Costa Mesa Police Wanted Detectives to Target Councilmen, Emails Show
Police officers encouraged a law firm to monitor three Costa Mesa councilmen and suggested ways to catch the politicians in compromising positions, including tailing them to Las Vegas on a city-sponsored trip, according to emails contained in a criminal complaint.
The emails, which capture police mocking council members, were exchanged in the months leading up to the 2012 city election, when Costa Mesa’s protracted city-union battle was at a full boil.
Steve Mensinger was one of three Costa Mesa City Council members targeted in 2012 by private detectives working for the police association; in emails, police officers discussed trying to catch the three men in compromising positions. (Scott Smeltzer, Daily Pilot)
In one message, the police association’s then-treasurer, Mitch Johnson, suggested the law firm keep an eye on two of the councilmen at a trade convention in Las Vegas in hopes they’d be caught violating California’s open meeting law or behaving improperly.
“I could totally see him sniffing coke [off] a prostitute,” Johnson says of one of the targeted councilmen. “Just a thought.”