YOU could own one of criminal Harkey power-couple’s Exotic Cars!




1 vern in ferrari

“What’s it like to drive the Ferrari that once belonged to Dan & Diane Harkey?” I am frequently asked.

And then I pause for a moment because the answer is not simple.  The first and most overwhelming thing you feel racing this thing down the highway is POWER.  Power and indifference.  There is a feeling that rules are for other people and don’t apply to you.  Also, interestingly, I noticed that when I saw senior citizens on the road, indeed anyone older than me, I was overcome with a feeling of withering contempt, and wanted to hurt them.  And not just geezers driving in front of me slowing me down, but ALL old people.

Perhaps driving a Harkey car has the effect of exaggerating the worst, most anti-social parts of one’s personality, while allowing the patient and altruistic parts to wither and atrophy – a lot like having possession of Tolkien’s Ring for example, or running a blog.

Or maybe I’m just too sensitive, preternaturally attuned to the spiritual vibrations of previous owners.  Other stronger souls might be able to own and drive these cars without such ill effects.  I turn around and head back to the auction at Blair’s Towing in Lake Forest, hollering “Get off the road, you stupid old bitch!” at a sweet septuagenarian puttering along in her Hyundai.

harkey dan

What I’m trying to say is, the Orange Juice Blog took yet another field trip this past weekend, to view the beginning of the auction of four of the Harkeys’ “exotic cars,” and one fancy-ass motorcycle, which have been taken possession of by a cadre of the Harkeys’ financial victims or “creditors,” and the proceeds from which will produce, at best, a tiny percentage of the $11 million Harkey has been ordered to pay them in restitution, and has been avoiding with bankruptcy and complex shell games.

We share pictures of the Harkey Fleet here as a service to the plaintiffs; they hope to net perhaps as much as $200K, which would go to the “receiver;” then it’d probably be another decade before impoverished Harkey victims like our old friend Kurt Sipolski, crippled by polio and surviving on social security, see a penny even of this.  (Hang in there, Kurt!)  Plaintiff Jeff Gomberg points out the obvious:  “If Harkey had an ounce of humanity, he would just admit his mistakes and pay the judgment – he can easily afford it.”

On Saturday, plaintiff Lloyd Charton surveyed the small fleet, and wondered aloud how Harkey’s notoriety would impact the auction take.  “It’s a funny world we live in, Vern.  Do you think people would spend more, or less, to own a car that once belonged to Bernie Madoff?”  I had no answer.  But remember, the Harkeys in their heyday had 12 of these fancy cars, so none of them have much wear and tear.  E-mail bids can be submitted until Jan. 20 to receiver Christopher Blank, at  Let’s see what we have here:

1. 2005 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti – red

2 ferrari 1

1 vern in ferrari 2

Crown jewel of the fleet and currently the author’s favorite ride – only 18,000 miles on this beauty.  Wikipedia tells us that “The design, especially the large side scallops and the headlights, pays homage to the custom 1954 Ferrari 375 MM that director Roberto Rossellini had commissioned for his wife, Ingrid Bergman.”

From the high artists of European film to the low artists of Orange County swindle:  Local legend has it that it was in this very car that Dan and Diane made the very painful decision to divorce, so that her wages as Board of Equalization member could not be garnished for the couple’s crimes, as they had been when she was assemblywoman.  And then, it is whispered, the criminal Harkey couple had sex.  But don’t worry, the interior has been steam-cleaned more than once.

2. 2005 Porsche 911 Carrera – red

3 red porsche

This Porsche has the least miles on it – only 17,000!  Remember, this dates back to Dan and Diane’s heyday – right around when Dan paid himself $13 million out of his Ponzi-gotten gains, and had as many as a dozen cars to buzz around the Southland in, hoodwinking the elderly. weighs in:  “The 911’s classic, time-weathered shape has never looked better. The wider fenders give a beefy, more purposeful look that complements the silhouette. And the packaging benefits of the rear-engine layout are as handy as ever. For the first time, the 911 is longer than the Corvette. And the Porsche, at least, still has room for a couple of kids in the back seats.”

