossible. Those bodies were defrosted. They were decomposing,’ she said.

It is not clear how long the bodies were left outside before the were transferred, but the hospital confirmed that it has kept bodies in its mobile freezer for months at a time. 

The hospital also claimed that 11 of the 19 people whose bodies were seen being transferred were not claimed by family members and Los Angeles County has yet to pick them up. 

Source: Daily Mail

COVID-19 Cases In South Dakota Increase 456% Since Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

South Dakota has seen a sharp increase in daily COVID-19 cases following the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Meade County this month. Hundreds of thousands of bikers descended upon the area August 6-15, despite the Delta variant wreaking havoc on the U.S. 

On August 4, the date closest to the start of the rally for which data was available, the state reported 657 active cases. On August 25, the state reported 3,655 active cases. That’s a 456% increase of active cases from before the start of the rally to two weeks after, according to the state’s department of health.

As of August 24, about two weeks from the start of the event, South Dakota saw a weekly positivity rate of 38.8%. The week leading up to the rally — July 30 to August 6 — the state’s weekly positivity rate was much lower, at 10.38%, the department of health data shows. The week before that, July 23-30, the positivity rate was just 6.10%.

The rate of daily cases increased 486% from August 6, when 80 new cases were reported, to August 23, when 469 cases were reported. 

Meade County, where Sturgis is located, saw a 34.2% weekly positivity rate last week, according to the state department of health. 

About 61% of the state’s population over age 12 have been administered at least one dose of vaccine, and 55% are fully vaccinated, the department’s data shows. In Meade County, 7,984 people have been vaccinated. With a population of 28,332, that’s about 28% of the county vaccinated.

Vaccines are proven safe and effective. Despite this, the Delta variant is still rapidly spreading, and hospitals report the majority of their COVID-19 cases are in unvaccinated patients. 

Still, the national vaccination effort is once again showing signs of slowing. Just over half of the American population is fully vaccinated, far short of the elusive “herd immunity” some hoped the country would reach by the end of the summer.

At the Sturgis rally, vaccines were not required, Mola Lenghi reported for “CBS This Morning: Saturday.” “We’re not going to start checking papers. I mean, that’s not really an American way,” said Daniel Ainslie, city manager of Sturgis, which has a population of 7,000.

Last year, the motorcycle rally received scrutiny for welcoming half a million bikers from across the country to what was considered a “superspreader” event. About three weeks after the 2020 rally kicked off, more than 100 cases of COVID-19 connected to the rally were reported in at least eight states, The Associated Press reported, and the number of related cases kept growing in the weeks that followed.

At the time, COVID-19 vaccines were not yet available. Some safety measures, like sanitizing sidewalks, were put in place, but masks were not required, City of Sturgis Public Information Officer Christina Steele told CBS News via email ahead of the event. 

In an email to CBS News, Daniel Bucheli, spokesman for the South Dakota Department of Health, said, “COVID-19 case spikes are following a national trend being experienced in every state, not just South Dakota.”

“Regarding cases surrounding the Sturgis rally, our department has only been able to link 39 cases directly to this event,” Bucheli said. “It is important to mention that Meade County currently has a lower vaccination rate than other counties in the state. Fully vaccinated residents in this county is 45.1%, versus 55.94% for the state as a whole.”

CBS News has reached out to representatives of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and is awaiting response. 

Source: CBS News