Weekend Open Thread: Staina Rentalbutcher’s Grime Spree and a Peek at Some Cold Weather


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Two treats for you today!  For the first, you have a peak into the weather outside during a Category 1 storm (the worst level) in Antarctica.  You’ll have to go to this page (or to my Facebook feed, for now) to see it: http://www.wimp.com/antarcticaweather/.

Second — Crazy Dana Rohrabacher earns himself a new name: Staina Rentalbutcher!  The scoop goes to the Weekly’s Scott Moxley, who this time has clearly found the dirt.

Rohrabacher stain

You know, once this sort of ugly mess gets into the House, it can take DECADES to remove it!

Moxley waxes rhapsodic about the residence:

When Congressman Dana Tyrone Rohrabacher moved into a four-bedroom, four-bathroom, million-dollar Costa Mesa rental home on April Fool’s Day 2010, the immaculate, 6,300-square-foot property could have been featured in a glossy real-estate magazine. Built in 1948, the two-story, Orange Avenue home had been updated in recent years for comfort and style. The carpeting was new, appliances worked and walls were spotless. Thriving flowers, plants and grass adorned the idyllic back yard less than 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

After noting that Rohrabacher had changed the locks and not allowed the owner in for annual inspections, Mox details some of the damage — and it’s really worth reading the original story because I have to leave so much out:

Massive black stains and muck covered the carpet throughout the home. Sticky grime encased damaged, rusted appliances. Denied water, once-thriving outside plants and grass dried up and died. Blinds were cracked. Black dirt ruined the appearance of once-sparkling tile floors. Walls inexplicably contained odd holes, nail polish, wax and some smelly substance that may have been feces.

Every toilet seat in the house was broken. The ceilings showed smoke damage. Light switches had been cracked. Clumps of hair and remnants of what may have been balloons or some other rubbery material clogged sinks. Cracks scarred doors. Thick, solidified grease rendered the air-suction vent above the kitchen stove useless. Bathroom towel bars were missing, and vanities suffered water damage.

Rohrabacher’s response, once the landlord denied him his $6,700 security deposit and billed him for the damage to the $1,000,000 house?  He sued last August in Superior Court for $20,000 over the refusal to return the deposit, and his attorney has sent over 50 hostile letters to the homeowner, which is likely to substantially raise his legal fees.

Look, I’m all for renter’s rights — but they do only go so far.  And this hot mess clearly exceeds their limits.  But what would otherwise be a merely prurient story gets truly disgusting when, the rumors say, Rep. Rohrabacher may be trying to compound his grime spree by dragging the District Attorney’s clout into the much.

Behind the scenes, there has also allegedly been a not-so-subtle threat from Rohrabacher’s camp that the 13-term congressman (who first ran for office in 1988 while championing the imperative of term limits) will use his political weight and personal relationship with Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas to prompt a criminal probe as another intimidation tactic against (owner) Polyniak and (his girlfriend, who took the photo OJB’s resident artist mangled above) Whitsell.

DA Rackauckas should wipe away such rumors right now — passing along all responsibility to an impartial assistant, for one — so that there’s no need for Attorney General Kamala Harris to send someone down here to clean things up.

This is your Weekend Open Thread.  Talk about that, or anything else you’d like, within reasonable bounds of decency, decorum, and respect for the decor.  No Dearthwatch this week; closed for the holidays!


About Greg Diamond

Worker's rights attorney now moving into "good governance" litigation. North Vice Chair of Democratic Party of Orange County and occasional candidate. Proud to be prolix. Unless otherwise specifically stated, his writings never speak for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. He tries to either suppress or openly acknowledge his partisan, issue, ideological, and "good government" biases in most of his writing here. If you have a question about any particular writing, just ask him about it and (unless you are an pseudonymous troll) he will probably answer you at painful length. He lives in Brea but generally doesn't blog about it. A family member works as a campaign treasurer for Wendy Gabriella in AD-73; he doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. He does advise some campaigns informally and without compensation, although in 2014 he may receive some compensation for campaign consulting and fundraising for the campaign of Jorge Lopez for Orange County Assessor.