It is bruited about – in those Dana Point bars and bistros where things get bruited – that it was in this very vehicle that Dan convinced Diane to file suit against her Board of Equalization opponent Mark Wyland, for telling voters the truth about their financial crimes.  Ten million dollars they decided, in this very car, to demand from Senator Wyland for “severe and grievous mental and emotional suffering, fright, anguish, shock, nervousness, and anxiety” he’d caused her, and for “medical treatment” she claimed to have therefore “required on a number of occasions” which would “continue for an indeterminable length of time.”   At that point, according to local folklore, the criminal Harkey couple laughed and laughed, and then had some sex.  But the car is perfectly clean.

3. 2002 Porsche 911 Turbo.

3 dark porsche

Oh, the history with this one! – And yet, with its 24,000 miles, it’s in nearly mint condition.  This little baby saw the couple through the launch of Diane’s juggernaut of a political career, borne on the wings of hubby’s ill-gotten millions:  Dana Point City Council and Mayor, the heartbreaking loss to Tommy Harman in 2006’s bare-knuckles State Senate race, and the 2008 ascent into a six-year Assembly stint, from which Diane decried government waste while demanding a pay raise, and decried frivolous lawsuits while launching the mother of ’em all against Mark Wyland.

Don’t let the 2002 date sour you!  CarAndDriver wittily raved of this car, in their review entitled The Power and the Glory Get Even More Refined:   “The bad news about the new Porsche 911 Turbo is that its owners are probably going to get a lot of speeding tickets. The good news is that if they can afford its $110,000 price, they can probably afford the tickets.”  It is not known if the criminal couple had sex in this vehicle;  one can only conjecture, if one is so inclined.

4. 2004 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG – “Brilliant Silver!”

4 mercedes

This gorgeous monster, with 43,000 miles on it, was reportedly Dan’s favorite ride to “go make a killing” … generally at a Senior Center or Old Folks’ Home somewhere across the Southland.   A common memory among the bilked is the sight of a grinning Dan Harkey, leaning on this Mercedes while flashing his Rolex watch, as much as to say, “All this and more could be yours, if you just take my advice and put ALL your savings into Point Center Financial!”  Then, unless these elderly folks are remembering wrong OR lying, he would jump into the car and have sex with his politician wife.  But it has been cleaned thoroughly, just in case!

Car And Driver rhapsodizes of this model, “How do you say FORMIDABLE in German?” and gives it high marks for “Prodigious thrust, execujet style, and execujet comfort.”   You are seriously going to want to own this automobile if you aspire to be ANY kind of a shameless sociopath, even if just a LITTLE BIT of one.

5.  2005 BMW R1200GS.

5 bike

Finally, the famed and mysterious BMW motorbike on which Dan used to make his most nefarious runs.  It is widely whispered in OC political circles – no, seriously, I overheard it at both Newport’s Gulfstream and Anaheim’s The Catch – that it was on this bike that Dan first visited Tony Rackauckas, presented him a canvas sack bulging with an unknown amount of cash for the DA’s re-election campaign, and persuaded him (with no effort) to join his wife’s re-election team (so that there’d be a conflict preventing T-Rack from ever investigating or prosecuting the Harkeys’ crimes.)  I cannot vouch for the veracity of all of this, or of what they reportedly did next:  but allegedly, Tony hopped on the back of that bike with a 2-by-4, and the two of them roared across the central county all night, while taking turns whacking minority youths, Muslims, and old people on the back of the heads.

BMW itself proudly lavishes praise on this bike:  “…how can we make such a consummate enduro even better? By refining every single detail without losing sight of the unique character embodied by the R 1200 GS.  The result presents technical revolutions in the typical opposed twin look. The core of the new R 1200 GS is the powertrain concept with liquid cooling and vertical flows through the cylinder heads. The extremely stable suspension is uncompromising when transferring the maximum performance to the road or rough terrain. And thanks to the flexible ergonomics, the rider of the new R 1200 GS can experience every new adventure with ease.  The new R 1200 GS – the perfection of an icon.”


Our previous coverage:

The Harkey Files: South County’s Rabid Wolverine Encounters Some Setbacks.

Harkey Husband Hits New Low, Sues His Own Fraud Victims!

Harkey-versary: Two Years After Judgment, Criminal Power Couple Has Paid Their Victims NOTHING.

Harkey Hall of Shame Continued: The Endorsers-of-Diane Wing.


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.