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October 26, 2018

Rackauckas Shamed into Returning Contributions from Indicted Businessman but Hangs on to Convicted Felon Money

 

O.C. Watchdog Shirley Grindle, Ret. Attorney General Office’s Assistant Chief Jerry Hunter and Todd Spitzer Demand Rackauckas Return Donations From Convicted Felons

 

ORANGE COUNTY – October 26 – At a press conference yesterday, the Todd Spitzer for District Attorney campaign stood by O.C. watchdog Shirley Grindle and Jerry Hunter, retired assistant Chief with the California Attorney General's Office assigned to the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, who demanded Rackauckas return all campaign contributions he has taken from convicted criminals. Tony Rackauckas took thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from convicted and indicted felons and let one, who was apparently under investigation for hundreds of millions of dollars in worker’s compensation fraud, host a fundraiser for his re-elect campaign.

 

Rackauckas accepted $1,700 from Farzaneh Akhavi, who was convicted for money laundering, identity theft and wire fraud last year, $1,500 from Todd Stuart Kaplan, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion and $1,000 from disgraced Rackauckas Deputy District Attorney Bryan Kazarian who was convicted in 1999, for leaking information from inside the OCDA’s office about the investigation of an alleged drug ring. Kazarian was not only a convicted felon but disbarred for felony conduct while inside the District Attorney’s Office. MRI Operator Sam Solakyan indicted by the federal government in a $248M workers’ comp fraud scheme gave $3,900 in contributions and hosted a Rackauckas fundraiser in October 2017.

 

In an admission of guilt Rackauckas returned the contributions from indicted businessman Solakyan (reflected in the attached form 460s) but has chosen to keep the other money from convicted felons: Akhavi, Kaplan and Kazarian.

 

O.C. watchdog Shirley Grindle stated, "Returning these contributions would remove suspicion that Tony Rackauckas condones the criminal background of these donors. Not returning these contributions reflects badly not only on Tony Rackauckas himself, but raises public suspicion as to the lack of integrity in our criminal justice system. In the interests of all concerned, I would urge Mr. Rackauckas to do the honorable thing and refund these tainted contributions immediately."

 

Also demanding the donations be returned is Pat Dixon, retired Los Angeles County Assistant District Attorney who said, “As a four decade long prosecutor, I know that the District Attorney's Office and the District Attorney needs to be above reproach. Certainly when the District Attorney accepts contributions from convicted felons or an indicted businessman it calls into question the District Attorney's judgement and respect for the office. Rackauckas is allowing the donations to reflect on the honest men and women of his office. I am demanding he return these donations immediately.”

 

The Todd Spitzer campaign concluded, “It is despicable that the top prosecutor in the County would stoop as low as taking money from felons. If this is who the public relies on to enforce the law, the County is doomed. Orange County deserves better. Rackauckas knows it’s wrong and unethical otherwise he wouldn’t have returned Solakyan’s donation. So why has he not done the same with the donors who have been convicted of crimes?"

 

Click here to view the press conference video.

 

 

 


(Sam Solakyan Donation RETURNED) Extract from Tony Rackauckas for District Attorney 2018 Form 460, statement covering period from 09/23/2018 through 10/20/2018:

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